FC Halifax Town v Chorley: Budget will have to increase if we go up, says Peacock

Stuart Peacock
Stuart Peacock

Town director Stuart Peacock says the board would be prepared to foot the bill for an increased playing budget if Halifax gain promotion on Saturday.

The Shaymen are believed to have one of the biggest playing budgets in the National League North, which financed Billy Heath’s newly-constructed squad.

Peacock is wary about the increased costs Town would face next season in the fifth tier, and says the club would have had to pay for 12 overnight stays, and the associated travel costs, if they were in the Conference Premier this season, compared to “three or four” this term.

But when asked if the playing budget would have to be increased next season if Town go up, he said: “Yes, I think it probably would. That’s a difficult one because the crowds are not likely to go up. Let’s face it, we’ve had a bigger average crowd this season than we had last season in a higher league.

“What we have to look at is the crowds may not go up, but the costs certainly will to get players capable of sustaining us in the league above.

“It’s a tough league as we all know. The budgeting is difficult because we can’t put the prices up by much, if at all.

“These are questions we have to discuss together, which we will. Pricing is a very sensitive issue, but the players’ wages will probably have to go up, so we may have to stand that cost ourselves as directors.

“But we’re up for this. We have invested considerably in the club and will continue to do so when necessary.

“But as always we will make sure the economics of the club sufficiently cover the liabilities because we don’t want the club to end up where the last one did.”

Peacock says it would mean a “tremendous amount” to him and fellow directors David Bosomworth and Bobby Ham if Town gain promotion, but is adamant that would only be the first part of their grand vision for Halifax to eventually regain their Football League status.

But on the prospect of Town going full-time if they got promoted, Peacock said: “That’s definitely too early to talk about. That’s a major decision because a lot of our players have other careers as well as their football commitments, so it’s a whole new ball game to go full-time.

“We would have to discuss that with the manager to see what his views were. I think the future possibly does lie in full-time football for us, but we have to get some training facilities. We can no longer rely on hiring school pitches for two evenings a week if we had full-time players training every day.

“So it is a far bigger financial commitment than just extra wages. The infrastructure has to change and the cost of that would be incredible.

“We would be able to meet that if necessary but it’s not a foregone conclusion for next season, although the trend for that league is that there are more full-time sides in it than there ever have been, as there are in the National League North.”

A win on Saturday would put Town back where they were a year ago before their relegation from the National League on the final day of the season when they drew 1-1 at home to Macclesfield.

“It was devastating,” Peacock reflected. “The euphoria of Wembley seemed to outweigh everything but it was a devastating blow to get demoted, just on the last kick of the last game.

“It was a tremendous disappointment but the three of us always knew this would be a roller-coaster.

“It was never going to be an easy ride. We didn’t plan on a demotion, but that happens in football.

“But Billy (Heath) has done the job he came in to do whether we win or not, and you can’t complain about that.

“I think if you spoke to every fan who was there on Sunday, they’d have settled for the play-off final at the start of the season.”

Asked if there has ever been a point in the season when the board were considering a change of manager, Peacock replied: “No there hasn’t, because it is a roller-coaster and nothing goes smoothly all the time.

“Every club has lean periods where things don’t go your way and maybe you lose a few games you shouldn’t.

“We have certainly had at least one bad run, but you can’t sack a manager whenever that happens. We’ve had enough managers already in our nine years.”

Asked if it would be a failure if Town don’t achieve promotion on Saturday, Peacock replied: “No, it’s not a failure. The play-off final is a lottery. Some would say we are favourites because we beat them easily last time we played them.

“But some of the Salford directors I spoke to said Kidderminster were the best side they’d played against this season, and I would agree with that. They’re a phenomenal side, so to beat them Chorley really pulled something out of the bag.

“I’m looking forward to the game tremendously but while we might be classed as favourites, I’m a little wary.

“I hope the fans will realise that the final is a lottery, at this level off football with players only being part-time.

“If our players turn up, we can beat anybody. But they put so much into the game on Sunday, I just hope they’re fit and ready for it.”

If you are going to the game, then we’d love you to share your photos from the day with us.

Email them to newsdesk@halifaxcourier.co.uk with a brief note telling us who is on the photo, or send them to us via our Twitter or Facebook pages.