BLUES boss Peter Smith has painted a gloomy picture over the future of Clitheroe Football Club.
The Shawbridge chief has declared the Ribble Valley club are in desperate need of investment – or it could sink.
It is apparent a number of circumstances surrounding the club have taken their toll on Smith of late.
And five points from a possible 24 recently has done nothing to lighten that mood.
First-half strikes from Danny Shannon, Tom Bentham and Michael Hazeldine had given Trafford a 3-0 half-time lead against the Blues on Saturday, before Ashley Parillon’s 50th-minute penalty and Chris Smalley’s deft flick in the 68th minute gave the scoreline a bit more respectability.
But the result still saw Clitheroe slide to 10th in the Evo-Stik First Division North.
Smith said: “The first half was shocking. One or two players just didn’t show enough commitment, and I think it will continue to get worse before it improves.
“I can’t strengthen the side because we are relying on self finance at the moment from gate receipts, and they haven’t been great lately. That all has a knock-on effect.
“I’m not enjoying the games on a Saturday. We’ve gone from a good side to a poor side. It’s getting frustrating for me and the supporters.”
He insists club finances are crippling the team, and investment or a sponsorship deal is much-needed to help Clitheroe move forward.
Smith said: “I’ve taken Clitheroe as far as I can in terms of the finance I’m working with.
“There’s no money going in to the club at all, and we need people or local firms to put something in. At the moment I’m fighting a losing battle.
“I’ve built a side in two years and it was a good side, but steadily it’s been split in to pieces. It’s just kills me.
“The expenses I’m working on have been cut in half and I’ve nothing to work with. And it’s only going to get worse.
“There’s nothing I can do, my hands are tied.
“There are teams playing at North West Counties standard paying out more money than what we are giving in expenses.
“It’s just giving me a headache, and I can see it’s frustrating supporters, but it doesn’t hurt anyone more than me.”
And a further knock-on of dwindling expenses have seen key players leave the club for much richer destinations.
Mark Jackson and Danny William left for Kendall, Nathan Taylor signed for Halifax while Kev Brown and Alex Porter both left the club.
Smith said: “If we’d have kept those lads, we’d have had a chance but without we couldn’t compete.
“We’ve lost a number of quality players and it’s telling. Some of the lads now are not showing the desire I want to see.
“We don’t have the finance to keep players or bring decent players in to the club.
“It takes time to build a new team and it’s hard work.
“Without people getting involved or investing we are not going to improve.
“I’ve developed players and teams, but then other clubs take them off you because they can offer more money – they’re a more attractive proposition.
“It’s always going to be a struggle.”
Smith added: “At the moment, the lads are getting their petrol money, and sometimes they’ll be lucky to get that. We don’t want the club folding or going in to debt but something needs to change if things are to improve.
“We’re going backwards and we need to join together to make the club stronger.”
If any local firms or individuals are keen to discuss investment proposals for Clitheroe Football Club contact chairman Carl Garner, vice-chairman Anne Barker, secretary Colin Wilson or treasurer Andrew Jackson on (01200) 423344.