At a time when Great Yarmouth’s players went on strike over alleged unpaid expenses and Kirkley & Pakefield have slashed their “unsustainable” player budget, cash-strapped Cornard and Melford attract some of the lowest gates in the league.
That has made Symes wish for the days when players were not paid in and non-League football was known as the amateur game.
“Everybody gets paid now, from the Border League to Barcelona,” he said. “My priority is paying bills to keep Cornard United alive and then putting 11 men on the pitch — anything else is a bonus.
“Melford are in a similar situation to us and it’s the sad way of the world that those with money are on top and those without are at the bottom — you don’t even need to be clever with money, you just need more than others.”
He added: “We always look forward to a local derby and it would be great if we got a win, but it’s not like the halcyon days when this was a big match.
“Now it is just about fielding a team.”
Cornard have four points from 14 league matches and sit bottom of the Ridgeons League First Division while Melford had a fantastic start that saw them win four and draw one of their first five, only to lose eight and win just one of their next nine.