As Hadleigh United stand on the brink of an historic title, manager Stuart Crawford has claimed the size of their budget would ‘shock people’.
Those who assume the Brettsiders’ success was build on bank notes enticing big-name players would be very much wrong, he said.
A win in front of what is expected to be a bumper crowd at the Millfield against mid-table outfit Mildenhall Town on Saturday (3pm) would ensure their first-ever Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division trophy.
It came after the title chase took another twist on Saturday as leaders Felixstowe United and Walton lost while Brightlingsea Regent were held to a goalless draw, handing the initiative back to long-time leaders Hadleigh, who comfortably beat CRC 2-1 at Cambridge United for only their second win in eight games.
But Crawford said finishing top would be all the more remarkable if playing budgets were published, despite having former Football League strikers Tesfaye Bramble and Richard Logan in their ranks.
“I think it would be a massive achievement from the players and management team, especially because Hadleigh are a lovely club with nice facilities and people who work hard behind the scenes,” he said. “If figures were put in the open on what teams spend people would be shocked at what our budget was.
“And to be able to even challenge on the budget we are working with is a hell of an achievement.”
He said securing only their second senior league title, after the First Division trophy was won back in 1994, would be the biggest achievement in the club’s history and could only be topped by FA Vase winners’ medals.
Despite coming back from the dead, after surrendering a 19-point lead in January, to have the destiny of the title back in their own hands, he warned they have won nothing yet.
“There is still a long way to go and we still have to do the job,” he said. “Mildenhall will want to spoil the party, that is just the way it works.
“Their manager will not want to come here and watch us lift the title, as I’m sure I wouldn’t if it were the other way round.
“It is going to be difficult as they are a good team, but if our boys perform to their ability and we take chances at the right times we have more than enough quality in our squad to do what we need to do.”
Former Ipswich Town, Exter City and Wycombe Wanderers striker Logan could return from injury against his former club, but is unlikely to start having not regained match fitness, while the game has come too soon for Bramble.