THE turmoil caused by the sudden departure of chairman Stuart Pike and manager Justin Lee led to Witney Town being unable to field a side for their Premier Division fixture at home to Abingdon Town on Saturday, writes MICHAEL KNOX.

The mass exodus that followed Lee’s resignation led to only two Witney players being available for the game, which was postponed.

Chris Hurley, the former Bicester Town and Clanfield manager, was appointed last week to take over the reins at Witney, but 24 of the club’s registered 26 players had already left.

Witney have indicated, however, they should be able to fulfil next week’s game at Binfield.

Hurley said: “With my contacts, I’m confident we’ll get a side together for this Saturday.

“I’ve already persuaded five or six of those who left last week to return. “In my opinion, the club’s wage bill was much too high for this level of football.

“When the club, rightly in my view, decided to reduce the wage bill, the players decided to leave.

“There seems no loyalty these days.

“I’ve come to Witney because it’s a well-run club.”

League general secretary Brian King said Witney would not be punished for their failure to field a side.

“They will not be deducted points and the fixture will be re-arranged,” he said.

“It’s up to Witney to resolve their problems, and I expect them to be able to field a side next week.”

King declined to say how many games Witney would have to miss before being punished.