Yeovil Town Chairman John Fry has insisted that manager Paul Sturrock has been given the club's biggest playing budget the Board have authorised at League Two level. In defending the record of the club's top hierarchy, Fry believes that his first team boss does have enough money to work with, and has set a target for the club to finish in mid-table by the end of the 2015-16 season.
The Glovers have only been at League Two level for two previous seasons, with both coming over ten years ago - the 2003-04 season and 2004-05 season that gave them their first two years of Football League membership. Nevertheless, Fry has used those two seasons to compare with the budget in place for the 2015-16 season and has said that it is higher, telling the Western Gazette that his club rank as the 11th biggest spenders in the division:
"The directors put through the biggest budget yet for a League Two manager. We are the 11th highest spenders in the division. So we were expecting to finish around the halfway mark this season. Paul has spent the budget, although there is a little room to manoeuvre. He has identified changes he wants to make and it is comforting that he has done that this early in the season rather than three-quarters of the way through."
Fry used the 'biggest ever budget' tag during the 2014-15 season to describe the funds given to former boss Gary Johnson when his side was struggling near the foot of League One, although by the time this was put in print it had been qualified as being "the Club's biggest League One player budget in our recent history" with the last four words an important qualification what that meant in practice. With general inflation and the raising of ticket prices over the years and more lucrative League central payments, inevitably football clubs should be increasing their turnover over the course of time, meaning it would be a major surprise if the club's playing budget in 2015-16 wasn't bigger than what it had to hand between 2003 and 2005.
In yesterday's Gazette article, Fry insisted that any prospect of them dropping out of the Football League wasn't being discussed stating firmly: "We are a Football League club". However, today he grouped the Glovers amongst a batch of former Conference clubs that currently form the bottom seven of the Football League. Fry said that was evidence of the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SMCP) biting, producing a hierarchy where those clubs would struggle to compete:
"It is just as hard in League Two as it was in League One. If you look at the table the ex-Conference sides are the ones near the bottom. That indicates the salary protocol system is starting to bite. We are struggling to bring in revenue. The gate has dropped and we need a bigger turnover for business. We have 100 per cent faith in the club. There is a fine setup here, but it is not easy to stop a club going downwards."
Last night, there were strong rumours that the club's Board of Directors had held an impromptu Boardroom meeting, using an Executive Box at the end of the game against Mansfield Town. However, whilst there's been plenty of speculation as to what they may have been discussing, there has been no firm output that would make clear what was discussed.
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