Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver admits that summer recruitment 'has not been easy'

Simon Weaver has admitted that he has not found the summer transfer window particularly easy to negotiate, though insists he is more than satisfied with the business done by the club during the close season.

By rhys howell
Friday, 29th July 2022, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 3:21 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites have added 10 new faces to their ranks thus far as part of what has been a significant overhaul of their squad, while a dozen players who finished the 2021/22 campaign on the club’s books have been moved on, released or retired.

An underwhelming second half to last term saw Town finish up 19th in the League Two standings with the joint-second-worst defensive record in the division.

As a consequence, Weaver made it his mission to bring in additional Football League quality and experience ahead of 2022/23, though he concedes that “fishing in the same pond” as some seriously competitive rival clubs has made recruitment somewhat more challenging.

“I’m delighted with the lads we have signed but I can’t say that we’ve found it easy this summer in terms of recruitment, because it has not been easy,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“We are fishing in the same pond now as the likes of Stockport and Wrexham. Grimsby are back in League Two, so these are all examples of teams who are now more attractive propositions than they might have been.

“We’re competing with some big, established northern teams. Look at Bradford City’s recruitment, Mark Hughes going in there probably makes a move there more attractive than it was 12 months ago.

“We’ve had a battle on our hands. I don’t want to give the impression that we are not competitive in terms of wages for League Two, because we certainly are.

“But, there have been a couple of deals where it’s got to the stage where the money has started to get outrageous and so we’ve had to go cold on those particular ones.”

As far as the financial side of things is concerned, Weaver explained that while Town do have a healthy budget available for recruitment, they are committed to continue operating within their means for a couple of reasons.

“We’ve got an average gate of about 2,500 and we have to budget accordingly,” he added.

“Everything has to be aligned and we’re not interested in building up a huge deficit so there are parameters that we have to work within.

“Some clubs at our level are signing Championship players and League One players and I’m sure that our fans would like us to be doing the same, however that would blow the budget wide open.

“The other thing you have to consider is that we’ve achieved a lot of what we have in recent years on having good camaraderie and togetherness and we don’t want to upset the dynamic in our squad.

“If you start bringing players in on big money and paying them more than you’ve told other lads than our budget allows then you can end up with an unhappy dressing room and obviously we want to avoid that.”Weaver went on to reveal that Town had missed out on a couple of recent targets due to “agents asking for too much at the last minute”.But, he added, “that is all just part of the politics of the game we are in.”