WITTON Albion chairman John Salmon has thanked directors and the fans’ generosity for helping to keep the club stable financially.

In a time where some clubs are facing a real struggle to make ends meet, Salmon has provided insight into how they are getting through the Covid-19 pandemic in a steady position, in addition to giving his thoughts on the season being cut short for the second year running.

The chairman has revealed how Witton’s commercial status has been aided by an act of kindness from vice chairman and staunch Wittoner Reg Hardingham and his partner Judith Kelly.

Salmon said: “Director’s loans have assisted over many years with the running of the club, and Mr Hardingham and Mrs Kelly have been instrumental in helping with that.

"They’ve decided to write off their existing loan [over a number of years] which is worth £45,000 to the club so that massively improves our balance sheet.

“I would have loved to have met him in his heyday because he’s brilliant now – in other words, he must have been some fella to work with. I’ve told him that several times, he’s quite an unsung hero!"

The club have raised over £5,800 from a JustGiving page, where supporters can contribute financial support, and Salmon acknowledges how much the fans do for them.

“It’s why I serve the club really. Wittoners and Northwich people are the salt of the earth,” Salmon said.

“I’ve been going to the supporters to assist with the running of the football club, and they’ve been incredibly generous.

"One of those devices has been the JustGiving page, but it is actually a reasonably small proportion of how we generate our money.

“But it has gone exceptionally well, it gives people the opportunity to make small, one-off donations with the target, and it will be allocated towards our running expenses and the void filled by not playing and not being able to generate any income.”

The FA outlined earlier this week that no further football will take place this season between Steps 3 and 6.

Although that will be a blow to the finances of clubs across the league, was Salmon taken aback by the announcement?

“No surprise whatsoever,” he said.

“It’s ultimately the right decision and we start thinking about next season. That was my view last year, and I think the response from a few was that that was because we were mid-table, but if we win our games in hand [this year], we actually go top. But that doesn’t change my view one iota, I think it is the right thing to do.

“It was null and void when we played about 25 games last year, if we’ve only played seven this year and given the short period of time between the end of lockdown and the end of the season, no amount of extensions could drag it out."

The chairman plans to hold discussions with manager Carl Macauley regarding money matters.

He said: “Carl and I will be sitting down to discuss the budget for next year.

"We’ve lodged an application for a grant – a further grant – which is the one that the government had made available. We’re not sure how much we’re going to get from that."

Salmon has made it clear that they are in a much stronger position financially than they have been previously with crown debt paid, expenses negligible and running expenses controlled.

He continued: “It’s a case of just seeing what we get from the grant then I will be able to hopefully confirm a similar budget for Carl going forward. I won’t know that number until we see where we are with that grant which is probably going to be largely on the same terms.

"If that is the case, we believe many of the squad will stay. We have looked after the players throughout all of this and I think that people can see that we were on the cusp of achieving more this season – on the pitch – than we have for a number of years."

Witton Albion finish the Northern Premier League Premier Division season in fifth place.