NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Clements insists the future can be bright for St Neots Town

Manager Matt Clements will now become the director of football at St Neots Town.

Manager Matt Clements will now become the director of football at St Neots Town. - Credit: Archant

Matt Clements is convinced a successful future lies ahead for St Neots Town - despite the prospect of voluntary demotion.

The Southern League Premier Division Central club are considering making a request to drop from Step 3 to Step 5 at the end of the current season.

Saints are currently three points above the relegation zone ahead of a home clash against Coalville at the Premier Plus Stadium, 3pm, but it may not be results on the pitch which determine their outcome.

Clements is to step aside as manager as soon as a successor is appointed. He will then take on a director of football post and hopes to play a key role in the club blossoming again.

And while he admits up to a third of the club’s current players - who were left ‘gutted’ when notified of the club’s position last night - are likely to move on, he also hopes many will choose to remain for the rest of this season and beyond.

Speaking to the Hunts Post this morning (Friday), Clements said: “I first heard a proposal a couple of weeks ago when I got an idea of what could be happening. This week things gathered pace and it became clear we had to start acting now.

“It has come to the point where the club cannot continue throwing money out for the first team and getting nothing back in return.

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“It’s like someone having an £800 mortgage when they can only afford to pay £600 and expecting to stay living in that house. It can’t happen.”

“Of course it hurts me and upsets me, but I don’t feel any anger towards anyone.

“It wasn’t easy to tell the players of the situation last night, but it was something that had to be done.

“Every single one of the lads was gutted. I gave them last night to sleep on it and I’m expecting to talk to several of them individually today.

“I’d envisage somewhere around a third of the current players will move elsewhere as they can walk into other sides at this level.

“I’ll do all I can to help them facilitate that while also doing everything possible to retain the players who can be a big part of the club’s future.

“We had targets we felt we could achieve - staying up and retaining the county cup - which might not now be within our reach.

“But we need to ensure we continue to perform to the best of our ability on the pitch and win as many football matches as we can.

“Everyone will have their opinions on what is happening, but hopefully the fans will stay behind us.

“I was going to step aside as manager at the end of the season, but my thinking changed when the developments of recent days came about.

“While I feel the time is right to have a break from management, my ambition is now to help and support the club be stable and successful in the future.

“We will have a competitive budget for the level of football we’re at, we will still boast great facilities and we will have the opportunity to bring through young players.”

Clements was appointed Saints manager at the beginning of 2017 and led the club to safety that season.

They then finished 12th last season when making fine progress but have found the going considerably tougher in the current campaign.

However, victories in three of their last four games have pulled them out of the drop-zone.