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New salary restrictions have meant key players, like former captain Mark Arber, have left the club

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John Still believes the new Salary Cost Management Protocol rules that have come into effect across Leagues One and Two this summer will only widen the gap between the teams at the top and bottom of the divisions.

As part of an overhaul of football finances in leagues across Europe, governing body UEFA has ruled clubs’ outgoings must no longer exceed their turnover.

Specifically, League Two clubs cannot spend more than 55 per cent of their annual turnover on wages with transfer embargoes immediately imposed should the conditions be breached.

For Daggers, it means the squad has been streamlined this season with the club’s most experienced players – Mark Arber, Jon Nurse and Peter Gain – among those to leave.

However, Still admits he’s been scratching his head this summer when news of transfer deals have broken elsewhere and fears his club could get left behind.

“I think the gap is getting wider,” he said. “I look around and I’m surprised at what some of the clubs have been able to do.

“We enquired about some of the players that have gone elsewhere and it just wasn’t even worth negotiating. I’m not talking about big clubs – I’m a bit surprised.

“But I can’t worry about others. We do what we do and we’ve always done alright.

“It’s been a big problem to lose a lot of experience. If you look around there’s not an experienced player in the side.

“But we have got youth, pace, exuberance and all the other attributes. Just now and again you need a bit of experience and if I could I would have it.”

While the number of players to exit Victoria Road this summer has far outweighed the number of new arrivals, Still has moved to tie down some of his key youngsters with new contracts.

Abu Ogogo, Billy Bingham, Brian Woodall and Dwight Gayle have all committed themselves to the club and Still insists Daggers’ philosophy of nurturing the best young talent around will never change – even if it means they eventually depart.

“All I want to do is keep trying to progress the club. As long as we keep producing players, I know we have to sell, but that’s how the club runs,” he said.

“That’s how we pay for the Traditional Builders Stand, how we get the car park done, it’s how we get the floodlights, it’s what we do.

“If we were a club with more money then we’d have all of that, plus more to spend on the football club.

“But we don’t have anyone that pumps money into the club. If people knew our budget they would say to me ‘you’re telling lies’.

“What we do and how we do it – and I’ve worked at other clubs – is a million miles off the rest.

“How this club is run is unbelievable. Hopefully this next group of players will go on and do as well as the last.”

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