JIM Rushe, Northwich Victoria’s owner, insists he will put together a new team after six players left on Monday to join Welsh club Airbus UK.

Tom Field is one of half a dozen regulars unveiled as new recruits for director of football Andy Preece, who left Northwich in January.

They are the first to leave the club following Vics’ forced relegation to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s second tier, despite finishing as runners-up on the pitch in the Premier Division.

“I didn’t know about it,” said Rushe on the announcement.

“Some of the names I expected to go, while others have surprised me.

“It’s disappointing, but Airbus can afford to pay much higher wages than we can. We can’t compete with that.”

Airbus CEO Stewart Roberts used online social networking site Twitter to on Monday evening to reveal that Kyle Armstrong, Chris Budrys, Jordan Johnson, Michael Roddy and Ryan Wade would join Field at The Airfield for next season.

He added that all, except for Armstrong, had signed two-years contracts.

A note on the Welsh Premier League outfit’s official website said that Preece purposely waited until now to make the signings, preferring not to disrupt Vics’ promotion bid during January’s transfer window.

Rushe added: “I’m gutted that a group put together by a team of people is now breaking up.

“However it’s a natural progression for players to go somewhere else if they can earn more money, it happens in every walk of life.”

He told the Guardian that Vics were aware of interest from other clubs in players that had not yet decided upon their future.

It is not known if Airbus will try to add other Northwich players to their ranks, although defender Dominic Collins has ruled out a switch across the border.

Rushe added: “There are offers on the table for other squad members, some of whom are now free agents and so able to talk to who they want.

“It’s time to look forward, not back.

“I remain positive that we can assemble another squad of young players that can emulate the achievement of this one.”

Northwich will play at the lowest level in the club’s near 140-years history next term in Evo-Stik NPL Division One as punishment for breaking finance rules.

Evicted from their home ground in January, they have arranged to share Stafford Rangers’ Marston Road.

Another not returning next season is co-manager Martin Foyle, who has left following a brief spell in joint charge with Alan Wright.

His replacement is Andy Mutch, a man who master-minded a famous FA Trophy upset against a Northwich team, then in non-league’s top tier, picked by Dino Maamria back in 2007.

“Andy has joined as manager to work alongside Alan,” read a note on Vics’ official website on Tuesday.

Former Wolves forward Mutch, now 48, has not managed in non-league since leaving Burscough in 2009.

Rushe said that the ex-Southport man would be asked to focus on the development of young players.

He added: “I want Andy and Alan to take a long-term view.

“They will speak to the remaining players from last season about their plans, but I know already that they have ideas on who they will bring in too.”