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Ebbsfleet United owner Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi says their playing budget is excessive

Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi admits Ebbsfleet United’s big spending since he bought the club has been a mistake.

Fleet’s Kuwaiti owner wants at least four players off the wage bill after describing Daryl McMahon’s playing budget as “excessive”.

Dr Al-Humaidi says a poor start to the season has prompted him to bring forward major financial changes which were due to be made next summer.

Ebbsfleet United chairman Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet United chairman Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi Picture: Andy Payton

And he insists the club must start to live within its means rather than depending on money transfers from the Middle East.

Dr Al-Humaidi said: “Comparing our budget to most of the teams at our level, ours is very excessive and unsustainable.

“The football club is dependent on external sources of cashflow and this is something bad for the club.

“We built a new stand and our revenues have increased substantially so we have to use our means in terms of spending.

“We’re not a Premier League or Championship club, we’re a National League side and this was a mistake from the beginning, spending money insensibly everywhere.

“What prompted this financial restructure was our position two-and-a-half months into the league, spending way more than other clubs.

“Spending-wise, you’d assume (we would) be in the top five in the league but that wasn’t the case.

“The most sensible thing to do is make the club self-sustainable so we’ll reduce external dependency – money coming in from abroad – to make sure the club can run by its own means. Our league standing was a contributing factor to the start of that process.

“It was planned that we’d start this process at the end of the season but seeing where we stand today, there’s no point waiting until then. We might as well get on with it now and have a clean slate for the beginning of next season.”

Players are set to leave Ebbsfleet as part of the club's financial restructure Picture: Andy Jones
Players are set to leave Ebbsfleet as part of the club's financial restructure Picture: Andy Jones

Dr Al-Humaidi insists promotion to the Football League remains his goal despite these cuts.

He said: “This is my sixth season at the club and having the highest budget in the league doesn’t guarantee you success. Other factors are more important and we should focus on those.

“We’ve made the mistake, since we took over, whereby we spent lots of money and these things need to stop. We have 22 players, excluding academy players, and the number is excessive.

“Last season we had 16 or 17 players and we did very well. We have way too many players and ideally we want to reduce the size to about 17 or 18 players.”

Fleet’s players and staff will be paid late for October so does the owner see that being an issue in future months?

“Hopefully not," he said. "The money is being transferred from Kuwait and these transfers take time.

“It’s not a small amount of money but we’re trying our best to (make sure) everyone gets paid on time.”

He added: “Everybody has tough decisions to make. I would view this as a chapter in my journey with Ebbsfleet United and even though it has its downsides, there are also merits involved. Doing this exercise guarantees the sustainability of Ebbsfleet United forever.

“There’s no point living month by month or season by season, there should be a long-term view and this is best achieved whereby revenue matches expenditure.

“I appreciate these things can’t happen in a year or two. It might take five to 10 years.”

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