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Key players jumping ship was the reason for Holbeach United’s title-winning manager John Chand leaving the club, he has told the Guardian.

Chand (pictured) says he would have sacrificed work and family commitments to defend the title had the nucleus of his squad stayed at Carter’s Park.

But the knowledge that Jamie Stevens, Jonny Allen and Adam Jackson were moving to rivals Spalding United made his mind up.

Once those players signalled their intentions, Rob Hughes signed for Yaxley and Andy Toyne went to Lincoln United.

“I’ve a lot of great memories from my three years. We had some good times and I have made two really good friends in (assistants) Dean Elston and Phil Barnes,” he said.

But Chand, who did the job at Carter’s Park without taking a wage or expenses, added: “I am disappointed the three local lads (Stevens, Allen and Jackson) did not let me know personally.

“Holbeach have great fans who love the local lads and finding out how they left will be a bitter pill to swallow.

“For some of the players not to give me the courtesy of even a text hurts. But money talks... and some of them have not got a lot of it.

“If every player had committed to me I would have had a different mind set.

“But with my job and having a new baby on the way, I have not got the time to build a new side.

“If all the squad had stayed I was willing to sacrifice parts of my working and family life for the cause.”

With wife Becky expecting their second child next month, Chand said he is unlikely to return to football management this year.

And he praised the man who gave him his chance in senior management, chairman Dave Dougill: “He is a good man, he works so hard for the club. He appointed me when other non-league clubs dismissed me as a Sunday League manager and I wanted to repay his loyalty.”

And Chand may return in the future, with Dougill saying: “He is a tremendous guy and we would have him back any time.”

Chand added: “In 12 months’ time, if Holbeach are looking for a manger, I would consider coming back.”

Mr Dougill added: “He turned the playing side around and dragged us up from the bottom. We could not have asked for a better manager.”

nAnyone interested in the manager’s job should contact Adam Kirk on 07714018695 or 01406 493191.