BEDFONT Town boss Garry Haylock is aiming to get hundreds of kids and parents through the gates for tomorrow's game against Slough Town – so he can pay his players.
The cash-strapped club's players have been playing for nothing since chairman Doug White stepped down last month, and Haylock (pictured) wants to reward their loyalty.
The former Hayes & Yeading and Farnborough boss runs regular soccer camps, and is using his contacts with local primary schools to try and boost the attendance at The Orchard.
Although White stepped down for family reasons, he is also understood to be disappointed that gate receipts have not come close to matching his own financial input since the club became a Southern League side.
However, Haylock is aiming to get the Bedfont public engaged with their club through their youngsters, and was in schools in the area this week handing out discounted ticket offers.
He said: “The trouble is, you cannot expect people to just turn up and support a team just because you want them to. But getting kids through the gate is the future. I ran a similar scheme when I was in Ireland and we put thousands on the gate.
“It is obviously a long-term programme. But in the short-term, if we can get 300-400 kids and parents through the gate on Saturday, it means I can give something back to the players, who have been playing for free.
“It will be a thank you to them for sticking with us. Some have even turned down offers of playing for money elsewhere to stay with us. It probably helps when you are winning games and have a great team spirit.
“I wouldn't begrudge it if anyone did want to move on, as we all have bills to pay, but if we keep the squad together for the rest of the season, we will see what happens from there.”