When does prudent become stingy?
When does prudent become unwisely stingy? That is the question being posed about new Conference outfit Hyde United. They were 33-1 outsiders to go up last year and it seems that their own game plan was to avoid relegation.
A certain financial caution is understandable. The club was wound up because of tax debts of about £120,000 in September 2009. But then £8,000 was raised in a bucket collection at Manchester City. This funded an appeal and the judge found in their favour.
Eighteen months later record dealer John Manship took over. He told The Non-League Paper, 'Personally I don't see a difference between dealing in football and dealing in records - you sniff out the good product, get it at the right priceand then sell it on.'
We've heard this mantra from businessmen before, declaring that football is just another business which awaits the application of sound management principles. However, as we know, it is not a business like any other and finding out who is a good player is not so easy.
But to be fair to Manship he does have a credible track record as a football scout who made some real discoveries. He does seem to be able to find bargains. Moreover, 'When I first came to be involved in Hyde, I was absolutely amazed at some of the wages we were paying out to people who had stopped playing properly five years ago.'
Hyde's budget is likely to be the lowest in the BSB Premier and other clubs like Histon have found that is not a route to survival. Manager Gary Lowe resigned shortly after a civic reception to celebrate promotion, declaring the budget to be ''unworkable'. He commented, 'The budget being offered didn't give us any sort of fighting chance to stand still in the conference, let alone move forward.'
It's not unusual for top flight clubs to play their reserve fixtures at a non-league ground. It saves the pitch at the stadium and in any case not many fans turn out to watch the 'stiffs'. The crowd looks more respectable in a non-league ground.
Hyde United seem have got a particularly good deal from Manchester City, although it didn't stop one fan ringing up Radio 5 to complain. City have spent £250,000 to get the ground up to scratch and they now pay £75,000 a year to cover the £45,000 cost of maintaining a Premier League standard pitch. Hyde also claim it has helped to boost the standard of their hospitality.