BLOG: Vultures will circle while Tigers remain in NCEL, players will come and go, but that’s life in non league

Home team Worksop  in Orange & Black kit,  Maltby in all blue strip,  for their Match at Sandy Lane, Worksop.'NWGU 19-9-15 Worksop town, Jake Scott in action for Worksop  (1)
Home team Worksop in Orange & Black kit, Maltby in all blue strip, for their Match at Sandy Lane, Worksop.'NWGU 19-9-15 Worksop town, Jake Scott in action for Worksop (1)

As long as Worksop Town FC remain a Northern Counties East club, vultures will circle.

The world’s fourth oldest club can boast of a storied history, of their time in the Conference North, and of a fanbase that dwarfs most at this level.

The six best attended matches in the NCEL this season have all involved Worksop.

They have an academy, a women’s team, a football in the community programme, and a former world number one golfer as their shirt sponsor.

Being funded by the supporters is a much healthier situation to be in, than at the whim of a wealthy individual.

Yet players will still leave to play at a higher level, and that is a fact that must be accepted.

Worksop just can’t compete, not when it comes to wages, if a Bradford Park Avenue come knocking.

Even Evo-Stik Division One side Shaw Lane Aquaforce has the means to offer big pay rises to those pulling on the neon orange shirts of Worksop.

And it’s no insult to Mark Shaw as a manager, or Worksop Town as an organisation, if a player wants greener grass.

The manager admitted this week that Avenue have made an approach for Jake Scott.

If the skipper were to leave, he’d join three others who left Sandy Lane for the Horsfall.

He’d play in the league directly below non league’s elite level, taking on other former Tigers Luke Shiels, Shane Clarke and Tom Denton.

His pay packet would be heavier than the one he picks up as a Worksop player.

Scott’s is the captain, and the face of a community programme from which he draws a salary.

Only he can decide if the move is right.

Shaw has his thoughts - he obviously wants Scott to stay, to carry on his off-field work and help the club return to the Evo-Stik leagues.

But if Scott’s time at Sandy Lane comes to an end, it won’t be a slight on anyone at Tigers.

In an ideal world, players would play for the love of the game, show unflinching loyalty and be one-club men.

But as Josh Williams wrote in a recent blog piece, clubs show little loyalty when players lose form.

The bigger picture might be that Worksop are a club on the up, and as long as they enjoy the support of Team500 members, local firms and Lee Westwood, in time they’re likely to return to the Evo-Stik.

Avenue might be third bottom of their table, average less supporters at home than Tigers and their financial situation may not always be this comfortable, as Worksop fans know better than most.

However they can offer something Worksop can’t, right now, and that’s National League North football.

Unless you particularly enjoy the crushing disappointment that comes with a star player’s departure and want to wallow, the only way to react if a player walks away is to shrug, wish him well and roar on the replacement that Shaw will inevitably unearth.

Shiels was the best defender at the club, bar none, even in the Evo-Stik Premier days, and his loss was compensated by the emergence of Tom Burgin. Burgin’s exit was eased by the arrival of Julian Lawrence and Jamie Hadfield - and so on.

Shaw is no mug, he already has at least one player in mind to fill the potential void. His prowess as a recruiter cannot be questioned - Avenue prove it every time they sign one of his players. In fact you wonder why they don’t just let him build a team for them.

Until Worksop get back to where they belong, at a level above their current status, the vultures will circle and swoop.

It wasn’t so long ago that Worksop were doing the swooping. It’s the way of the non league world.

If Scott leaves, and I hope he doesn’t, Worksop Town will still be here, and I believe they will still challenge for a league title this season, with or without him or the individuals who currently hold the other shirts.