Lyttle vows to battle on at Town

HOME IS HUCKNALL TOWN for manager Des Lyttle
HOME IS HUCKNALL TOWN for manager Des Lyttle

DES Lyttle has vowed to stay on as manager of beleageured Hucknall Town next season.

But he must do it with a playing budget slashed by about one-third.

And he must do it with a warning from chairman Brian Holmes ringing in his ears that finance, NOT football, is still the biggest priority at the club.

Former Nottingham Forest defender Lyttle (40) has endured a rollercoaster ride at Watnall Road since he was appointed to replace Tommy Brookbanks last October.

On the field, of 27 league matches in charge, his Town side have won nine, drawn six and lost 12, picking up 33 points.

They look set to finish mid-table after fading out of contention for the promotion play-offs.

And players have come and gone through Watnall Road’s revolving-door faster than contestants for auditions on ‘The X-Factor’.

But Lyttle’s cause has hardly been helped by the ongoing soap-opera that follows The Yellows’ every move off the field.

The new gurus who brought Lyttle to the club, Steve Greaves and Michael Johnson, lasted less than four months at the helm.

And Town have continued to be plagued by debts, including the infamous VAT bill of almost £90,000, which is still being paid off.

All of which has tempted Holmes to tell fans: “Football is not the major priority at the moment. The re-organisation of the club, the settlement of bills and re-making the foundations of the club are most important.”

However, barring further financial mishaps, Lyttle has announced his intention to remain at Watnall Road for the foreseeable future.

This followed a meeting with Holmes and the rest of the club’s committee, who were keen to establish some semblance of stability, rather than oversee yet another management change.

A club statement read: “We are delighted that Des will remain in charge for the 2012/13 season.

“The committee have given their full backing to the former Nottingham Forest star, who has done a fantastic job of managing the club during some very turbulent times.

“We would like to thank Des, his assistant Martin Prentice, goalkeeping coach Jason Maguire and physio Kevin Lamb and all of the players for their support and commitment. We hope we can reward them with better times next season.”

Lyttle is under no illusions that better times could well depend on the budget he is given to sign, and pay, players.

For most of this term, it has been fixed at between £1,600 and £1,800 per week -- not £1,200, as previously reported.

But next season, it will be chopped to about £1,000, which will have to include Lyttle’s own wages and expenses too.

The cut will help the club finish paying their debts and also counter reduced revenue through the gate and through commercial activities.

“The budget is a massive thing, in terms of where we are looking to go,” said Lyttle this week.

“There is no doubt we will have to battle with a lower budget next season. It will be a difficult year but things might look a lot better after that, once the tax bill is sorted out.

“The kind of players we are able to keep and attract will determine where we end up and how far we can go.”

Lyttle may well have to scour the lower levels of the Nottinghamshire non-league market for local bargains.

But even though he lives in Wolverhampton, he insists he still has lots of contacts in this area, from his time at Forest, as well as at league clubs.

“I am confident we will be able to attract not necessarily the best players but young and enthusiastic players.

“The budget will be tough to manage and handle. But I always want to be successful, regardless of what the budget is.

“I am pleased to stay. Whether we can compete with other clubs in our area, only time will tell.”