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INTERVIEW: Addressing the issues

19 January 2013

The manager on finances

United manager Greg Abbott gave his appraisal of the current state of finances in the game following news that more clubs at League One and League Two are starting to tighten their belts in the face of falling attendances and increased running costs.

“It’s a time when a lot of clubs are finding things difficult in terms of running things off the pitch,” he said. 

“We started to address the issues we faced a number of months ago and we’re running things in a way where we think we will have a club we can move forward with. Those clubs who have buried their heads in the sand a little bit are going to find it difficult.”

“We think we’re going in the right direction,” he added. “The fact is that money across the board at this level is getting tighter and tighter. We’re dealing with that and making sure we have a club which is alive and kicking. We have what we have and we will use it to make sure we are in there and competing.”

“Our policy is to work within what we can afford and to bring our players in based on that,” he told us. “We will keep recruiting within the rules and regulations and that’s the only way I have ever been allowed to manage. I think, to be honest with you, that is the right and proper way to do it.

“We don’t always get the targets we initially want, but what we then try to do is keep going until we find players of equal quality. We don’t do too badly along the way even though some players will always settle and fit in better than others. That’s just football.

“We take a few chances and gambles and sometimes they come off. On other occasions they won’t. That’s where we are though and we know that we have to keep going within the framework we have at our disposal.”

“Whether we like it or not, the sums have to add up whenever we do anything,” he said. “If we want to make a move and it all fits within the structure then, by and large, it will happen. If it doesn’t fit then we have to change direction and go again. That isn’t something that is ever going to change and I’m comfortable with that.”

“Like I say, we’ve been looking after our finances properly for a while now,” he explained. “We’ve been dealing with the situation we are in for over six months and a lot of people within this football club need to take a heck of a lot of credit for that. 

“I’m getting managers from other clubs getting in touch with me now because they know we have already started this process. That’s a testament to other people around this club for having the foresight to make sure they have looked after the supporter’s football club. That is the top and bottom of it. I am absolutely convinced that it’s better to be able to come and moan than not to have a team to moan about at all.”

“The way we have looked ahead and assessed things at Brunton Park has been fantastic,” he told us. “Look around at our division now and you see that a large number of clubs are having real financial problems. They’re going to have to deal with that. We’re very hopeful that we’ve done our work and that we know what we’ve got to spend, and how to spend it. Things have been tight but, and again because we’ve dealt with it, we’re hoping we come out of the other side first and then we can move on.”

When questioned about the demands of players on finances, in terms of wages, he said: “Things for the players have got tighter over the last two or three seasons at this level but it’s hit boiling point at the moment. To be fair, most of them have listened and that’s why we have been able to bring the players we need in.

“The players at the top level are fine because there are bundles and bundles of money up there – and a lot of it is actually going out of the game to non-football people. In my opinion that’s money which could make the game better, but I don’t think we’ll ever change that. 

“Here in League One and Two we are fighting like mad to keep the quality at a level where we can keep our supporters happy. We’ve found it difficult to do that at times, but I think we’re bouncing back now with the way we have been disciplined and rigid in our approach to everything we do at the club.”

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