Chichester City are facing a new crisis after long-serving manager Adie Girdler quit – and some of the players decided to go with him.
Girdler resigned hours after City had secured their first Sussex League first-division victory for several months by beating fellow strugglers St Francis Rangers 4-0 at Oaklands Park on Saturday.
It was because the board would not give him any assurances over his long-term future in the job.
Girdler had brought a number of players to the cash-strapped club during the season and it appears his resignation was followed by a number of the more recent recruits deciding they didn’t want to stay.
Tuesday night’s league visit to Horsham YMCA was called off because they couldn’t put out a team, with the home side awarded the three points – which incensed Worthing United, who are scrapping with Horsham YMCA to avoid the drop.
Chichester City yesterday insisted they would fulfil all their remaining fixtures.
City chairman Oliver Adnan said Girdler’s resignation followed a frank discussion after Saturday’s win.
Girdler said the job he was leaving had become an impossible one for anyone to do with no money being injected into the club.
The development is another blow to a club who hit national headlines 18 months ago when they sacked manager Mark Poulton in a phone call during a game after just four months in the job. That led to Girdler’s return to a club he had been involved with since 1996 but from which he had been sacked before Poulton took over. They have struggled for finances, partly because of problems getting a new clubhouse up and running.
A statement by Adnan said: “Various members of the board of directors, acting on behalf of the wishes of the board, met with the first-team manager Adie Girdler after the home game with St Francis Rangers.
“Following a open and honest discussion regarding the season so far, the prospects for the remainder of the season and our expectations for the 2012-13 season, Adie decided to resign from the position of first-team manager.
“First-team affairs will be handled by internal club staff until an appropriate replacement can be found.
“Chichester City FC would like to thank Adie for his immense commitment to the club over many years and during some very difficult times over the past 18 months.”
Adnan said he did not blame Girdler for resigning at a time when the board had made it clear they wanted the club to progress, with an emphasis being put on the 2012-13 season.
He added: “The lack of a budget to pay players has had an effect on who we can bring in and on performances. Any manager would have found it a struggle.
“But there are ways of achieving results beyond paying players, and these methods have not been employed.”
Girdler – who remains a club shareholder – said he felt let down after trying to steer the team through a difficult period without a budget and having paid some club expenses out of his own pocket.
He claimed the club had already considered bringing back Poulton as manager – something the board strongly refuted.
Girdler said: “I said I didn’t want to carry on. Let them get on with it. If they find a manager prepared to work under those conditions, good luck to them.”
Asked if his shareholding could lead to him being involved again in the future Girdler said: “I’d never say never but it could be time to move on.”
Girdler said he was proud of his record at Chichester over a decade-and-a-half in which he led them to league and cup successes.
Chichester are bottom of division one although could retain top-flight status if they can finish above St Francis, who are five points ahead and have played three games more.
That’s because ground-grading issues and confusion over who will go up or down into the county first division may mean only one club being relegated.
City visit Sidley this week.