Helston Athletic manager Steve Massey has accused rival Cornish clubs of ‘jealousy’ after the Kellaway Park outfit came under fire for their transfer dealings in recent weeks, writes Gareth Davies.
Both managers and club officials have lined up and taken pot shots at Massey in the wake of Jordan Dingle and Will Tinsley leaving AFC St Austell and joining the Blues. The duo are reunited with former Town favourites Liam Eddy, Neil Slateford, Ollie Brokenshire and Mark Goldsworthy at Helston.
Firstly, Newquay manager Tony Mackellar accused Massey of trying ‘to buy the league’, while AFC St Austell chairman Jason Powell blasted those clubs who are supposedly ‘waving the chequebook’ without naming Helston or Massey specifically.
In an exclusive interview with The Indy, Massey has hit back and feels the record needs setting straight.
“It’s a myth that my players are getting bags of money,” he quipped. “Anything that you hear to the contrary is just jealousy because the players are simply not.
“It is great credit to these guys, my players, who are at my club, including the two acquisitions from St Austell that have come to play for Helston. Because I can tell you now that these players can go and earn more money elsewhere.
“Where they win with me is that I offer an incentive and a reward, but they must do the business on the pitch first. Some of these players earned a good bonus last season because of where we finished in the league, but it was up to them to make that happen.
“I have never ever just thrown money around and it is a myth that has followed me around my whole career. I’d like to think there’s more to me than just money.
“Yes, I look after my players and for example I do little things like look after their boots. I also help the young guys out too because that is what happened to me at 16.
“At that time I was a young pro at Stockport County and they did two things. One was paying for our prelim coaching badges as they were known back then, but they are now defunct.
“Also, when I signed my first pro contract, part of the terms said that they would pay for my driving lessons and I have never ever forgotten about that. So for all these young boys who are with me at Helston, I help them with their driving lessons.
“It’s things like that which I do rather than saying here’s a certain amount of money, especially for the young players.
“Some of my young boys like Harrison Jewell, Lewis Tonkin, Alex Wharton and Liam Short, the boy who is up at North Devon with us and is a talented young footballer at just 17, they have been nibbled at and tapped up by other clubs because that is part of the territory.
“In a funny kind of way, its quite pleasing and Josh Storey is another one who has been tapped up really reguarly.
“I hope it’s not a case of famous last words because all the boys are nailed on (to stay) because we look after them, not because we’re offering wads and wads of money.”
Despite Massey drawing criticism from some quarters in Cornish football, the 62-year-old, who enjoyed a prudent professional career, with AFC Bournemouth, Scunthorpe United and Hull City amongst his clubs, says that less than complimentary words from others spur him on to succeed even more.
“I bookmark every single tweet which digs (at me) but one of my favourites has been pulled down. I went looking for it after the season had finished because we had the second best points-per-game record of any non-league team in the country which is some achievement.
“But this tweet was from a Porthleven supporter and after we had been beaten by Liskeard on the opening day, he had a mock-up of a bus with me driving and the wheels replaced by bricks. It said something along the lines of ‘this is Massey’s 20/20 vision’.
“It did make me laugh, but it also makes me want to show people and prove them wrong. We are doing things in Cornwall that make me really, really proud because in all aspects of life, there are leaders, followers and doers.
“I’d like to think that my club are proud to be leaders with things like our dressing rooms. Our 20/20 vision is underpinned by this, youth development and not by paying big money.”