Yeovil Town Chief Executive Martyn Starnes has warned of a tough season ahead as the Glovers prepare to kick-off the 2008-09 season tomorrow. The Glovers face Walsall at Huish Park as they commence a season where almost every bookie and website preview have Yeovil down as one of their picks for relegation from League One.
Much of that analysis will be centred upon Yeovil's finish to the 2007-08 season, and also the staggering turnover of playing staff that has happened over the summer months with the Glovers downgrading to a current squad size of eighteen, which includes two goalkeepers and two players manager Russell Slade has referred to as 'scholars', suggesting that he will largely be selecting from a pool of 14 outfield players for the immediate future.
Starnes, speaking to BBC Points West has said that much of Yeovil's problems stem from having to compete with the budgets of other League One sides:
"It's tough. There's obviously a lot of clubs in this division that have got resources that are much greater than ours, but we have to go out and match them on the football pitch. We've got a very strong commercial department that works hard here to generate off the field revenues to bolster our resources, but it's still hard work. We accept the challenge and we'll go for it next season as best we can."
Starnes believes the size of Yeovil's budget is in part driven by the size of the town. Although the Glovers were the 17th best supported side in League One with an average gate of 5,468 - a figure that would place Yeovil in the top six League Two gates - Starnes claims that the size of the town's population is a good measure of what the club are up against:
"We did a little bit of analysis on this last season. It arose on a discussion that Russell and I had on a trip down to Exeter for a friendly match. There is only one club in the Football League - that's Accrington Stanley - that's got a smaller population than Yeovil, so it just shows the measure of what we have to do. I think it's fair to say that we've over-achieved in the last two or three seasons and we'll continue our endeavours to do so."
Martyn said that the long term solution for the club was to redevelop the stadium on the basis that it would increase the revenue coming into Huish Park, but warned that this could take some time to reach fruition:
"The Chairman, John Fry, is working very hard to try and get this redevelopment of the stadium underway. We're pretty optimistic that we can go ahead with that in a positive manner, but it is going to take some time. There are a lot of issues that have got to be resolved, but it has all got to be done so that we can increase the income for the football club away from the playing side so that we've got an underbelly of support for the things that we're trying to do."
In the short and medium term though, that has meant that the club's playing budget has been cut. Although the club have never confirmed to what extent the playing budget has been reduced, it has always been widely believed that a 25% reduction is in force for this season, and Starnes admits that will in turn produce a chained series of compromises:
"It's difficult and we have to have a series of compromises. The budget is always a compromise for the manager. The manager then has to make compromises on the players that he brings in. That's why we bring in some well-established players like Darren Way and Danny Schofield, and we have to look in the non-league sector to bring in players, so that we can balance our costs."
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