BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent chairman Terry Doherty says the club's staff are doing their "level best" to attract more investment - but has stressed the importance of being "realistic and practical" in terms of next season's playing budget.

The R's have confirmed that their resources will be cut next season, unless new backers or sponsors are forthcoming.

Manager Tom Rothery has reluctantly said he will leave if that happens, claiming it would be impossible to remain competitive at step three level.

And Doherty has admitted being saddened by the stark reality that players could also move on if funds are trimmed.

"Myself and treasurer Phil Calver had a very frank discussion with Tom and (assistant manager) Pip (Boyland) a few weeks ago about the financial integrity of the club and the way forward for the 2019/20 season," said the long-serving Regent chairman.

"It saddens me to have to address these issues but we have to be realistic and practical with regards to the future of the club.

"One of my main worries about being promoted to our current level (step three) was whether we could attract enough interest from within the town to sustain a reasonable budget to work with.

"It's sadly proving to be not the case, either through attendances, which are down, or corporate interest from local business.

"The majority of our sponsorship finance comes from out of Brightlingsea.

"It's been said that maybe it's not possible for a town the size of ours to sustain a football club at this level.

"That remains to be seen but I must also stress that we're extremely grateful to the people and businesses of the town who do get behind the club."

In terms of north Essex's non-league scene, Brightlingsea have been one of the biggest success stories of the last decade, rising from the Essex and Suffolk Border League, through both divisions of the Thurlow Nunn League and now into the Bostik League.

Having been crowned division north champions in 2017, they are now in their second season in the premier division - step three of the non-league pyramid.

Impressively, they are 13th in the table - well clear of relegation and only eight points adrift of the play-off places.

"It must also be said that perhaps the club is now at stage where it needs a more experienced person at the helm, with regards to business acumen and finance," added Doherty.

"At the end of the day, Tom and his staff, together with the squad, have performed miracles out on the pitch against huge, well-known clubs from large towns and cities across the south-east of England.

"The staff at the club are doing their level best to improve the situation and will continue to do so.

"We would all dearly love to keep Tom and his team here next season."

Anyone interested in helping can contact the club via or by ringing 07794 545586.