Salisbury FC manager Steve Claridge has hit back at claims by Poole Town manager Tommy Killick that the club is paying “National League money” for players, following Marvin Brooks’s decision to swap Tatnam for the Ray Mac.
Killick told the Bournemouth Echo : “Salisbury are paying National League money. It’s astounding, really, what they do in the league they’re in.”
Steve replied: “That’s absolute nonsense. A myth. I can’t think of a club in the National League that would have more than half its squad on £140 a week or less.
“It’s also a bit rich coming from a club which has been happily spending sums on wages to win promotions while the infrastructure is clearly not up to scratch.”
Killick added of Marvin: “He doesn’t want to play in that league but feels it’s something he has to do because of the financial reward.”
Steve responded: “This is so far off the mark and Tommy is betraying his lack of knowledge of our club and our league, and showing a disrespect to both.
“Everybody seems to offer an opinion about our football club without knowing the true facts. We are not paying fortunes, despite this view of us put about by those who have some sort of agenda or who guess at these things.
“We will have the same budget as last year when we were a long way from being the highest payers in our league. Even if you take Hereford out, there were others paying more than us.
“We pushed the boat out for one player last year and that was Justin Bennett. When he decided to go to Oxford City, I knew we had to use his money for another big player and that player was Marvin Brooks, who will be on the same as Justin was last year.
“We cut our cloth according to the gate money we bring in from our fantastic average league crowds of 700, events, sponsorship and other revenue, as a report today from our finance director has confirmed.
“To say that Marvin didn’t want to play in our league is probably true as he wants to progress, as does Salisbury FC. He certainly wanted to play for me and this club. That was clear from our conversations.
“As for his money being ‘astounding’, well, when he told Poole he was leaving, all of a sudden they offered him the same money but he still wanted to go because of certain issues between him and the club.
“I think he realises that Salisbury FC have a lot of potential and I know he was disappointed that Poole were unable to take their place in the National League South play-offs.”
Steve is also surprised at Killick’s statement that: “I was confident Marvin would have been one of the best strikers in the National South next season and that’s why it’s so horrific that he will playing in the league he’s going to.”
Said Steve: “Marvin wasn’t even seen as a striker by Poole last season. If you read some of the reports when he was used up front on rare occasions, he was described as an ‘emergency striker’.
“I definitely see him as a striker and that’s another reason why he wanted to come.”
Steve also takes issue with Killick saying of Salisbury FC: “It must have been a catastrophe for them not to get out of that league and you would imagine they’ll win it by 20 or 30 points next season.”
“We finished second to Hereford and reached the play-off final in our first season in the Southern League South and West Division. How is that a catastrophe?” said Steve.
“As for winning the league by that amount, I hope he’s right but I doubt it very much. He seems to have forgotten about the depth of opposition we faced last season in our league and will do again.
“I just think that when a manager can’t keep a player, he should show a little dignity rather than grandstand like this to put the blame on others.
“You don’t hear me having a pop at Oxford City because we couldn’t match what they were offering Justin Bennett. It’s football and you have to be big enough to take it.
“I’m only speaking out because this idea that we are somehow paying fortunes is just plain wrong. Comments like Tommy Killick’s just further the myth and at some point we have to make a stand rather than let this go unchallenged.
“We’re all trying to get Salisbury FC back to the level it should be but there’s no-one here at this club prepared to be irresponsible with the way we go about that.
“I want everyone to know, including our fans, that we certainly do not have the wage bill people like Tommy Killick are putting out there in an effort to try and divert attention from what’s happening at their own club.”