After yet another week of inactivity for Whitchurch Alport’s footballers, attention turned to off field matters and specifically player movements out of Yockings Park.

Assistant manager, Steve May, gave a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of running a semi – professional football club.

The likeable May – who has been part of the fabric at Yockings since former manager, Luke Goddard, brought him into the club almost 4 years ago – wanted to stress to fans that there was so much more to consider other than performances on the pitch.

“Fans watch players on a Saturday or a Tuesday and then struggle to understand why some of them move on mid-season,” he said.

“I can say wholeheartedly that no player in the time I have been at Whitchurch has been told to leave.

"Sadly, in football these days there is no loyalty and players can end up with clubs who have the deepest pockets.

"We have lost players to a club who have nothing to play for this season whose current bill is close to two grand a week!

"How are we meant to compete with that? The truth is, even if we could, would we want to?

"We also lost a player earlier this term who the fans identified with but he was so difficult to manage off the field.

"His attitude wasn’t right and when the going got tough he decided he didn’t want to train and then opted to move at the first sign of interest.

"Even then though, we didn’t want him to go but what can you do?

"Here we pay players weekly but at some clubs they pay per game so when you’re playing twice a week that can make a huge difference.”

Like most clubs Alport have to be frugal with the purse strings and postponements can hit hard as May explained.

“Matchday revenue is a vital source of income to a club like ours when you consider the size of our support.

There have been times this season when we have gone four weeks without a home game but we still have overheads.

We base our budget on things like average gate, league positions and cup runs. At the start of the season when we were flying it’s easy to justify player wages but when we hit a sticky patch and good players turn in bang average performances, they still want to be paid the going rate even when the team starts tumbling down the table.

Then when the sticky patch continues for longer than you might hope some players end up jumping ship.

If you look at things objectively then football is quite a simple industry – Whitchurch feeds Nantwich, Nantwich feeds Crewe, Crewe feeds Stoke and Stoke feeds Aston Villa. Non-league is just a watered-down version of that and you have to deal with it.

"Had we managed to continue at the top of the table right up to the beginning of March, what then? Would we have considered throwing loads of money at it in a bid to get into the Evo – Stik?

"Risk bankrupting the football club in a bid to get out of the NWCFL? Money is only one component in the wheel and brings you no guarantees and if you look at City of Liverpool as a case in point, they won this league last season and gates reflected that.

"But now in Step four they are no longer a big fish in a small pond and are struggling. Fans will come out to watch a successful side and crowds will dwindle when results and performances aren’t that great.

"We saw that briefly at Yockings around the turn of the year.”

May wanted to assure supporters that the club’s future was safe in the hands of the current custodians.

“At Whitchurch Alport we have a relatively simple model that works for us. We want players to buy into this football club and understand what we are all about. That’s been the same since day one and we’ve had success based on that so we live within our means and

don’t go after players whose sole motivation is money.

"We could all do that but when the mercenaries disappear what are you left with? An empty dressing room, a stand with no one sat in it and a clubhouse with no one at the bar.

"Unless managed properly a club like ours could quite easily end up back where it started in the Cheshire League being watched by 30 or 40 people.

"By keeping a close watch on our finances that won’t be allowed to happen as long as we are here.”

Alport have arranged a friendly tonight (Wednesday) against Crewe FC ahead of this Saturday’s home match against second in the table Rylands.

Match sponsors for the weekend game are We (Always) Care.