ALVECHURCH have ended any interest in signing Bromsgrove Sporting’s Ahmed Ali because they could not afford him, according to manager Ian Long.
Sporting waived a seven-day approach to allow Church to speak to the Somalia international but Long said it became clear his budget would not stretch to adding him to the squad.
Despite pushing for their second promotion in successive seasons, Alvechurch’s budget is understood to be considerably less than most of their rivals in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier South and they are not about to pay what they cannot afford.
“We spoke to Ahmed after Sporting waived the seven days but we are poles apart in terms of what we can pay and what he would want,” said Long.
“It just shows some of the money that clubs are prepared to pay. We are nowhere near what some clubs are paying at Step Five, never mind in our league.
“There’s probably only six or seven clubs that have got smaller budgets than us in the Evo-Stik South so it just shows how wonderfully well we have done.
“The players are here because they love being here and they play for each other and Alvechurch. We’ve got a nucleus that has been with me for years and years.
“Zack Foster, Charlie Price, Andy Parsons, Dave Bellis, Ryan Winwood, Nathan Waite, Mitch Botfield… they have all been with me since Tividale. They’ve stuck together and brought us a lot of success and we hope to continue that success this season.”
Alvechurch have welcomed back a familiar face in resigning Connor Deards from Bromsgrove.
The front-runner played a vital part in winning promotion for the Lye Meadow team last season but left at the start of this year. He will have a few matches with Midland League Division One side Littleton to speed up his fitness after not playing much football of late.
“It’s good to have Connor back. He did well for us and scored some vital goals last season when Josh March was out injured,” added Long. “His playing time at Bromsgrove Sporting has been limited recently so he will go and play three or four games with Littleton to boost his match sharpness.”
Alvechurch are due to travel to Market Drayton Town on Saturday, weather permitting, as they seek to extend their unbeaten league run to seven matches.
Last weekend’s 4-0 victory against Peterborough Sports was their biggest home league win of the season and left them in second place – a point clear of Bedworth United and three ahead of fourth-placed Stamford with four games in hand on their rivals.
Yusifu Ceesey led the way with his first hat-trick for the club while Ash Carter slotted home via a deflection.
Long and the players still felt a degree of dissatisfaction after failing to produce their most scintillating football and wasting a number of chances.
“We all felt a bit disappointed by how we played on Saturday,” said Long. “But if I’m saying that after winning 4-0 that shows how far we’ve come. We’ve got to keep pushing.”
Carter has this week been training with League Two side Forest Green Rovers and played in a trial match against Swindon Town.
ALVECHURCH Reserves’ prospects of becoming Midland League Reserve Division champions suffered a setback after Cadbury Athletic sent them to their first defeat in eight league games.
Goals from James Apperley and Romario Rose sealed a 2-0 win for the visitors at Illey Road.
It means Oliver Hartill’s side, who have four games to play, have a two-point lead over second-placeD Coton Green Reserves and a seven-point lead over champions Gresley Reserves, but both have games in hand on Alvechurch. If Gresley win their remaining seven games, they will retain the title.
Cadbury were good value for their win, outmuscling Alvechurch as well as staying strong in defence. Apperley struck before half-time, with Rose getting the second with eight minutes remaining.
Alvechurch struggled to create any chances with Callum Debar, who had bagged four goals in as many games, looking the most likely to score. However, when substitute Lewis Jones was sent off for a second bookable defence, the result was inevitable.
With the title race looking like it will go down to the wire, Alvechurch will need all the backing they can get when they meet Lichfield City Reserves at Illey Lane on Saturday.