COLUMN: Jack's right to stick to Rocks budget

I was amazed to hear a comment from Jack Pearce this week regarding wages.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 10:55 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:26 pm
Rocks fans celebrate a goal - but would they want the budget pushed too far for big signings? Picture by Kate Shemilt

He’d enquired about a much-needed striker and was quoted a wage of £1,000 a week from the player’s representative. Astonishing. This is Conference South. Not League One.

Jack’s come out with his usual “we stick to within our means” quote – and rightly so. It could be so easy to please the supporters and give them a top striker. And it would get a few supporters off his back, potentially with a few goals and points.

But it’d be wrong. And it’s why we need to trust Jack. He's said he’s like Marmite but whether you want him in charge or not, this club is where it is today, at the level it’s playing – thanks to Jack and the club's volunteers.

Money being paid out at all levels of football is beyond ridiculous these days and has been for a long time now. I remember being paid by Littlehampton about 22 years ago in the county league. I was paid £25 plus goal bonuses (which brought my game total to £25!). How can clubs at that level even afford to pay people on their gate money with one man and a dog in attendance?

The price to watch football is going up and up and up – mostly because of the demands of players’ wages. It’s becoming too expensive to go to a game and watch football. It’s even becoming too expensive to watch it on satellite TV!

There’s so many for and against answers to league and club wage caps. I’m not even going to go into them.

It's been 56 years since Football League clubs abolished the £20 maximum wage cap.

Without the players, there’s no game. That, in blunt terms, was the rationale behind the formation of the Professional Footballers’ Association, which began as the Players’ Union and had even deeper roots in the Association Footballers’ Union, formed in 1898 after the Football League’s first decade.

When I was working for BBC Sussex at a Torquay v Brighton game in the cup a few years ago I overheard the Torquay manager talking about wages. Torquay were in the Football League at this point and I heard Torquay players earned £375 a week on average. He said they would struggle to stay in the league on those wages which suggests other clubs are paying far higher than this.

A few years later I hear a National Conference player is on £1,200 a week – and two Football League clubs who are interested in taking him can’t afford him!

At League Two Barnet, their striker John Akinde is reportedly on £800 a week – which I would say is about right for League Two football. Stepping down a level, the average wage in the National Conference is reportedly around the £600 a week mark.

So for a player to be demanding £1,000 a week to play in the Conference South is, in my eyes, disturbing.

Unless it’s a centre back in the name of Gary Charman.

by Sky Sports reporter Dean Adams