Ipswich Wanderers boss Mark Benterman speaks out as his playing budget is ‘suspended’ and Wanderers reserve team pulls out of League
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Ipswich Wanderers first-team manager Mark Benterman admits he now faces a huge struggle to keep the Humber Doucy Lane-based side in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division this season after the players budget was ‘suspended’.
In a statement released by the Wanderers committee this afternoon, it was stated the players would have to play the rest of the season without payment due to ‘urgent economics’ – leaving Benterman and assistant Jack Simmons with a mountain to climb to keep the team up.
With just one league win in 12 and two overall this season, Wanderers have slipped into the relegation places. Last night they were thrashed 0-6 at Gorleston. On Saturday they travel to Saffron Walden in the league.
“It’s a big shame because we played Ely last weekend, were 2-0 up, but our young team tired and were beaten 3-2,” Benterman said.
“I had a nice letter from a fan who said how much he enjoyed watching us, our good football.
“The Ely game was a tough one to take but then for the players to find out they weren’t getting any payment for the rest of the season, was a big blow.
“Myself and Jack (Simmons) have had a long chat and we’ve spoken to the players – they have been brilliant.
“Ninety-nine per cent of them want to stay. We’ve told them if any want to go, they can.
“The club needs to exist, that’s the most important thing right now. We need to fulfil our fixtures. The fans deserve it. OK, so we may not now stay up, with so many young players in our ranks and obviously I can’t see players coming to play for us for nothing, when they can get paid elsewhere. But if we do drop down, we can rebuild, I’m not trying to be negative, just facing facts, it’s more important the club keeps going.
“It all makes the job harder, obviously.”
The Wanderers statement, put out by interim chairman Chris Newbury on behalf of the committee said: “The committee regretfully have to announce that due to a drastic change in circumstances, our original financial position is no longer applicable for this season.
Following a committee meeting last Sunday (November 5), and further discussions with the 1st Team Management team, a number of urgent economies have had to be put in place. Accordingly the playing budget has had to be suspended, and the players have agreed to play the rest of the season without their match fees.
“It has also meant that we have had to inform the league that, as it is unlikely we will be able to fulfil all remaining fixtures in the Reserves league, we have regrettably had to withdraw our participation in the Thurlow Nunn Reserves League, for this season.
“We would like to thank the fans for their continued support, and them that we are working hard to resolve this situation. As soon as all the various accounts have been put in order, further statements will be made.
“We would like to more importantly thank Mark Benterman and his team, as well as the first-team squad for the understanding, and also for their determination and commitment to battle through this difficult period.”
It’s a big blow for the club, but Benterman hasn’t given up on anything right now, even if he knows it is likely to be a tough road ahead.
“You never know in football,” he said.
“Our defeat at Gorleston was our first heavy defeat since I’ve been here, but I think it was a reaction to the news of what had happened. We beat Woodbridge in the League Cup this week and that was an excellent performance.
“But I’m so proud of the players.
“At Gorleston, I had one player drive up from Sussex to play and another from London. That’s the sort of players I have with me. They are a great bunch. They make me proud. It is what it is and we will fight on.”