TURNING full-time will cost Weymouth an extra £100,000 a year, owner Martyn Harrison revealed today.

After months of speculation, Weymouth directors voted unanimously last week to turn the club full-time from July.

And the Terras chief executive, who owns 81 per cent of the club’s shares through his Hollybush Hotels firm, insists the extra outlay is a price worth paying if professional status brings glory to the Wessex Stadium.

He told Echosport: “Turning full-time is something the club has been considering for a long time but we wanted to make sure everything was 100 per cent right before we announced the move.”

“Lots of things have had to be taken into account because turning professional doesn’t just involve the players, but also our backroom staff.”

“We’ve consulted other clubs who have been in a similar position and worked out all the figures before deciding this is the way to go.”

“The conclusion from all that is that it would take an extra £100,000 on top of our current running costs to make it happen.”

“My feeling is that if that extra £100,000 means we’ve got the fittest and best prepared team in our league next season, it’ll be money well spent.”

“Obviously an added £100,000 is a big commitment and we’re hoping increased crowds and extra revenue through sponsorship and other schemes will offset most of those costs.”

“But that outlay would have been a lot higher if we hadn’t cut the wage bill in recent months and not brought in players who are effectively full-time already.”

“In fact, following Saturday’s disappointing defeat at home to Welling, 15 of our players have said they wish to train full-time before now and the end of the season at no extra cost to the club.”

“We only have a handful of players with other jobs in addition to their income from football and we’re planning to discuss the future with them in the coming months.”

“Another priority will be looking at our staffing arrangements behind the scenes to ensure we are ready to go in July.”

He added: “This is a big decision for the football club but one that shows we are ambitious and eager to make a good go of it.”

“What we now need is for the town to get behind us and we’re planning a number of new initiatives in the coming months to allow people to do that.”

One new scheme the Terras have lined up for next season is an apprenticeship scheme in addition to the club’s existing academy and youth structure.

“An apprenticeship scheme will be a great addition to our academy and youth teams and will hopefully give our promising youngsters even more opportunities to progress through the ranks.” said Harrison.

“The apprenticeship scheme will hopefully be paid for from a Government grant and it will be great news for the long term future of the club.”

Meanwhile, defender Dave Waterman is set to resume light training later this week after a successful operation on an ankle injury.

Boss Steve Johnson said: “Dave has had his operation and will be back later this week which is positive news because he is a good player.”

“His training will be relatively light at first but we’ll step it up over time and hopefully it won’t be too long before he is in contention for a first team place.”

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