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Furneaux: No Money For New Players!
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY TOWN chairman Peter Furneaux has revealed that all of the two million pound TV money due next month will be spent paying off the Mariner's debts, and that none of the funds will be given to Lennie Lawrence for new players, despite the squad being down to the bare bones after just one game.
The new Town chairman told the Evening Telegraph that the money had been spent in advance last year in keeping Grimsby in the first division, and that the most that Town fans could expect to strengthen the squad over the next few months would be two new loan players.
"We always react to the manager's requests and, as yet, there hasn't been any. He hasn't been asking for anything and he feels he's got a reasonable squad," said Furneaux.
Although the TV pot stands at £2 million, some of which was received in advance last year, the money has been earmarked for paying off the club's overdraft, which is currently growing at the rate of over £20,000 a week.
"It's not a bottomless pit. In fact the bottom's been reached and passed. That makes it extremely difficult." said Furneaux. "The money was spent last year and that has led us into difficulties that we have to overcome at the moment. The constraints are quite unbelievable. We're paying more for a smaller squad this season, considerably more."
Although the board did make funds available to Lawrence in the transfer market over the summer which he used to buy Phil Jevons for Â£250,000 from Everton and Stuart Campbell for Â£200,000 from Leicester, the overall size of the squad has reduced dramatically to a miniscule 19 senior players - only three more than is used during a game, including the five substitutes!
The Town chairman explained the dilemma they faced keeping existing players, the bulk of whom were out of contract this summer and had to be enticed with new deals, as well as bringing in what new blood could be afforded. "Wages went up considerably for the players that we want to keep and we also brought in the young professionals at a not inconsiderable expense. The cost for those is far greater than the club's ever had for people who are playing for the Reserves" said Furneaux.
The crux of the club's problem is that the wage bill of even such a tiny squad is two and a half times the average gate income, making it almost impossible to survive let alone compete with the bigger clubs in the league, without additional income to that received on a match day though ticket sales.
This summer former Vice Chairman Bryan Huxford attempted to take over GTFC, a move that was eventually blocked by the current Town directors, with the board then saying they were "confident that they have the necessary backing and support to move the club forward, including the proposed new stadium, and have a number of 'big hitters' involved." That statement, indicative of the directors' refusal to accept financial help from outside their circle of acquaintances, arguably means that Town are unlikely to turn the corner financially in the short term, if ever.
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