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Rant - A Question of Money
By: Bill Osborne
I think everyone knows that the club have little money to burn and we are operating on a very tight budget, but not everyone seems to understand the affects it has.
Until we pay off the tax bill, there will be little left to play with, but the club made, as a first priority, the budget allocation to Russell Slade. Now that does not mean he has millions to play with, but it does mean that he has been allocated sufficient funds to achieve what he is aiming for in player acquisitions.
There will not be enough to buy all the players we need so once again it will be a mixture of signings, long and short term loans and maybe the use of a couple of youngsters we have on the books if we have any young players capable of moving into the squad and I doubt that we have.
There has been a great deal of discussion around the traps about the youth set up and how we should be producing our own players and I think everyone agrees that is the way to go.
But having a youth development programme costs money and the problem facing the board is where that money should go. Should we put our resources into the first team squad to help us move on, or should we put it in a long-term project such as the youth development programme?
The answer must be obvious. Town, like most other clubs in our position, have to curtail their youth development programmes in order to satisfy the demands for today. Isn't that what we are all calling for? A successful team aiming for promotion?
We cannot have it both ways. We cannot demand a team capable of gaining promotion and at the same time have a thriving youth development programme.
We do not have that sort of money.
The youth development programmes exists but only through a small budget and sponsorships. We have to accept that and stop talking about the John Osters' et al who we can find, develop and sell on. It just isn't going to happen.
Most of the club's limited resources must be used to improve the situation that exists today. We have to postpone tomorrow until we get today sorted out.
We do have maybe one or two promising youngsters on board, but those who are showing signs of not being able to make it should be released. No point in having no hopers draining the small budget away. In this regard, Slade seems to be doing just that, despite the howls of despair about the release of a couple of so-called 'favourites'.
If we want to succeed and become a force in the Football League again, we have to accept the cost cutting, the rise in ticket prices and the ruthlessness in cutting out players whether they be the first team or the youth team.
A club in the fourth division (and that is where we are despite the efforts of Coca Cola and the League trying to disguise it) in a tight financial situation has to be a 'no frills' club.
Not for us the cucumber and salmon sandwiches. It's meat pies and gravy and that is how it is and how it should be.
I personally, would go the whole hog and cancel all the youth team programmes that are not sponsored and gradually re-introduce it as our situation improves. That may sound drastic but if we look at the money that is going into the programme and compare that with the players over the last 4 seasons who have finally made it to the first team, you can see it is a loss situation.
Overall it would have been cheaper to have made a couple of long term loans or another contract. That's my view anyway.
In any case, Slade appears, with the last couple of signings, to be taking advantage of other club's youth development programmes. Now isn't that the way to go?
(But being Grimsby Town signings, they have already been condemned by some as useless before they even put a Town shirt on and some of those condemning them are the same people calling for our youngsters to be moved to the first team. But that's Town fans for you.)
So we have to stop thinking about the days gone by. We have to face the fact that the youth development programme is more a problem than an asset today.
Tomorrow may be a different story.
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