Hawks boss Shaun Gale has lifted the lid on the shock departure of Neil Barrett.
The former Pompey midfielder left Westleigh Park after just seven games.
And Gale, who has come in for stick since Barrett’s exit, has revealed it was down to a lack of finance at the Blue Square Bet South club.
Barrett was unveiled as the man to help the misfiring Hawks turn their fortunes around after a disappointing start to the season.
But following the club’s FA Cup exit at Weston-super-Mare, he was shown the door.
‘I would very much liked to have kept him,’ said Gale.
‘A player with his experience would be a great asset to the club and he was just starting to get into his stride. He hadn’t played a lot in pre-season but he was one of those unassuming players who you know what you are going to get week in, week out.
‘After losing at Weston in the FA Cup, though, I was told to reduce my playing budget.
‘With Neil being a non-contract player and a fairly high earner, I had little choice but to let him go.
‘My budget is now significantly lower than what it was at the start of the season because a few players have gone without being replaced.’
Barrett has since joined Blue Square Bet Premier outfit Ebbsfleet United.
The Hawks – like many other clubs in the non-league world – are having to cut their cloth in times of financial hardship, with revenue from sources such as sponsorship down dramatically.
And that has left Gale with little, if any, cash to strengthen his squad, which still lacks a replacement for former skipper Ian Simpemba, who joined Ebbsfleet back in the summer.
Last weekend, the boss was forced to include two untried youngsters against Eastbourne Borough, after the Hawks were hit by suspension, injury and unavailability.
Both lads – Harvey Whyte and Brady Norton – worked hard but, unsurprisingly, their inexperience showed.
‘I have come in for some criticism from some quarters since Neil Barrett joined Ebbsfleet,’ said Gale.
‘They don’t realise I was disappointed to lose him.
‘We are desperate to bring increased sponsorship into the club so we can move forward.
‘Maybe a few of those who have been quick to criticise could come and give us a hand to increase revenue.’
Gale is hoping to have three players back for the crucial trip to strugglers Staines Town on Saturday.
Jake Newton is due back from his World Cup duties in Guyana, Perry Ryan has served his one-match ban and Sammy Igoe is recovering from his groin injury.