‘If we’d stayed in the Southern League there was a chance the club could go under’ – Moneyfields chairman on return to the Wessex League

Chairman Pete Seiden has revealed the financial cost of keeping Moneyfields competitive in the eighth tier of English football.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 5:32 pm
Steve Hutchings in Southern League action for Moneyfields against Paultons in 2020. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Steve Hutchings in Southern League action for Moneyfields against Paultons in 2020. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

He estimated it cost ‘around’ a six-figure sum to compete in the Southern League Division 1 South - and that simply wasn’t sustainable in a post-pandemic landscape with sponsorship income having taken a massive hit.

Moneyfields have returned to the Premier Division of the Wessex League after asking the FA at the end of March if they could be considered for voluntary relegation.

‘Our running costs are around £100,000 a year for the whole club - first team, reserves, youth team and women’s team,’ Seiden explained.

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‘The kids teams cost around £15,000 but that’s all covered by subs.

‘Of that £100,000, around £60/70,000 comes from sponsorship.

‘I’d say we have lost about 60/70 per cent of our sponsorship money since the start of the first lockdown.

‘Our running costs were around £100,000 a year but we didn’t have that big a (playing) budget. There were clubs at our level with double the budget we had.

‘Ours was just below £2,000 a week, but that’s still a good chunk of money you have to find.

‘Even with a player getting £150 a week, with training and some long away trips you’re not even paying them minimum wage.

‘You could be talking 20 hours a week - when we went to Barnstaple on a Tuesday we all met at 12.30.

‘Some of these lads have mortgages, you can’t offer them less than the minimum wage to give up all that time.

‘Dave (Carter) used to say that being a manager of a Southern League club was like a full-time job - you’d be putting in 30 hours a week easily.

‘We’ve been lucky to have managers who have done the job for nothing. Miles (Rutherford) didn’t get a penny, Dave didn’t get a wage and (incoming boss) Glenn (Turnbull) is not getting anything.

‘I know there’s Southern League and Wessex League managers that get paid.’

Travelling was a huge cost for Moneys in the Southern League. For example, they had round trips of over 320 miles to north Devon to face Barnstaple and Bideford, a similar round-trip to mid-Devon to face Willand and a 270-mile round-trip to Worcestershire to play Evesham.

Even Hawks, in the National League South, don’t have that far to go on away trips.

Seiden added: ‘Everything’s more expensive in the Southern League (compared to the Wessex).

‘It costs £200 to enter the Wessex League, it’s £2,500 in the Southern League.

‘You have to have 50 programmes or that’s a £150 fine, if you haven’t got someone to update their live scores feed that’s a £50 fine.

‘Bookings are more expensive, admin is more expensive - we’re treated the same as Manchester United because we’re coming under the FA rather than the Hampshire FA - and the players want more money.

‘If we’d stayed in the Southern League there was a chance the club could go under.

‘Getting beat 8-0 each week would put a huge downer on the whole club - fans wouldn’t want to go, sponsors wouldn’t want to be involved.

‘With Glenn and some of his US players coming and (Steve) Hutchings staying, I’d be surprised if we weren’t top six next season.

‘Fans and sponsors will always be interested if you’re in the top six.’