WITTON Albion chairman John Salmon has asked supporters for their help paying bills because the club isn’t making enough money.

He plans to reassure them that there is no immediate danger, and told the Guardian that acting now will protect it against running into trouble.

“This is a warning shot,” he said.

“We need a short-term fix, and it won’t be forever.

“However it is my own version of Maximus calling his soldiers to arms.”

In a statement issued last week, he said the club’s reliance in the past couple of years on directors' loans, prize money from cup runs and the windfall from a land sale is unsustainable.

To reflect as much, manager Carl Macauley and his number two Gary Martindale have agreed to a pay cut and most of the players have been asked to do the same.

Fewer of them will be offered a contract for next season too.

“They’ve made sacrifices and everybody else has to as well,” added Salmon.

“That’s why we need help, and I’m not afraid to ask for it.”

In the most recent set of accounts filed at Companies House in March, Witton declared a loss of £157,000 for the 2017-2018 campaign - its first back in the Northern Premier League's top-flight following promotion at the end of the previous campaign.

A tax bill of £45,000 is included in that figure.

The outlay on players' wages was higher, while early exits from both the FA Cup and FA Trophy meant there was no bonus from those competitions.

Travel expenses to away games increased too.

Fewer people watched Albion's home games, and in turn the social club generated less money, while Northwich Victoria did not come back until last summer meaning there was no income from a tenant either.

The numbers for last season, due by next March, should be more encouraging.

A run to the final round of qualifying in the FA Cup, plus two wins in the FA Trophy, brought in close to £40,000 in prize money - although a percentage of that was reserved for the players in bonuses - while Vics contributed a five-figure sum in rental payments.

An initial response to the chairman's plea has been positive with more than £10,000 pledged by a small group of supporters inside the first few days.

Salmon has set an initial target of raising £50,000.

"I'm heartened by how people have rallied already," he said.

The club announced on Thursday an increase in admission prices, while Worthingtons Transport has renewed an arrangement to sponsor the team's shirts.

Talks are ongoing too with Vics to extend a ground-share agreement beyond the end of next season.

Meanwhile board members remain committed to exploring the possibility of replacing a grass playing surface at Wincham Park with an artificial one.

They are waiting for the results of a feasibility study which, if favourable, could lead to work being carried out this time next year.

“For me, that’s the answer,” added Salmon.

“It’s also the direction of travel at this level when you look at how many of our rivals in the Northern Premier League’s top-flight have already done the same.

“That’s the long-term strategy, but we’ve some graft to do in the meantime.

“Our position isn’t fatal, not yet. However we must act.”

Asked if he was optimistic that the club could raise the money that it needs in the time available, he struck a positive note.

He said: “People talk about the glass being half-full, or half-empty, but there is still the same amount of wine in it.

“What matters is what you do about it and that’s what I’m figuring out.

“The overwhelming majority of us want Witton to continue operating at this level at the very least.”