Dick Campbell insists Arbroath won’t be going full-time if they get promoted to the Premiership this season.
The Red Lichties’ title challenge has been one of the stories of the season and they face Kilmarnock on Friday knowing a win would put them in the driving seat going into the final day.
It would be the first time in the modern era of Scottish football that a part-time side has gained promotion to the top flight and the potential feat has been compared to Leicester winning the English Premier League in 2016.
Arbroath’s vice chairman Ewen West had previously refused to rule out going full-time, saying the club would consider it and consult the management team of Campbell and his brother Ian if they went up.
But the manager says that simply won’t be happening – even if it means they’d be firm favorites to drop straight back down.
Campbell told Go Radio: “Listen, half my life I’ve been part-time, and half my life I’ve been full-time. But we’re not going to go full-time, that’s not going to happen.
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“If you go back to the 70s, Arbroath were in the First Division and they were part-time. They stood their ground.
“I would go into the Premiership and we’d be heavy, heavy favorites to go down because we’re part-time.
“But I tell you what, it doesn’t make the players any different. The players love a challenge.
“I’m not saying we wouldn’t go down, we probably would go down and I’d probably get the sack because that’s what happens in football now. You’re scared to get promotion.”
To get there, Arbroath first have to take care of Kilmarnock on Friday, knowing a win would set up a final day showdown with Morton that could change the course of the club’s history.
They have just nine players signed up for next term as things stand and Campbell worries about how he’d build a squad for the top flight.
He went on: “I’ve got nine players already signed for next year and seven have been with me for six years. I can’t get better players than that, I’ve tried.
“I don’t get caught up in big time Charlies, I don’t do that.
“We’re the best part-time team in Scotland. There’s no-one in part-time football who will give me their player because they won’t want them to leave.
“In Under-21 football in Premiership clubs, they need three on the bench. So if an Under-21 player in the Premiership is good enough to play in my team, they’ll stay where they are.
“That’s when it becomes really, really difficult. You’ve no idea. I’ve spoken to every Premiership team this year and they’ve not got players to give me. I worry about that about the game.”
But he wasn’t letting it get him down as he concluded: “It is what it is. See if we get beat tomorrow night, I’ll be gutted…but I’m still going for a pint.”