MARK Harris has warned that Witton Albion need to raise money quickly if they are to avoid running into trouble.

He revealed to supporters during a two-hour forum on Wednesday that the club had raided its cash reserves to help meet day-to-day costs since the start of the season.

However those are now depleted too.

“We’re burning more notes than we’re bringing in,” he said.

“The club is not on the verge of collapse, but unless we take action now there could be some tough decisions to make in the future.

“A sticking-plaster solution isn’t what we’re after, and the problems we have cannot be solved by the directors writing a cheque.

“Everybody, including me, has to roll up their sleeves; this is a ‘call to arms’ to do that.

“Doing nothing isn’t an option.”

He told fans that the club’s board calculated last summer they needed to find £70,000 of additional income this season to pay the players’ wages and to cover a shortfall created by the termination of a ground-share with Northwich Victoria.

However they are short of that figure.

Despite Albion attracting bigger crowds following their promotion back to the Northern Premier League’s top-flight, he said the growth in attendances to date has been smaller than anticipated.

He added too that supporter fund-raising has dwindled to almost nothing.

In contrast three directors between them will have donated around £30,000 by the end of the season, according to the chairman.

“Everybody must step up a gear,” said Harris, who concluded a presentation on the club’s financial state by announcing he intends to resign at the end of the season.

“The last thing I want to do is scaremonger, but I do need people to become reenergised.

“It is not one person’s job to bring in money; it’s a responsibility we all share.

"And that’s how we’ll resolve this problem.”

Witton received a dividend of around £300,000 earlier this year after land adjacent to the club’s Wincham Park home was sold to Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd.

It had been owned by WR Roberts & Sons, and run as a scrapyard.

Some of the plot had previously belonged to Albion.

Mike Worthington, Harris’ predecessor as chairman, had negotiated at the turn of the century for the club to receive a cut of the proceeds should the family decide to sell.

More than half of of that sum was allocated to clearing debt, including paying back individuals that had lent to Albion.

Some of it has been spent on repairs to the stadium.

Harris said: “It’s been a double-edged sword.

“On the surface, most rival clubs would love to swap places with us; we don’t owe anybody money, and we own our own ground.

“However the land sale, coupled with the ground-share we had with Vics, has created the perception we didn’t need to be as pro-active raising money as we had been previously.

“To use an analogy; we’ve allowed the plane to glide, and now we need to restart the engines.

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to tell everybody the true extent of the problem.

“And we’ve flagged it up now while there is time to turn it around.”

Asked by the Guardian what impact there could be on the team, which sits eighth in the table ahead of a meeting with Grantham this weekend, Harris was clear.

“By taking prompt action, there is no reason why we can’t at the very least sustain the playing budget going forward,” he replied.

“My message is simple; every penny we bring in goes towards keeping this club competitive at this level.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear accusations from some that as a board we lack ambition because the club has all the tools that it needs to climb the pyramid.”