HIGHER levels of income are going to be needed for Witton Albion to continue playing in the Northern Premier League top flight, says chairman John Salmon.

Player talks and stadium work are also topics he has discussed in his latest club update.

Salmon paints a rosy picture of Albion's currently financial position considering the painful 14-month period caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But he is acknowledging what is needed for the club's future viability playing at Step 3 of the National League System.

"Although Government financial assistance was often sporadic and led to a few sleepless nights, it did ultimately come through," said Salmon in his end-of-month statement.

"Grants and furlough have enabled us to ride out the storm and survive.

"The lack of gate receipts and income from the social club were, in the end, compensated for, and we must be extremely grateful for that.

"The company accounts up to June 2021 look much improved on previous years. They show a small profit which can be set against previous losses.

"All Crown obligations have been met. We have managed to clear almost all historic debt and we are up-to-date with our dues and demands.

"Many will be aware of the great generosity shown by vice chairman Reg Hardingham and Judith Kelly in writing off loans made to the club over a number of years. This has further strengthened our balance sheet. The whole football club owes them huge gratitude.

"We will be now be pressing on with fundraising initiatives, sponsorship and commercial sales in anticipation of the season start date of August 14."

He added: "On the football side, there have been discussions between myself and the management team over players.

"The squad performed well last year and, had they won their games in hand, would have gone to the top of the league.

"Carl (Macauley, manager) and Gary (Martindale, assistant) are keen to keep a similar competitive squad together in order to challenge.

"This is no easy task. South Shields are reverting to full-time and seem to have almost limitless resources.

"The management are in talks on a daily basis with players over next season and football secretary Mike Harper has been extremely busy over the last few days. A number of high profile pre-season friendlies have already been agreed.

"While our gates increased, we are going to need greater income from other sources to play at this level.

"We continue to work on other initiatives to achieve this.

"Neil Wilson has been instrumental in obtaining grant monies. Paul Worthington and Graham Wood make up a triumvirate of accountants assisting with the financial stability of the football club. Tight financial control is key."

Wincham Park, Witton's ground which is also rented by Northwich Victoria, remains a key focus in the close-season too.

He concluded: "The stadium is undergoing urgent drainage work to negate possible flooding later in the season. Our floodlights have also undergone an upgrading."

Salmon reveals that there have been a number of changes to the composition of the board of directors, with details to be confirmed in due course.

Meanwhile, Thursday, July 22, has been set as a date for club's the annual meeting.

This is subject to Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted.