National Leagues

Budget cuts at Welling United will put King to the test

Welling manager Steve King admits trimming his squad has made it his toughest week in the job.

King has been forced to reduce his budget as a cost-cutting measure by chairman Mark Goldberg after early exits in cup competitions this season, coupled with low crowds and sponsorship income.

Among those departing were big earners, Matt Paterson and John-Paul Kissock, who have joined Havant and Whitehawk respectively.

Zac Newton has linked up with Worthing on loan while the past few weeks has also seen Yannis Ambroisine and Richard Orlu depart on loan to Whitehawk and Hampton.

The cutbacks have also included King’s backroom team with coach Osei Sankofa and goalkeeping coach Larry Raji departing.

“It’s been a really tough week, the toughest since I’ve been at the club – having to get rid of people and get rid of my staff that have worked with me for a long time,” said King. “That’s been tough.

“We had to do what we had to do.

“We had to reduce the budget down. The easiest and quickest way is the most expensive players had to go.

“It’s not something we wanted to happen. We know that we have to live within our means which is correct.

“No-one wants to see us not have a football club so we have to work together.

“Me and Mark (Goldberg, chairman) worked together to reduce the budget where we needed to but to lose eight people in one throw, with staff included, is really tough.

“We’ve got through it. The only problem when that happens is you’ve got to worry if you get injuries, we’re going to be threadbare.”

Saturday’s win over Eastbourne puts Welling fifth in National League South.

Despite the cutbacks, King insisted that the play-offs remain his target this season.

“You’re talking to me who is a positive person, I’m always going to say we’re going for the play-offs,” he said.

“But you’ve got to be realistic as well. We’ve got quality players left that are capable of winning games but if they get injured, how can we replace them.

“We’re going to be running at 16 players, we can say we’ve got 17 but one of them is Jack Jebb, who is out for the season. That’s the bottom line.”

Welling chairman Mark Goldberg explained the reasoning behind the cutbacks in Saturday’s programme against Eastbourne.

He wrote: “Overall, the first half of 2018/19 has produced good results and we find ourselves in one of the play off positions, which was our target for the season. We have 41 points, which should mean that our National League South status is safe.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup, or to progress in the FA Trophy and therefore benefit from the associated income that can be generated.

“This, combined with reduced sponsorship income and crowd figures that have not improved, means that in order to balance the books, we now need to make a reduction in our playing budget accordingly whilst trying to remain as competitive as possible.”

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