Further cuts to Lancaster City’s playing budget were the final straw for Michael Stringfellow and Neil Wainwright, who have quit as the club’s joint player-managers.
The pair relinquished control of first-team affairs after being informed that their shoestring budget would be reduced even further.
While understanding the club’s point of view, Stringfellow felt stepping down was the right thing to do in order to safeguard the players’ futures.
Stringfellow said: “We went to a meeting with the director of football on Monday and were told that the budget was being reduced.
“The budget was already one of the worst in the league and we felt we were competing and doing a good job.
“Our main target when we took the job was avoiding relegation, so being 10th in the league – as we are at the moment – is a bit of an achievement.
“We came to this decision out of loyalty to the players – at least they will get paid until the end of the season.
“We just did not feel it was right to say to five or six players – who we had brought to the club – to go and look for another club with 12 or 13 weeks until the end of the season.
“I think the average wage this season was something like £37.50 a week – it’s really tough to get players in on that budget. For some players it was actually costing them money to play.
“At the end of the day, the club has got to do what the club has got to, so I can see both points of view.
“It’s a massive disappointment. It’s been a great experience, but we just felt it was best for the football club and the lads if we stepped down.”
A former Dolly Blues skipper, Stringfellow returned to the club in the summer and became caretaker manager Mick Hoyle’s assistant after previous boss Tony Hesketh was sacked.
When Hoyle stepped aside, Stringfellow was handed the reins alongside former Sunderland, Darlington and Morecambe winger Wainwright, who had joined the club at the start of the season, initially as a player.
It was certainly a baptism of fire for the young management duo as they lost nine games out of 13 in a run stretching from the middle of October to early December.
However, they presided over a much-improved run of form from Christmas onwards – collecting six wins out of a possible nine – although they have lost their last two games.
“It was a tough time at the start of the season, what with Tony Hesketh leaving the club,” Stringfellow said.
“Tony is a very experienced manager at that level – and a lot of the fans were not happy.
“We’ve experienced a lot of things through the season.
“We had a split squad earlier in the season, but all the lads there now are there for the right reasons.
“They are there for football reasons, they are not there for money reasons.”
Many of Lancaster City’s players have took to the social media networking site Twitter to express their disappointment at the pair’s departure from the club.
Nobody from the club was available to comment on the pair’s departure at the time of going to press.
Hoyle will take charge of team for the remainder of the season