RETFORD United have applied to the Northern Counties League for next season, and will not take their place in the Evo-Stik First Division due to financial constraints.
Jon Knapper told the Trader Guardian this morning that the club simply could not afford to stay in the Evo-Stik, after the Cannon Park groundshare deal with Worksop Town came to an end.
Badgers had been relying on the money coming from the groundshare, but their Bassetlaw neighbours are moving back to Worksop next season.
A drop to Northern Counties means the club will have to cut the playing budget almost entirely, so Knapper and fellow manager David Lloyd have left the club.
He explained: “They’ve applied to the Northern Counties, we didn’t know until late yesterday but the financial implications of Worksop not groundsharing have impacted everything.”
“There can’t be any kind of a budget for next year, just little bits of travelling expenses, so with me based in Chesterfield and David in Sheffield it really needs someone closer to Retford.”
“It just wouldn’t work for me and David, but we’ve parted on good terms, it’s just a great shame.”
Knapper said that although their season in charge at Cannon Park, which saw the club relegated from the Evo-Stik Premier, was difficult, he would take many fond memories away from the club.
“The supporters have been brilliant, they haven’t moaned once because they knew the budget would be considerably lower than any other in the league.”
“We had to get new players in and it was a massive, massive learning curve but really enjoyable. It’s been great meeting new players and helping young players, and hopefully they will all find clubs.”
A statement released on the club’s website this morning confirmed the news.
“Without external support we cannot maintain a player budget that would be sufficient to compete at Northern Premier League Level.”
“As everyone knows we have struggled this season both on an off the pitch, and to survive we must make progress on reducing our debts to our very supportive creditors.”
“We have had discussions with both the Northern Premier and Northern Counties East leagues with a view to moving to the Northern Counties East League. The leagues are currently discussing this with the relevant personnel at the FA.”
“The Club has discussed the situation with the David Lloyd and John Knapper, the joint managers, at some length and we have agreed to part company on the very best of terms. David and John have done a good job for the Club under difficult circumstances and are thanked for their efforts and wished well for the future.”
Club chairman Bill Wyles added: “I’m thrilled to bits for Worksop Town going back to Sandy Lane, but that’s thrown the proverbial spanner in the works for us.”