It’s almost impossible to compete with Tranmere Rovers - Braintree Town chairman

Lee Harding

Lee Harding - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding says it’s virtually impossible to compete against sides such as today’s opponents, Tranmere Rovers, given the huge gulf in the respective teams’ budgets.

The Iron face the recently-relegated Birkenhead outfit today, Rovers playing outside the Football League for the first time in 94 years.

Harding, whose side lost 3-0 at home to Tranmere in the first round of the FA Cup in 2012, said: “It’s nigh on impossible to compete against former Football League clubs.

“Tranmere received £400,000 worth of parachute payments when they were relegated, which is double our playing budget.”

Braintree have had a tough start to their 2015/16 campaign, losing 1-0 at Chester before being beaten 3-1 at home to Lincoln City.

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It doesn’t get any easier for the part-timers today, against a team still very much a professional outfit.

“Tranmere flew down for the game yesterday and will have stayed in a good resort and will be well rested for the game, meanwhile all of our players will have been working,” said the Braintree chairman, who refuted the suggestion Iron still punch above their weight.

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“I think that’s an unfair assumption. If we had been a one-season wonder then that’s more understandable, but we’re now playing our fifth consecutive season in the league.”

To be able to move the club forwards, the Braintree owner admitted new facilities are essential, and the club has been in contact with the council for many years to try and do this.

“Unlike other clubs we don’t owe anybody anything,” he explained.

“We do however need better facilities. We’ve been in talks with the council since 2004 and they have drawn up plans on what would happen to our current ground, and a few samples of a new ground, but we have been unable to see them.

“A new stadium would cost in the region of £750,000, which is deliverable.

“We work hard on our prime assets, we own our ground, and we run the club properly.

“We’re not asking for money from the council, but we have a long lease on our ground and we believe the town can support the club to get us into the Football League.”

n Elsewhere, in Conference North today, Lowestoft Town will look to make it three wins from three at the start of the season, when they make the long trip to Worcester City today.

The Trawlerboys kicked off only their second-ever season in Conference North with a morale-boosting 3-0 win at home to AFC Telford, before following that up in midweek with a 2-1 victory at Alfreton.

n Chelmsford City target their first win of the season in Conference South today, when Hayes & Yeading are the visitors to the Melbourne Stadium.

City started their campaign with a 2-2 draw at Oxford City last Saturday, before losing 1-0 to Hemel Hempstead Town in midweek.

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