Danske Bank Premiership
Irish League players’ expectations of higher wages have risen, according to Carrick Rangers chairman Peter Clarke.
With Larne, Glentoran and now Crusaders backed by wealthy businessmen and Linfield benefiting from significant European prize money, there is no shortage of cash flowing through the domestic game and players can pocket big salaries and signing on fees.
Full-time deals are on offer while the six-figure transfer fees Glentoran and Larne paid for Shay McCartan and Lee Bonis had the effect of raising the value of other players.
With greater finances coming into the game, players may be eyeing lucrative contracts and Carrick chief Clarke maintains only a few clubs can splash the cash.
“I think the high transfer fees affect everyone because when players see this, and they are significant fees, then people have different opinions,” he said.
“Players who were looking £50 a week will now look for £100 and deals at the higher end can be referenced but that’s only a real market for two or three clubs.
“I would envisage other clubs couldn’t afford those transfer fees and the wages behind it.
“The market has been inflated and the numbers now are well beyond our capacity.
“What happens at the top drives up players’ expectations and I can understand that from their perspective but it makes it challenging for clubs when they are trying to sustain themselves.
“We can never compete with those salary figures.”
Carrick boss Stuart King was quick to sign experienced striker Curtis Allen following the end of his second spell at Coleraine.
“We signed Curtis which is a good statement,” added Clarke. “We are ambitious and continue to look at quality players.
“Everyone knows it’s a very tight market and there aren’t a huge number of players available. We have to work hard on bringing young players through our academy. Five or six came through this year and we need a good supply of young players.”