TNS boss Scott Ruscoe: Uncertain time for me and players
The New Saints manager Scott Ruscoe admits the period of Cymru Premier uncertainty left him and players in the dark – with a significant number of contract talks put on hold.
Welsh FA and top-flight bosses finally confirmed an ending to the season on Tuesday – with Connah’s Quay Nomads, who led TNS by four points in the standings, crowned champions on a points per game basis, ending the Saints’ eight-year stranglehold on the title.
The outcome also means no Champions League football next season for the first time in nine years for the 13-times champions, who will instead enter the qualifying rounds for the Europa League when next season gets under way. Ruscoe explained that Champions League money plays a ‘huge part’ in budgets.
More than a dozen members of Ruscoe’s first-team squad, including first-year professionals, see their Park Hall contracts end this summer, leaving big question marks over their futures.
The boss admits the coronavirus pandemic has proven a difficult and uncertain time for players and staff, who were placed on furlough leave in April.
Asked about contract talks, Ruscoe said: “There’s quite a few, 13 or 14 including the young professionals who have had a year contract.
“They’ve been furloughed now for coming up two months, they’ve got families and mortgages, priorities in life.
“At the moment the priority is looking after the well-being of their families. When you are furloughed and you’re missing a huge chunk of money it becomes difficult.
“We were not sure because we didn’t know the budget we’re going to get from European competition. That plays a huge part in our budget and planning for next season in terms of numbers. I’m in the dark as well as the other players and staff.
“It might be a situation where they have to take a cut, or cuts in appearance money or something like that, but these are unprecedented times as everyone is talking about.”
The Saints wanted to play out the season to bridge the gap at the top, when safe behind closed doors, but understood that was impossible due to logistics and finances.
Chairman Mike Harris tweeted on the back of the league’s decision: “Congratulations the Nomads on the league win and look forward to the competition returning to normal next season.”
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