Stringer’s Braintree resignation down to a company car

JUST over two weeks after sealing Braintree Town’s historic promotion to non-league’s top-flight, manager Rod Stringer has walked away from the club following a bitter breakdown in financial negotiations with chairman Lee Harding.

JUST over two weeks after sealing Braintree Town’s historic promotion to non-league’s top-flight, manager Rod Stringer has walked away from the club following a bitter breakdown in financial negotiations with chairman Lee Harding.

The pair sat down on Tuesday night to discuss staff wages and the playing budget for the Essex’s club’s first ever season in the Blue Square Bet Premier, in which they will compete against former Football League sides such as Stockport, Lincoln, York and Grimsby.

Those negotiations proved tricky, with Harding insistent that the club maintain the prudent financial ethos which has served them so well during a fairytale rise up through the divisions over the last decade. However, the pair both admit that they parted close to finalising a deal.

The mood quickly changed during a further meeting yesterday morning though and a furious Stringer ended up resigning, claiming that a ‘derisory’ offer regarding a company car was the straw which broke the camel’s back.


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Assistant manager Keith Rowland and general manager Bobby Ritchie have also resigned.

“We’d sorted things out on Tuesday evening, although I wasn’t entirely happy,” said Stringer, who went on to claim:

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“As a coaching trio we were on �400 a week between us last season and we agreed to do it for double that next season. The playing budget was also going to be nearly doubled from �3,000 a week to �5,500, although that is a bit misleading because the way things were going to be done meant we weren’t going to see all of it.

“Then a few more issues raised their head and in the end it was a situation regarding a car which tipped me over the edge.

“I was told I would have to make do with a car from an auction between the value of �3,500 to �4,000 which I felt was a bit of an insult considering how many extra miles I would have been doing.”

The former Aveley boss, who also runs his own double glazing business, said: “With all the extra time that would have been required, football couldn’t just be a hobby for me any more. It would have to make up a good part of my income.

“In the end I said, ‘well we’ll have to walk if this is the case’ and within 10 minutes of the meeting being over the club had already advertised on the website for a new manager.

“I’m totally devastated. I just can’t believe the club were willing to let us go over something like this.”

Harding, who also saw previous manager Robbie Garvey resign over the playing budget last summer, is now on the look out for his fifth manager in as many seasons.

He said: “The offer was that the playing budget, as well as the staff wages, would be doubled. That’s what we felt we could afford, we weren’t able to reach an agreement and Rod stood down.

“I’d rather get relegated than be bankrupt. There are a lot of clubs out there in really, really serious financial trouble and there is no way we will become one of them.

“It might not be sexy, but prudent should not be a dirty word. ”

He added: “The new manager, whoever that may be, will get exactly the same offer as Rod.

“A change in manager does cause a bit of disturbance and uncertainty, but the core values of this club have to remain the same because they’ve served us well over the last nine or 10 years.”

Stringer added: “There’s been four managers in four years now at the club and I’m beginning to see why.

“The players were awarded a rubbish bonus for achieving promotion and I can tell you the mood is already doom and gloom among them. Will they stay at the club? I don’t know, it depends what they’re offered and perhaps where I end up as manager.”

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