RUMOURS of a budget cut at Stratford Town have been confirmed as true by Tommy Wright – but the boss is adamant the move will not have a major impact on the rest of the season.
Suspicions of a budget cut were raised when Callum Ball, Linden Dovey, Joel Gyasi, Ivor Lawton and Luis Morrison had all been released prior to Town’s 2-0 defeat at Hitchin Town on Saturday.
Morrison took to Twitter to confirm it was ‘not footballing reasons’ as to why he had left the Arden Garages Stadium, so why had he and the rest departed?
The Herald asked Wright if the budget had been cut and whether the recent departures had anything to do with that.
The Town boss was very clear in his response, stating: “I said from the moment that I walked through the door here at Stratford Town that I would be open and transparent, so yes, there has been a budget cut and that’s why those five players left.
“It’s not fair for me to say that’s not why they have left because it’s true and I feel the fans have a right to know that.
“I think the budget cut is potentially a direct reaction to getting knocked out of the FA Cup, but there could be multiple reasons behind it, such as a drop in numbers at home games.
“These things happen in non-league and I am not going to use it as an excuse.
“These kind of decisions are made by the board and the fans have to trust them as it’s all part of the process.
“Budget cuts are part and parcel of non-league football and it’s happened at all the clubs I have managed before so I know full well how to cope with a reduced budget and I’m confident it won’t affect our season.”
Having given Hitchin their first win of the season at the weekend, Wright knows that this Saturday’s game against basement boys Leiston, who are yet to register a win and have conceded 36 goals from nine games, is a ‘must-win’ for Town.
Wright will be boosted by the return of Liam Hughes from suspension, but admits there’s a chance he won’t risk Ross Oulton, who limped off in the defeat at Hitchin.
Nabil Shariff still has two games left of his three-match suspension to serve while the injured Josh Endall is about a fortnight away from returning to training.
“We missed a huge opportunity to get three points on the board at Hitchin, but we have to forget about that now and focus all our attention on Leiston,” said Wright.
“There’s too much negativity at the moment, and that’s understandable after the FA Cup exit and defeat at Hitchin, but we’re hopeful of bringing one player in on loan and two on permanent deals, and we’ve got a few players on the verge of coming back from suspension and injury, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
“I am hopeful of having one new signing in the squad for Saturday, but if we get two that’d be a massive boost for us.
“This weekend’s game is a massive opportunity to get three points on the board and I do see it as a must-win.
“We’re not a million miles away from where I want us to be and I think three points would see us move back into the top ten, depending on results elsewhere.
“With a run of Hitchin, Leiston and Lowestoft, we targeted nine points from those three games, but knew out of all them, Hitchin would be the bogey side.
“It’s important we put that behind us now and focus on Saturday. While it was disappointing to lose at Hitchin, there were plenty of positives to take, as George Heaven and Kaire Edwards-John really impressed on their debuts and I thought Dylan Parker and James Hancocks played well too.
“We do need to improve, but like I have always said, it’s a work in progress.”