News & EventsLatest NewsCalendar


Paul Osgood14 Mar - 13:25
Share via

#AUFC #coynab

Ashford United owner Don Crosbie has accepted an offer for the Isthmian South East club

Craig Tucker - Kent Online

Ashford United owner Don Crosbie has agreed a deal to sell the club.

Crosbie, who’s been at Homelands since 2005, is working towards a completion date of May 31.

A number of interested parties came forward after he announced his intention to sell up last November.

He feels it’s time to go and is confident he’s found the right people to take the club forward.
“It should all be done and dusted by May 31,” said Crosbie.

“I’ve been here a long time and when you stop enjoying it, and my health isn’t brilliant, that’s the time to step down.

“I got offered some really good prices but it had to be a football-related person, someone that was really into football and wanted to see the team and the club do well.
“So I forewent the best financial offers and went for what I thought was the best offer for the club football-related.
“It wasn’t about the money. If it was, I wouldn’t have been here all these years - I would sold ages ago.
“You don’t go into football to make money. The secret, like here at Ashford, is to run it so you don’t lose money.
“We’ve got a very stable set-up and obviously the 3G pitch has been monumental in taking our club forward.
“With all of our teams, the ladies, the girls, it’s been the No.1 thing that I did.
“It’s proved so successful, so that’s the legacy of transferring us over to 3G because, don’t forget, it’s cost nearly £1 million altogether on the two pitches we’ve had.”

Crosbie, shocked by the sums being spent at Isthmian South East level, wants to see Ashford develop their own players.

He feels that’s the way grassroots football should go rather than throwing money at trying to win promotion.

“This season, people will be aware of clubs that are spending ridiculous sums of money on players,” said Crosbie.

“So you’re getting players whose expectations of what they should be paid is enormous, it’s staggering, and you just think where is it going to end?
“The FA talk about financial stability and it’s just not happening.
“So many clubs are chasing that dream and trying to compete and they think it’s all about money.
“What we’ve been trying to do here for the last three years is to get the juniors - the under-14s, 16s, 18s - ready and draft them into the first team.

“That gives them an opportunity to maybe go on with a football career and it’s stability for the club rather than chucking money down the drain.
“It’s trying to bring grassroots football back to reality.
“The sad thing is I’ve spoken to lots of chairmen in our league and they almost get pressurised into spending money they haven’t got to try and get success.
“That’s financial suicide but whether you can or can’t afford it, I don’t think it does football any favours at our level.”

It seems the prospective owners share Crosbie’s vision, leaving the club in safe hands.

“The people coming in know football, they know the pitfalls and what you’ve got to be aware of,” added Crosbie.

“But they are very supportive in understanding academies and how you’re better off spending your money and investing your time and effort into bringing youngsters through.

“Of course, you’ll have your outside superstars in the team but you don’t have to have 16 or 18 from outside.

“You can bolster the squad to save your budget with talent you’ve actually brought through and understand.

“My biggest gripe was not having enough Ashford born-and-bred youngsters playing for the first team.

“I’ve never put enormous pressure on managers just to win games, although it’s important, but what I always stress is to make sure you’re looking at youngsters.

“Long-term it will help the club but sadly football is short-term these days and people want instant success.

“There’s no long-term planning but the people coming in understand the talent process and I think they’re perfect for Ashford United.”

Ashford host Littlehampton on Saturday (3pm) and visit Burgess Hill on Tuesday (7.30pm).

Further reading