Frustrated Rocks boss issues plea to fans

Bognor boss Jamie Howell has reacted to news of another player quitting Nyewood Lane to move to Havant with a personal plea to the Rocks' fans.

Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale
Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale

He spoke out after Alfie Rutherford followed fellow striker Jason Prior to Havant - newly-relegated into the Ryman premier - and Craig Robson went to Dagenham and Redbridge.

Howell has not ruled out other departures but asked fans to keep trusting him and the backroom staff as they plan for next season without the financial clout possessed by clubs snapping up some of their star men.

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He does not believe the players leaving would be doing so if Bognor had more money.

Howell said: “I thought I needed to come and give you an honest account about our current situation with regard to players coming and going at Bognor.

“As with many seasons I like to do my business quietly – presently though we are having far more players leaving us than joining us. As fans of any team you want positive news and I wish I could you give you more as we want to feel excited about the forthcoming campaign.

“The simple truth of the matter is that due to our excellent season last year, many teams with more money have taken our players and we cannot compete at that financial level.

“That is life and will stay the same unless somebody invests lots of money into the football club. We as a club and I as an individual do have ambition – we just do not put that above the financial stability of the club and I totally adhere to this.

“I can only take it as a compliment that other clubs try to emulate our business model.

“The only envy I have is the surplus cash that other clubs can spend on players. If we had that money I don’t think we would be losing players because in all my years as a manager or player I can’t recall many players having bad memories of their time at the Lane.

“I think players can forget quickly the opportunity they have been given at Bognor by myself, Dabba (Killpartrick) and Jack (Pearce) and the total support and loyalty of our fans.

“We do accept that players will always move on for financial gain – there is always a right way and wrong way to leave a football club. We are disappointed though that some players do not appreciate the role that our club and supporters have contributed to their success. Sadly this seems common in the modern game.

“I know you are frustrated, I can assure you that you are not as frustrated as myself Dabba, Neil, Lee and Coops, who work tirelessly to produce young players who then go on to bigger and better things and we are left to rebuild again season after season.

“Our record in this is second to none as we have done it before and we will do it again. I ask you though to trust me and the staff.

“Other players may move on but we will have a team that is competitive in the league, we have done it every year since I have had the privilege of being the manager and we will do it again.

“Whatever happens you have my word that we will have a team that wants to play for us and far more importantly, play for the fans that support us week in week out and who, without, the club are nothing.”

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