Town wages cut as coach quits

CRAIG ARMSTRONG -- Town's player/coach has left to become manager of Quorn.
CRAIG ARMSTRONG -- Town's player/coach has left to become manager of Quorn.

HUCKNALL Town manager Des Lyttle has discovered the price he must pay for failing to nail down a place in the promotion play-offs.

For he has had his playing budget cut for the final month of the season and he has lost two more players, including experienced player/coach Craig Armstrong.

Chairman Brian Holmes announced last weekend that wages were to be cut for The Yellows’ last six games of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South season.

This is to save costs for fixtures that are largely irrelevant now Town look certain to finish in mid-table.

“We have continued to meet the budget set by former chairman Steve Greaves,” said Holmes.

“However we do not intend to continue if there is nothing to play for.

“As we move to the end of the season, the club will commence its planning and budgeting for the future.

“By the time next season kicks off, most of the debts will have been cleared and we will be able to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

It is understood that Lyttle’s budget was about £1,200 a week. Holmes claimed this was “the equal of title-chasers Ilkeston, nearly twice that of Leek Town, who are challenging for the play-offs, and three times that of Lincoln United”.

Lyttle refused to divulge by how much the budget had been slashed. But he said some players were taking bigger cuts than others, while reserve-team players now in his squad would not be paid at all.

He held a half-hour meeting with the players after last Saturday’s match against Coalville Town and was also planning talks with Holmes on Wednesday night.

“I can see the bigger picture and understand the reasons behind the cut but it’s never nice, especially for the people on the receiving end,” said Lyttle.

“The players I have left have agreed to stay but there is little point me ringing round to bring new signings in because I haven’t got the finances.”

Lyttle’s squad is now threadbare, especially after the departures of ex-professional defender Armstrong and striker Phil Massingham, who has joined Gresley in the Midland Alliance.

Armstrong (37) joined Town last October after a brief spell as joint manager of Eastwood Town alongside ex-Yellows coach Jamie Brough.

He has been a regular in the team but has now been appointed boss of divisional rivals, Leicestershire outfit Quorn, who are doomed to relegation.

“Craig is coming towards the end of his career, so he saw this opportunity as a natural progression,” said Lyttle. “He only came in to help us out, so we will not stand in his way.”