BOSS Paul Gazzard is confident of keeping together his squad despite Bashley’s decision to operate without a playing budget for the rest of the season.
Gazzard revealed the crisis club would only pay travel expenses after it was announced a motion to fold at the end of the current campaign had been put to members on Tuesday.
Chairman Mike Cranidge – who admitted the club were “approximately” five weeks behind on their payments to players but said the backlog would be cleared through gate receipts before the end of the season – confirmed the cost-cutting measure would be implemented with immediate effect.
The announcement came hot on the heels of Cranidge’s proposal to dissolve the New Forest outfit unless adequate funding was forthcoming and executive vacancies filled by the end of April.
Despite insisting the club was debt free, Cranidge estimated Bashley’s shortfall would be between £40,000 and £60,000 by the end of the season with no one to plug the gap beyond this season.
However, Gazzard was full of praise for how his players took the double whammy and reiterated his belief that they would stand by Bash during their tumultuous time.
Gazzard, a club legend with over a decade of service at Bashley Road, told the Daily Echo: “We had a good chat with the lads and explained that the club could just not do it anymore.
“To a man they were brilliant and it was great to see them all behind the cause. Everyone understood and intimated they would see out the season.
“They are all committed and will stay because we have a good dressing room with decent lads.
“I don’t think it is hard for sportsmen to motivate themselves to go out and give their best – I think it will be harder for me and John (Pyatt, joint-manager) because how can we criticise them if they’re not performing well or coming to training?”
Meanwhile, an angry Gazzard said he felt “devastated” over the prospect of Bash going under but held out little hope for the future of the 67-year-old club.
He added: “I remember being at the Swansea City game, walking round the pitch with a banner and going round with a little bucket picking up stones from the pitch when I was about seven.
“The club put Bashley on the map and while I still cannot believe the community are prepared to let it go, I don’t think it will be saved now.”
On the cutbacks, Cranidge said: “We will work with a nil budget and I am very grateful to the players who are sympathetic to our situation.
“Even if we have to close, they are still in the eye of the football world and I have every confidence they will play on with heart and spirit.”
Bash travel to Arlesey Town tomorrow (3pm).
Bash: (from) Jones, Rolls, Morris, Roberts, Ansell, Marden, Bulpitt, Brookes, Soetan, Joyce, Odam, Manders, Gazzard, Kenna, Blackmore, George.