Mark Shaw fears losing his young stars to higher league clubs, especially if the Worksop Town membership scheme doesn’t take off like it did last summer.
The first team boss is frustrated with an apparent lack of forward momemtum, compared with this time last year when volunteers engaged the town to rally around the Team500 scheme and secure the club’s short term future.
And his mood hasn’t been helped by repeated approaches for his players from clubs playing higher up the non league pyramid – a number of those allegedly coming before the end of the season.
“It’s a bit frustrating at the moment,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of clubs coming in for our players.”
“We had a club approaching Jon Stewart before the end of the season, and another club contacting other players before the end of the season and that’s a disappointing way to do business.”
“I’m disappointed that Jon then decided to leave, just a week after talking with me and committee members and all but agreeing terms.”
“What we did for him as a club is beyond belief, I tried to help him in all areas, not just football so I feel a bit burned by that.”
The hits keep coming, seemingly from all directions.
“We’ve got clubs in our division ringing up our players and trying to get them to move to higher level clubs – it’s bizarre, telling them it will be a good move,” said Shaw.
“It won’t be a good move, in my opinion they’re at the best non league club in the area in terms of support and organisation and style of football.”
“And I don’t understand why last season, when we had nothing, people were all backing the Team500 club but this year we’re in a great position, we have a great chance, we have everything going for us and people aren’t buying into it.”
“I don’t get it, we need to see the town getting behind the club again.”
“We’re going to lose these players, they aren’t seeing that support, that security, and we’ll have to replace them with players who aren’t as good.”
The one positive in Shaw’s eyes is the loyalty of his squad members, for now at least.
“All these players being contacted by other clubs have told me they want to stay,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to one or two who are under a bit of pressure and they’ve said they don’t want to leave.”
“We’ve got a group of loyal players, even though Conference North clubs are hovering.”
“But people need to realise we need to keep this squad, I’m not a magician, I can’t just wave a wand and magic world beaters out of nowhere – these players are our best chance for the next three or four years.”
“We’ve got a right chance with this group, and we need to secure them quickly by showing a united front off the field through Team500.”
“Maybe I’m spitting my dummy out a little bit, but for me it’s about being loyal to the club, all of us.”