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You don’t need to throw money at it
1:00pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
ALL too often it seems, in the world of modern football, money is the answer to everything.
There is hardly an issue that can’t be resolved without a thick pile of cash.
If a club needs a new player or wants to stop one leaving, the easy solution is to open the wallet.
It made me chuckle when the Match of the Day commentator at the Arsenal-Villa match said that Paul Lambert’s best piece of summer business was persuading Christian Benteke to stay, as if it was some sort of managerial masterstroke.
I’m sure Lambert is good at his job but, and call me a miserable old cynic, I reckon an extra few grand in the wage packet tipped the balance.
But I digress, the point being that money is a quick fix.
Gone are the days when a club would spend time scouting out a talent from the lower divisions, or from a lesser light on the European stage, and improve them.
Arsene Wenger used to be a dab hand at the latter while, ironically, Lambert did the same to acquire Benteke.
Perhaps, with Lambert coming from the lower leagues, it is the mindset of a manager who has hitherto not been blessed with shed loads of cash to buy whoever he wants.
It is a similar situation with Steve Burr at Kidderminster Harriers.
Opposite ends of the spectrum they may be but Burr has consistently impressed in non-league’s top-flight despite a lot of his rivals having far greater resources.
Along with assistant Gary Whild, he has spotted a player lower down the non-league ladder, shown faith in them and developed them.
The Harriers manager hasn’t just been able to splash the cash to better his squad. Yes, the Aggborough club have money but it has largely been generated by Burr’s keen eye.
They were able to afford the wages of free transfers Michael Gash and Lee Fowler because they sold Jamille Matt, inset, a player they plucked from the obscurity of Sutton Coldfield Town, for £300,000.
Matt was just one in a long list of talent Harriers snapped up. Strikers Anthony Malbon and Nathan Blissett, winger Marvin Johnson, centre-half Chey Dunkley and midfielders Jack Byrne and Kyle Storer all plied their trade at lower-ranked teams before joining Kidderminster for very little money.
Joe Lolley, another striker, has stepped up five levels from Midland Combination Premier Division Littleton and last Saturday made his Skrill Premier debut off the bench against Braintree.
Burr has shown that the players are out there, you just need to know where to look.
Money doesn’t have to be everything.