Matt Easton admits that he resigned from his role as Spalding United manager after reaching his own breaking point with the ongoing problems at the club.
Dignified to the end, the popular boss refused to be critical of anybody associated with the Tulips and said he was “gutted” to leave what was his maiden job in first-team management.
But he accepted that he felt like he was “running through treacle” in his efforts to prepare his team effectively for the rigours of BetVictor NPL South East Division football.
The Voice understands that, much like last season, Spalding have struggled with paying their players on time – which has made getting them on the training field impossible.
Easton, who wouldn’t be drawn on club finances, feels that everybody associated with the Tulips is doing their utmost to improve things behind the scenes long-term.
But, with the short-term situation showing no sign of improving, he reluctantly informed chairman Andy Gay of his decision to resign from the position he’d fulfilled for 15 months on Wednesday night.
“I’m gutted to leave the role,” said Easton. “But the situation at the club has been going on for a number of months now and, sadly, things don’t seem to be getting any better.
“It had become extremely difficult for me to prepare the team for match days and also to build upon the squad we had in place.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I asked for riches. It’s just that the situation with the players had reached a point where I felt like I was running through treacle to be able to do things properly as a manager.
“Everybody has a breaking point and I guess I just reached mine. As a manager, preparing the players and trying to get results should be the only area I’m concentrating on; but sadly it wasn’t.
“What I will say is that, behind the scenes, everybody at the club is doing their absolute best to remedy the situation and put a plan in place.
“But I just can’t see that changing in the short-term, so it was best for me leave. I Just didn’t want to drag it out any longer.
“I’ll never say anything negative about the club and the people there.
“I feel like I have a good relationship with them and that I could pop into any game at the Sir Halley, shake their hand and have a drink with them.
“That is how I wanted to leave things and I feel like I’ve done that.”
Easton’s exit has been met with an influx of positive messages from the current Spalding squad.
Posting on Twitter, club captain Lewis Brownhill said he was “gutted” by the news and called the outgoing boss a “legend”.
Midfielder George Zuerner said Easton had “nothing but respect” from all of the players, called him a “top, top bloke” and added that he was the “reason most of us have stayed this season”.
Defender Ben Greenwood said he “fully understood and respected” Easton’s choice, while striker Joel Bronwhill added that the chief “did everything he could to keep the squad together”.
Right back Taron Hare posted that Easton’s “loyalty was unquestionable”, while long-serving keeper Michael Duggan said he was “an absolute top bloke and top manager that has performed miracles under difficult circumstances”.
Easton, who isn’t on Twitter, said the posts “made his day” when The Voice made him aware of them and returned high praise to the group that he leaves in ninth place in the league, just six points off the top six.
He added: “It was very nice to receive warm messages from all of the players.
“It’s not a nice situation, but to seemingly have the respect of the players is a good thing for a football manager to hear.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the loyalty the players showed in what has been a tough situation.
“What I will say is that I have encouraged the players to play for the club on Saturday.
“Whatever they are going to do long-term, it’s either play for Spalding in the short-term or play for nobody. I genuinely hope that they do play.
“I wish the club well and I really hope they move forwards and succeed.”
Without Easton, assistant boss Lewis Thorogood is in temporary charge of Saturday’s game at Worksop Town (3pm).