Has credit crunch hit Ridgeons League?

HAS the credit crunch hit the Ridgeons League?Felixstowe and Walton chairman Tony Barnes confirmed today that the budget of the Ridgeons League Premier Division club is going to have to be revised.

Elvin King

HAS the credit crunch hit the Ridgeons League?

Felixstowe and Walton chairman Tony Barnes confirmed today that the budget of the Ridgeons League Premier Division club is going to have to be revised.

This tightening of the purse strings has led to the resignation of Felixstowe manager Steve Potts, and left Barnes to admit that the club will now be concentrating on producing their own talent.

“Times are hard,” said Barnes. “It is tough out there these days and my main consideration has to be the continued well-being of the club.

“I backed Steve 100 per cent while we were in the FA Cup and FA Vase, but once we lost that source of potential revenue I had to change tack.

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“We had to revise what we were doing.

“No longer could we gamble on a financial outlay to bring us results.

“The emphasis will now be on our youngsters, and coaching and improving our home grown players.”

Potts led Felixstowe to eighth place last season after lifting them out of the doldrums following a number of years in the First Division.

But six consecutive defeats before last Saturday's win over CRC led to Potts asking Barnes and his committee for what amounted to a vote of confidence.

“Steve asked us for our support,” said Barnes. “But I felt I could not give it.

“His forte is bringing in and working with proven players. Coaching and bringing on youngsters I don't feel is his strength.

“He had found it difficult to gain the right results this season with a budget, so I could not see him doing it with a reduced one.

“There will still be money available to our manager, but I have to protect all aspects of the club.”

Felixstowe currently have a number of high profile players on their books including the league's most reliable goalscorer in Danny Phillips.

Many of the squad are under contract and it remains to be seen how many will stay.

Barnes says that there will be no rush in replacing Potts. He added: “Steve's former assistant Neil Smye will be in charge for tomorrow's tough match at Leiston.

“There has already been interest in the position, and if necessary we will consider other applications.”

There is a considerable amount of money circulating in the Ridgeons League with the average player wage in the Premier Division working out at around £30 a game.

And many clubs are dependent on a tiny number of benefactors and/or sponsors.

A pulling of the rug because of the stringent financial conditions now in being could result in Felixstowe being the first of many to have to tighten their belts.

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