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Hungerford Town forced to cut playing budget due to constraints at the football club

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The announcement was made by chairman Patrick Chambers, but manager Ian Herring vows to fight on

HUNGERFORD Town chairman Patrick Chambers has revealed the club has been forced to reduce the playing budget significantly, due to ongoing constraints at the football club.

The Crusaders, who sit bottom of the National League South, are nine points from safety with 11 games remaining this season.

Home games against Hemel Hempstead and Concord Rangers were due to take place over the past few days, but as a result of playing conditions and the latter being involved in the FA Trophy, they couldn’t be played.

Speaking exclusively to the Newbury Weekly News, Chambers said: “In recent weeks we have struggled to cover player wages and now we have lost both the Hemel and Concord games, we have reached a tipping point.

“A GoFundMe page has been created to try to raise some much-needed funds to help us get to the end of the season.

“Our supporters have been fantastic, as have our sponsors, and I am so grateful to them and for the amazing donations we have received.

“We have raised £60k-plus in donations and sponsorship to try and underpin a £148k player budget for the season, but we just can’t continue with this level of spend.

“It’s time we met reality head on and reduce our budget significantly.

“Sadly I have had to ask Ian [Herring] to try and move some players on ASAP to stop us getting deeper into financial difficulties.”

Chambers admitted how hard it was for him to make the decision, in regards to the budget, as chairman of the club.

He took over the role at Bulpit Lane in April 2019, along with vice-chairman Carl Reader and it’s been a difficult first year.

“I inherited a black hole when I first got involved last April and there is no point carrying that forward to next season.

“It has always been my intention to make the club sustainable and with that in mind, I have had to make this tough decision.”

It’s been a difficult season for Hungerford, who continue to fight to retain their National League South status this year.

Speaking after the announcement was made by Chambers, manager Herring said: “We have been in the situation before and it’s where we are and I have been told that I have to save costs as and where I can really.

“My number one priority at the moment is the players,” he said. “The easy thing for me to do would be to walk away, but people who know me know how much I love this football club.

“Having said that, there is only so much I can take and my number one priority is the players and doing everything I can for them.

“My number two priority is the supporters and doing everything I can, under the constraints I am in, to get a competitive side on the pitch and to keep us in this division.

“My last priority in this football environment, which should be my number one, is myself and my family and when you’re a manager, you neglect yourself and when you’re a manager who do you turn to?

“The person I turn to is my wife and she can’t take much more, so it’s where we’re at.”

Chambers explained that not every bit of cash can be put into the squad because there needs to be some essential maintenance completed.

He said: “The pitch will need a significant spend this summer and our groundsman has done brilliantly to get as many matches played as he has.

“It’s time for Hungerford Town to be realistic about what it can and can’t afford.

“Ian has been fantastic in his efforts to put a competitive squad together and I really feel for him, as it is a groundhog day, in his own words.

“The squad have been given certain options and they are a great, tight bunch and are discussing things between themselves and with Ian.”

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