Mark Ashford has left his position as Witham Town manager.
Having guided the Spa Road club to Bostik League North Division safety on the closing day of the campaign, Ashford has taken the decision to step away after one season at the helm.
He said it was a tough decision to make and insisted that he would be parting on good terms, but he felt the playing budget he had been asked to work with next season would not allow him to meet the objectives that he had set for himself.
Ashford took over as Witham boss last summer following the departure of Adam Flint to Bishop’s Stortford and realised from the start that he would be working with a budget that had been heavily reduced from the previous season.
Within that tight budget, Ashford was given the objectives of maintaining the club’s North Division status while developing young players and improving the disciplinary record – all of which were delivered.
While he was happy to work within the constraints of tight purse strings last year, though, Ashford felt he would be unable to fulfil his own ambition of moving the team forward next season if the budget stayed low.
And with the club saying that would be the case, he felt the time was right to part ways.
Ashford said: “I said to the club when I came in that I wanted to take the team forward every season but I just don’t feel I’m able to do that on the budget that I’d been presented with for next year.
“I’m sad about it but I feel I’m leaving on good terms because I’m leaving for the right reasons.
“I wanted to leave with integrity and I think I’m doing the best thing for the club as, by making this decision now, I’m giving them time to move forward and make a new appointment ahead of pre-season.
“I wish the club and whoever it is taking them forward all the best.
“I’d also like to make it clear that I’m not leaving to take up another position and there is nothing out there for me at the moment.
“I have spoken to nobody.”
Chairman Mark Nicholls had nothing but praise for the work the Ashford had done and was “gutted” to see him depart.
“Mark really is leaving on good terms,” said Nicholls.
“He deserves to go to another club that has the money to match what he wants to achieve. “He has been very good for our club with what he has done.
“We set him three tasks – to keep us up, to work within a limited budget that was the lowest the club has ever had and to improve our disciplinary record.
“He delivered on all three.
“We stayed up, he actually came in under budget and our disciplinary record put us 12th in the league table.
“So we have nothing but praise for what Mark did, but we just can’t match what he wanted for next year and I’m gutted to see him go.
“I’m frustrated that he is leaving, but we wish him well and we’ll all move on.
“He has left on good terms and we can only do what we can do as a club, but I do feel gutted.”
Nicholls said the club would start advertising for a new manager from the start of next week and expected to be carrying out interviews for applicants from the start of June.
For more from Witham Town please visit their website here