It’s difficult to leave Weston - Laird

Craig Laird.

Craig Laird. - Credit: Archant

CRAIG Laird has resigned as manager of Weston Football Club after four years.

He stepped down on Friday after learning of further budget cuts, much to the disappointment of fans.

Laird only signed a two-year deal in March – having been sacked for 24 hours for not putting pen to paper quickly enough – but after learning of further cuts to his budget he decided it was time to walk away.

He said: “I had four years and I wanted to carry on. We flirted with play-offs and hoped to have the chance to sign one of two players.

“The club has financial commitments and have had to cut their cloth accordingly to survive and to be there year in, year out.”

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Assistant Marc McGregor and coach Rob Boyd left the Woodspring Stadium last week in a bid to free up extra resources.

Laird added: “It’s a difficult decision to leave. I feel I have to move on.

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“I felt it would be very difficult to travel on a Saturday with what will be a depleted squad, on my own without Marc and Rob. It takes up most of my Saturday and I think it’s important I enjoy it.”

Laird will not be the last departure from Weston, with Kane Ingram already announcing he is going, and goalkeeper Lloyd Irish posted a message on Twitter revealing his intention to leave.

Question marks must also hang over the future of his sons, Callum and Jamie Laird.

Laird said the budget change meant some players would face a 37 per cent cut to stay with Weston.

He added: “The club said at the time (of the contract) that the budget couldn’t be guaranteed but I wasn’t expecting such a big cut. To have such a severe degradation would be hard to get my players to commit to.

“That’s not them being disloyal but they have commitments themselves. For some they use the money to pay mortgages and use their skill as a second job.”

The news of Laird’s exit has been met with sadness and some anger from fans.

On the Mercury’s Facebook page, James Pendleton said: “End of the good times. Back to struggling with relegation battles, Fair play to Craig, Marc and Rob for sticking so long.”

Laird said he was proud of his spell at the club and singled out doing the double over play-off finalists Dover Athletic and beating champions Eastleigh this season.

Other achievements include two Somerset Premier Cup wins plus a best-ever seventh spot in the 2012-13 season.

However the Scot admitted the biggest low was the last-minute defeat to Brislington in the FA Cup this year which saw the club miss out on thousands of pounds in prize money.

He said: “We have made the club a stable Conference South side and hopefully can push on but we will see how they get on.

“I’m proud of the support from the fans and chairman, Paul Bliss.

“He has supported me and has done a good job at making sure Weston Football Club isn’t there for just the next six months, but the next 60 years.”

Laird has no immediate plans for the future other than enjoying his summer in the garden and watching the World Cup.

He said Weston would remain close to his heart though and that their results will be the first he looks for on a Saturday afternoon.

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