Hawks boss Shaun Gale has been handed a vote of confidence after coming under attack from a section of unhappy West Leigh Park fans.
Gale has endured criticism over the summer following the Hawks’ failure to reach the Blue Square South play-offs under his tenure.
A small group of fans have been showing their disapproval by posting messages on the club’s official website, with last season’s ninth-place finish – 18 points adrift of fifth-placed Woking – proving the last straw for some disgruntled supporters.
And that prompted club secretary Trevor Brock to enter the debate, logging on to the website’s messageboard to state Gale had the full backing of the Hawks board of directors.
Defending Gale’s record in charge, Brock said: ‘I want to put the record straight
‘When posters say that Shaun Gale’s had three years and we still haven’t reached the play-offs, they forget that the board have cut his budget twice in the past three years.
‘Realistically, at the moment we are running a mid-table-level budget because we are working our butts off to make the club self-sufficient without having to rely on any one man’s input.
‘That is not to say that we can’t win promotion, but we shouldn’t be expecting it as a measure of success.
‘Anything above mid-table will be a success and anything below a failure.
‘The club is putting in place income streams that will bear fruit in the next few years which will enable the budget to increase back to former levels.
‘But we want to ensure that the club will still be around in 20 or even 50 years time.
‘We are still very ambitious and aiming for the top, so be assured that off the field, we have a premier division set-up and a grade-A ground, together with an expensive and newly-laid magnificent surface that the contractors assure us will not become the waterlogged bog it was in the second half of last season.
‘We feel we have put together a very competitive squad and if we can avoid injury problems, then we can have a decent season.’
Broke went on the say: ‘Shaun Gale is one of the hardest-working managers I have worked with over the past 30 years, so this season we have gone for quality in our signings rather than quantity.
‘If we had the money we’d happily have a squad of 20-plus players like several of our rivals, but we’re trying to strike a balance.
‘Obviously, injury is an inherent risk in running a small squad, but we’d rather try for promotion with a small squad of quality players, which we believe we have, rather than achieve nothing with a larger squad with more than a few average journeymen.
‘The manager has the full confidence of the board of directors.’
The Hawks are next in friendly action on Saturday when they face Hendon at home (3pm).