Published: 07:01, 01 April 2019
| Updated: 07:14, 01 April 2019
Jack King insists Ebbsfleet's off-field problems will not break the mentality which has kept the team fighting for promotion to the Football League.
Issues surrounding the payment of player's wages, among other things, have dogged Fleet all season and things came to a head when they played Wrexham on Saturday.
The squad made a stand by refusing to warm up but King led the side out at 3pm and they proceeded to play their best football of the season.
Ebbsfleet supporters made their feelings known right from the start, singing loudly in support of the players, who raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time before going on to win 4-2.
King said: "You could see the crowd were right behind us. We feel they’re right with us.
"With what’s gone on off the field, it’s never ideal but players do their talking on the pitch and that’s what we’ve done. I don’t think our professionalism, integrity or mentality could ever be questioned and we’ve shown that again.
"The preparation was far from ideal. As a professional footballer, you want to warm up and do things right but we’ve not been able to do that.
"But the mentality when we stepped onto the field was second to none."
There was a strange atmosphere inside Stonebridge Road as Wrexham's players warmed up on their own with one half of the pitch empty. The officials spoke at length to Red Dragons boss Bryan Hughes before it was announced, to loud cheers, that Ebbsfleet would be coming out to kick-off.
King said: "It’s obviously unusual not to warm up but it’s something we felt we needed to do.
"I don’t want to go into the details of it because it’s in-house and that’s the way we like to deal with things. We’ve done it that way all season and we’ll continue to do it like that.
"We keep these things in-house but what we can do is show the fans and show the people watching that we’re right together with them. Hopefully our aim is their aim and we can take this club forward together.
"As players, we’re together and that’s how all successful teams will be. If there are fractions in the group and people are not pulling in the same way, you’ll see it out on the pitch.
"But you could see right from the first whistle we’re all together. Whatever we do as a team, good or bad, we’re together.
"There’s a lot of experience in there, a lot of good players and a lot of players that have won promotions and know how to get results. The character and integrity of the lads out there is second to none."
King, 33, has experienced most things in his career but he admits the challenges of this season represent unchartered territory.
"As a footballer, and I’m sure I speak for the rest of the squad on this, you just want to concentrate on doing the best you can out on the field," he said. "You turn up for training day in, day out, you turn up on a Saturday and you give your all and hopefully that’s good enough.
"Off-field problems are unfortunately part and parcel of football.
"I’ve encountered them before, never quite to the extent we have this season but what can we do? We get on with it like we have done and hopefully, as we keep ploughing forward, eventually we can put it behind us and move on."
King joined Ebbsfleet from Stevenage last summer so has it been possible to enjoy a season like this?
"This is such a good set of lads," he said. "The day-to-day around the place, at the training ground and in games is enjoyable.
"The football we play is enjoyable and the results we’ve been having is also enjoyable. When you’re winning games it’s a lot easier to enjoy your football and play with a smile on your face, so I have enjoyed it.
"Certain things have marred it slightly but what can you do? You’ve just got to get on with things."
More by this authorSteve Tervet
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