Ebbsfleet United boss Steve Brown and Dover Athletic boss Chris Kinnear involved in angry exchange after Kent derby in Skrill South
Steve Brown speaks to Aiden Palmer after the game (Pic: Andy Payton)
Rival bosses Steve Brown and Chris Kinnear were involved in an angry altercation after Dover's 2-0 win at Ebbsfleet on Saturday.
Brown, the Fleet manager, refused to shake Kinnear's hand when the pair crossed in the tunnel.
Unhappy about a recent newspaper story in which Kinnear had suggested Ebbsfleet paid one of their players £1,000 a week, Brown put across his side of the story after emerging first to speak to the radio and written press at Stonebridge Road.
He said: "There were some extraordinary things said in the last couple of days about our wage structure. They (Dover) have a bigger budget than us. I don’t know why they try to spin it. Perhaps they spin it because their budget is top-three and they’re sitting 10th (now eighth).
"There were some extraordinary fabricated wage structures and incredible comments on players’ wages. We try not to conduct our business in that way. They felt they had to and all that follows, with the press and the questions you get asked, you’re thinking to yourself 'why did they need to do that?'
"It disappoints me because I have to fight with players who want to come here, who think we pay those wages. I have to fight, clearing our name, in the press, that we don’t pay those wages. Their highest earner is much higher than ours and their wage bill is higher than ours. Why they feel they need to make comments like that is beyond me. What follows is that all the Dover supporters believe it, when it’s grossly untrue."
Brown was Nicky Forster's assistant manager at Dover last season and then first-team coach when Kinnear and assistant Jake Leberl were appointed in his place.
He added: "I know their wage structure. I know how they pay their wages, I know what they do. I know what a lot of the Dover players earn.
"I’m quite happy to open our books and show you all. I bet they’re not. I want to put it to bed because I want it done, once and for all.
"You can’t just keep going into a newspaper and saying 'they earn £1,000 a week at Ebbsfleet' when it’s totally and utterly untrue. It beggars belief that someone can just come out and say that.
"I could tell you things about what they’ve done and what wages they pay but I wouldn’t do it. I just find it incredible that someone’s allowed to go to a local newspaper and make up a wage and they print it. It just beggars belief."
Chris Kinnear congratulates his players at full-time (Pic: Andy Payton)
Kinnear, Brown and Leberl were then involved in a brief heated exchange before Kinnear came up for his post-match interview.
Asked about the handshake snub, he said: "That’s up to him, isn’t it? It doesn’t bother me. I don’t know why they want to build up a thing between Dover and Ebbsfleet.
"He wanted Nicky Forster’s job, didn’t he? And he’s been bitter ever since. I tried to keep him in a job for six months, he was getting paid for six months and we were trying to get him on side.
"It’s not me and him, it’s about players. All we did was concentrate on the game today. I played for Gravesend in the past and I had a great time. Why would I say anything bad about Ebbsfleet? I’m a Kent man, I’ve only managed in Kent and I just want Kent clubs to do well.
"If you want to deflect it away from the result, I don’t mind."
Kinnear's wages comment prompted Ebbsfleet vice-chairman Peter Varney to issue a statement on Friday, denying the claim and saying it was a deliberate attempt to stir up animosity between the clubs.
"What’s the big deal?" Kinnear said. "Why is he getting so involved with that?
"I don’t know what they’re paying. I don’t care if they’re paying £2,000 a week. Why would I care? It’s nothing to do with me, so why get so uptight?
"I don’t know why they’ve got a big thing about Dover. Why would a chairman want to question what I say? I don’t care really.
"If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Fair enough. I’m wrong. We can be wrong.
"If you printed everything, all the rumours that went round, it’d be pathetic. There’s probably rumours about what we do. You’ve just got to get on with looking after your own side, not worrying about everybody else and that’s what I’ve always done.
"I don’t want to fall out with anyone. I don’t want Peter Varney to start having a go at me, I just want to get on with it. I don’t want to say anything bad about Ebbsfleet but they were saying before the season started that they were going to have a big wage bill, they were going to go full-time next year. Good luck to them. I hope they do really well because it’s an old club of mine and I live not far from here.
"If they get promoted, good for them, but why do I want to get in a slanging match with anyone?"
Both sides are back in Skrill South action on New Year's Day. Third-placed Ebbsfleet host leaders Bromley, while Dover are away to Kent rivals Tonbridge Angels. Kick-off in both games is 3pm.
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