Still: Policy of selling our stars will not change
“Refusal to sell could have killed club,” says boss
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE boss John Still believes he would have lost the trust of his players and placed the future of club in jeopardy had he refused to sell former star striker Paul Benson.
The 31-year-old, who scored 84 goals in 201 appearances for the Daggers, moved to Charlton Athletic in August for an undisclosed fee, which was believed to potentially be worth up to �250,000.
However, since his departure, Still’s side have struggled to find the net with Romain Vincelot the top scorer with five goals, but has not been on target since September 28 against Colchester United.
Conversely, Benson has scored seven times since then and fans have questioned the choice to cash in and let him go, but Still insists there was not a decision to make.
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“Paul Benson wouldn’t have signed his new contract if we hadn’t said that if an opportunity came along, that he felt was right for him and the club financially, that we’d agree to it,” said the 60-year-old.
“He wouldn’t have signed a new contract if we hadn’t agreed to that. This club is a club of principle and if you do that once you lose the full trust of the players.
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“We spoke about a figure and Charlton, along with lot of other clubs, made offers for Paul Benson which we turned down.
“Once a figure that was made was one that would be acceptable, and Paul knew that figure, there was no way we could say no to it.
“Otherwise he wouldn’t have signed his last contract and left on a free transfer which you don’t really want to happen.”
Still has experimented with a number of strikers to fill Benson’s boots, with West Bromwich Albion loanee Kayleden Brown the latest to step in and lead the line.
Having made an unsuccessful bid for Torquay United marksman Elliot Benyon last week, the boss will likely prioritise signing a forward in January, but insists the policy of allowing star players to leave will never change.
“We’re not Manchester United, Tottenham or Arsenal, we’re Dagenham and we make it clear when we sign people,” he said.
“We don’t pay them enough money to make it impossible for them to leave. We recognise that and we’ve built our success on it.
“Once a figure was reached that Paul knew we’d find acceptable, there was no way we could stand in his way.
“If it meant we had to look hard to find another, that’s what we have to do. We’re never going to attract players here because of our finances, we’re going to attract them here because they think they’re going to get an opportunity and the club will be fair with them.
“Once we don’t do that, everything we’ve created here is gone.”