Booth demands change

Brighouse Town manager Paul Quinn
Brighouse Town manager Paul Quinn

Brighouse Town assistant manager Mark Booth has called on government officials and football’s governing body to give a greater proportion of the game’s wealth to non-league football.

Last Saturday’s postponement at home to Kendal leaves Town officials hoping for better weather to enable Saturday’s game against visitors Witton Albion to go ahead.

Booth said: “All the 10 matches in our division were wiped out and only two were played to the end in the Premier Division.

“Right from League 1 down through League 2, then the FA Trophy first-round proper, plenty of games were called off and this paints a very vivid picture.

“It tells you that grounds at the less well-off fully professional clubs, the National Conference and then into our Step 8 area, do not have the drainage levels required for this incessant wet weather.

“A much more proportionate amount of the money that is now awash at the top of the game – tens of millions per club in the Premier League before they kick a ball and £7m per club in the Championship before it dips to under a 
million in League 1 – has to 
find its way down to the grassroots.

“Stipulations can be put on the way it is spent but pitch maintenance and ground security and maintenance have to be priorities.

“Apart from FA Cup and FA Trophy monies, depending on how you progress, the handouts are under £3,000 per annum.

“Yet annually we have to meet league criteria and work on our grounds before kitting out the players and getting them to away fixtures, in our league from Durham to Cheshire.

“It does really need the All Parliamentary Group of Football MPs to look at this one and I will be making sure 
Calderdale’s Conservative MP Craig Whittaker gets a copy of me on my soap box on the subject if his local office don’t spot it in the meantime.”

Back on team matters, Booth said one of the frustrations of last week against Kendal was that Town would have been picking almost from a full squad.

“New signing Tommy Cooney had trained and would have been in contention after being out since the November 21 game at Northwich and only Dan Illingworth and Steve Hollingworth remain on the injured list but they will be back early in January.

“We are training tonight (Thursday) and next Tuesday and then, with having the in-form Ossett Albion away on Boxing Day and Scarborough Athletic at the Dual Seal on Bank Holiday Monday, we won’t be pulling the lads in for further training.

“However, they are good lads and will do their little bit extra and also watch what they are doing across the festive period.

“We have a score to settle with Witton Albion who had all the luck at their place back in September and ended up winning 4-1.

“Since then they have parted company with their manager and not been on the best of runs and are currently 18th in the table to our eighth.

“They have just had one win in November but that was in their last game. For the past three weekends their matches have been postponed.”

Booth, who this week turned to his roofing company skills to waterproof the clubhouse at the Dual Seal, did add that he and manager Paul Quinn had hoped to do some scouting last Saturday.

“When we got down to looking where we could go, it was down to Tadcaster and then Bridlington when Albion’s game was called off at lunchtime.

“So we opted for an afternoon off.”