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Sam Elliott: Glenn Tamplin’s toy story at Billericay Town has legs

LOVE him? Hate him? He couldn’t care less what you or I think about him. But we all may as well get used to hearing more and more about that bloke called Glenn Tamplin.

I’ve got a funny feeling the Billericay Town show is about to become box office. Mainly because we’ve just been handed the most transparent character in the history of Non-League football, and we’ve had a few loose-lipped personalities over the years.

Housekeeping first, if I can. We’ve been here before. Powerful money man takes over a club. Ego trip, rich man’s plaything. All expressions used before, there’s little point in over analysing it. Sometimes it works, more often than not it goes belly up.

It’s nothing new and there’s nothing a he-is-what’s-wrong-with-football column from any of us can do to change that. Billericay, though, are something totally different than we’ve ever seen before.

Here’s why. As my colleague Ian Ridley has pointed out elsewhere, apparently Billericay need £25,000 a week to beat the likes of Brighlingsea Regent, Needham Market and the Met Police.

This is not back-of-fag-packet calculations, Tamplin talks. Openly and honestly. He’s quoted as saying it, and even if you can’t find the article in question he’ll tell anyone who’ll listen on twitter the size of the cheques he is writing.

He couldn’t give two hoots, and why should he. You ask him a question, he’ll answer you. You slag him off? He’ll give it straight back. Say what you will about what’s going on, it’s fascinating to watch.

Pesky paps

In a league which some clubs operate on playing budgets of £2,500 a week, Billericay are blowing everyone out of the water by adding a zero. So far.

You could argue that even without a manager, this team should walk the league but Blues be warned. Margate had promotion specialist Terry Brown in charge of a similar budget three years ago, but stumbled.

Winning through from the Ryman Premier lay-offs, it soon fell apart. Gate were dreadful that year and got lucky in their final against Hendon.

If Billericay start the season well, they’ll trample over the rest. If they don’t? Cracks will appear. They’ve already started. He’s been forced to deny tapping up Ebbsfleet United star Sam Deering.

Under contract until July, Tamplin was pictured on holiday with the playmaker. Not by pesky paps hiding in bushes, but by himself after he uploaded an image on twitter.

Pumped up

Then came last Thursday. On twitter, he cancelled a friendly with Concord Rangers because counterpart Ant Smith, a nice guy as it happens, was “hating on” the club. Game off because of “negativity”. His right, but it only added fuel to the fire.

Tamplin, through the ground works already started, and his incredible gesture to young disabled fan Harry Parker and community movements he’s putting in place, shows it’s certainly not just about on-field success.

But “the world’s best Non-League team” – his words this week, not mine – face the cup final effect. Because of the media frenzy and carefree quotes, every single club will be pumped up like never before against them.

They will find a further 25 per cent when Billericay roll into town, and they’ll have to cope with every kind of tactic.

Whatever your view of goings on, keep watching. The Only Way Is Essex is suddenly rather watchable.

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