Playing budget to be slashed at City

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LANCASTER City’s playing budget has been “slashed” for the coming season.

Chairman Mick Hoyle told the Lancaster Guardian the club need to “tighten their belts” to stay on a solid financial footing.

He said: “We have got to tighten our belts over the next 12 months. We’ve finished in the black for the last few years and want to make sure that continues so the first thing to look at is the first-team expenses.

“We’ll start with that and see what we come up with.”

Dolly Blues boss Tony Hesketh is still optimistic that the club can be competitive next season, however.

He said: “The playing budget has been slashed. I’ve spoken to the players and it’s fair to say we will be moving players on.

“It will be difficult to compete with other clubs financially but having said that there are players that I want to bring in and we’ll still be pushing for the play-offs.”

Hesketh’s squad will again be supported by the link with Myerscough College, with ties set to remain strong despite the college’s Football Development Centre chief Phil Brown stepping down as assistant manager at Giant Axe.

Hesketh said: “We have the same links with the college as before.

“Phil is a thoroughly professional guy and put a lot of his time into Lancaster City, perhaps to the detriment of Myerscough, so common sense prevailed.

“The link is still strong and the reserve side will still play from the college, with a strong link to the first team.”

Hesketh confirmed this week Brown’s replacement will be former Dolly Blues captain and manager Barrie Stimpson.

Stimpson was previously Hesketh’s assistant during the City boss’ first spell in charge at the club before the pair left for Kendal in May 2003.

The tough-tackling defender then returned to Giant Axe in November 2006 for his first managerial role, leaving in March 2009.

Hesketh said: “I’ve worked with Barrie in two other spells at Kendal and Lancaster.

“I know what he’s going to bring to the club and I’m looking forward to building our relationship again and hopefully taking Lancaster City a stage further this season.”

nAlex Kenyon picked up the Lancaster Guardian Sports Writers’ Player of the Year award at the club’s presentation evening in the Dolly Blue Tavern, last Friday, May 4.

He also won the Chairman’s Player of the Year, Manager’s Player of the Year and Goal of the Season awards, the winning strike coming against Curzon Ashton back in December.

Ryan Elderton won the Joe Stephenson Memorial Trophy for having the highest marks in the Guardian over the course of the season as well as the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award and Directors’ Player of the Year awards.

Simon Wills was named Players’ Player of the Year and Danny Hattersley, now with Stockport, was the club’s top goalscorer.

For the reserves, Jack Cook was named Manager’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the year and Dan Wilkins won the Clubman of the Year Award.

In the ladies team, Kayleigh Cleminson picked up the Players’ Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer awards.

Lucy Dixon was named Manager’s Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year and Jess Weston won the Most Improved Player award.