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Barking coach to stay despite cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:03 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 11 August 2010

STAYING LOYAL  . . . Barking Rugby Club head coach Alex Codling.

STAYING LOYAL . . . Barking Rugby Club head coach Alex Codling.

BARKING head coach Alex Codling has promised to stay in his role until at least the end of the season despite the announcement of a drastic downturn in the club s financial situation.

by IAIN LIDDLE

BARKING head coach Alex Codling has promised to stay in his role until at least the end of the season despite the announcement of a drastic downturn in the club's financial situation.

The former England international, along with his assistant Kevin Sorrell, have guided the Gale Street club to the top of the National Two South table this season and are currently on course for promotion.

However, the possibility of making the step up into a fully national league, where away visits would range from Cornwall to Manchester, prompted a review of the club's current financial situation. It was then decided that, with the increased costs that promotion would incur, the club would not be able to survive in a higher league with its current playing budget.

Benefactor

Long-term benefactor Keith Parker has also said he would be unable to underwrite the increased costs, if promoted, which has forced the club to urgently look for extra sponsors and investors, with their president and England legend Jason Leonard leading the hunt.

In the short-term, a series of cost-cutting measures have also been announced in order to preserve the club's future, with squad members being told their wages may not be paid in the new year.

"There has been a lot of conjecture and rumours but, basically, the club is in a very difficult financial position," admitted Codling.

"The players have been told that after January there are no guarantees they will be able to be paid and that includes myself and Kevin.

"The first thing we have to do is deal with the short-term future and I've been very honest and up front with everyone about where we stand.

"We had a meeting with the players last week to tell them about it and I have to say the response has been incredibly positive.

"I said that if anyone felt they had to leave then they can go, but I think everyone wants to stay because there's a good spirit at the club and people want to play here.

"It's that sort of attitude which has got us to where we are in the league and hopefully now we can go to finish the job and get promoted."

Barking director of rugby Peter Mahoney has also reassured supporters that the club is no danger of going out of business, but cited the example of Mounts Bay, who were forced to withdraw from the league due to financial problems, as an example of why the measures are being taken.

"We can pay all our bills so there's no problem on that front," said Mahoney.

"As we've seen with Mounts Bay, the RFU is cutting funding to clubs at this level and funnelling it all towards the top two leagues. You used to get a substantial amount for promotion, but now it's about half that.

"We put together a team and probably didn't realise how good they were. Then the question was asked if we can afford to be promoted and with the current budget we have, then the answer is no."

Objectives

Codling, who found out Saturday's game against Lydney was postponed when the team were already two hours into their journey, says the club's objectives for the season have not changed and praised his players' response to the news.

"I'm not surprised the players have reacted as they have because their attitude and application throughout the year has been fantastic," he said. "I'm obviously delighted they want to stay, but not surprised.

"I also had two options but would never have walked away."

Codling added: "We're a very tight-knit group and that's why I think it's a fantastic opportunity if someone, or more than one person, wants to invest and it could be an exciting time for us. We're a club with ambition and a lot of good, young players who are capable of achieving something."

n BARKING have also announced that Brian Dempsey has replaced Paul Page as club chairman.


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