FINANCIAL clout and mounting player power is making life harder than ever for non-league managers.

That's the view of Brightlingsea Regent boss Tom Rothery, who has experienced his toughest-ever summer in the game.

The R's chief has made some quality signings, including goalkeeper Charlie Turner, returning midfielder Amir Berkane and former FC Clacton goal king Adam Hampson.

However, he admits he has also missed out on potential recruits - players that snapped up opportunities elsewhere.

And with such an uneven financial playing field, Rothery believes it is becoming harder for many clubs to compete.

“It’s like a bus out of control and only going to get tougher, because of the spiralling finances in non-league football," he told the Gazette.

“Players have all the power at this time of year and don’t want to commit themselves too early.

“They hedge their bets and see what options are available, because some offers are very, very lucrative.

"The amounts some are offered are more than some people earn in their day job, which I find a little bit crazy and unsustainable in part-time football.

"I’m not knocking anyone but there's no doubting it’s made life very hard and frustrating.

“The problem is that players can be sold a bit of a false dream.

“Then when they find they’re not playing as much as they’d been promised, they look at their options again in late August and September.

“That’s when they might look to go somewhere where they’ve got more chance of playing and being part of a team, rather than a squad."

From a players' perspective, Rothery says he understands why it would be difficult to turn down an eye-watering offer.

“I’m not having a dig at anyone and totally understand it," he said.

“If a club has a big budget and players are being offered vast sums, who can blame either party?

“I understand it must be hard to turn down a big, lucrative offer.

“But we don’t have the clout to compete with other clubs, which has made it harder to get deals over the line.

“Instead, we target players who aren’t so motivated by money, are ambitious and keen to progress.

“As a manager, I’d rather sign a player who’s desperate to prove themselves and test themselves at step three level and I’ll only pay what I think they’re worth.

“Otherwise it’s a slippery slope, because you’re effectively paying them over the odds to do a job you know they’re not capable of.

“Money gives you options and having a big budget makes life easier when a player leaves, gets injured or suspended.

“But it’s easy to make mistakes and a big budget still needs managing.

"There are pitfalls that are easy to fall into."

Brightlingsea begin their pre-season schedule with a trip to Long Melford on Friday night.