Earlier in the season Dagenham and Redbridge were the subject of a takeover bid by Glenn Tamplin. That fell through and he ended up investing his money in Billericay. I wonder if there’s a few Daggers fans a little envious of the spending power he is now exercising in the Ryman Premier?
Tamplin, who made his fortune in the steel industry, believes he has put together the ‘best non-league side in the world’, and few could argue with the quality of his signings. Louis Theophanus, surely a player who should have his sights set higher, has just signed a deal that was ‘too good to turn down’. There has been talk of contracts around £2k a week being offered to players willing to drop down the divisions.
Indeed, Rob Evans recently joined from Wrexham, and he too spoke of an offer that was ‘too good to turn down’. It all sounds a little bit ‘mafia’ to me, but then again Glenn has the money and he is indulging himself, just like Dale Vince does over at FGR. It isn’t something I like to see, but it’s a harsh fact of football these days. He’s earned his money fair and square, and he can spend it how he likes. If the football purists think it is crass then that’s our problem, not his.
(Given the size of the bloke, I’m inclined not to be too cutting. If Dale Vince knocks at my door looking to settle a score or two I’d be able to hold my own, but Tamplin looks like he could rip a telephone directory into confetti, and he could certainly put paid to me in a second or two.)
The Essex side have added some real quality to their squad, Ricky Modeste has joined from Dover, Matt Paine from Boreham Wood and they join players such as Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky already there. Ambitious? Absolutely.
They are even rumoured to have offered Danny and Nicky £5k a week to drop down to step eight to manage them. The approach was / would have been turned down flat of course, but it gives an indication of how keen Tamplin is to get through his fortune.
Now there are rumours that one of our out of contract players has been offered a £2k deal to join up with them. It will surely be a test of his resolve, whichever player it is. If we have laid a one-year deal on the table and he can double his money and contract length in one go, maybe his head might be turned? If it is one of the players likely to be on the fringes of the first team, will he take the payday at the expense of a place on the bench?
If one of our players does join Billericay, he will be joining a significantly different side to Lincoln City. Their New Lodge ground holds 3500, but there are plans to move to a bigger stadium. Unlike City though, Billericay seem to court controversy. Perhaps it is the big-spending nature of the owner, but towards the end of last season Jamie O’Hara had to be restrained after getting involved in an altercation with a fan, and just this week they’ve cancelled a friendly against Concord Rangers after social media comments by Concord chairman Antony Smith. They issued a statement that read:
“The Club is aware of some negative comments on social media, made by Concord Rangers Chairman Antony Smith.
Billericay Town Football Club’s players and supporters had very much been looking forward to the friendly away fixture against Concord on Saturday 29th July. In light of these personal, negative comments, directed at Glenn Tamplin, as a Club we do not feel it appropriate to expose our travelling supporters to such open negativity – particularly when the fixture was pitched as a pre-season ‘friendly’. The safety and enjoyment of our travelling fans is of paramount importance to us as a Club and we have therefore had no choice but to cancel the Concord Rangers fixture.”
Smith had surreptitiously pointed out that Concord Rangers, under Danny and Nicky, had achieved promotion on a budget of approx. £2500 a week, and Billericay were spending in excess of ten times that in their quest for promotion.
Smith tweeted ‘Spent less than £2,500 a week getting out of the Ryman Premier League #justsaying.’
Tamplin’s response was: ‘I have had a lot of messages that you are hating on me and I have just seen it for myself which I am really disappointed with. Friendly is cancelled.’
It’s all very exciting stuff, it remains to be seen if an Imp will be joining the Billericay circus in the coming days.