MARK Harris insists that allowing a rival team to hire Wincham Park to host important cup games has helped Witton Albion to avoid financial trouble.

And the club can expect another boost next weekend when 1874 Northwich take on Thatcham Town in the second leg of their FA Vase semi-final.

It is likely to attract the biggest crowd to watch a football match in the town so far this season.

“It’s been a godsend,” said the Witton chairman.

“I’m aware the arrangement has caused some controversy, but the truth is it has benefitted both parties.

“We’ve seen significant and valuable revenue come into the club, and I think it’s important as well to pose the question; ‘Where else would that money have come from?’”

At a forum in November, Harris told Albion supporters the club needed to raise money quickly after raiding its cash reserves to help meet day-to-day costs since the start of the season.

He told the Guardian that fans had since responded to his rallying call.

“The signs have been very encouraging and fundraising has started again,” he added.

“I must thank Jimmy Powell and his family for their outstanding work organising functions and events to make that happen.

“The presentation I made was very much an early warning about what might happen if we didn’t take corrective action.

“There are board members continuing to put money into the club, and that can’t continue on a long-term basis.

“However things are moving in the right direction.”

He confirmed he plans to keep a promise to stand down at the end of the current campaign, and expects his successor to be unveiled shortly.

However a decision on whether he will resign as a director will be made later.

Harris has still been involved in planning for the future, and hopes to finalise next season’s budget for Carl Macauley before the end of the month.

The manager can then start talks with players he wants to keep on.

“We’ve been working on figures for the past few weeks,” said Harris.

“It’s even more important than ever that the numbers we decide on strike that balance between being able to build on what has been achieved already and not putting the club at risk.

“We won’t have as many contracted players.

“I agreed that it was something we would do this time around. However I don’t think we’ve got it right.”