CHAIRMAN Neil Blackmore said Chippenham Park’s disbandment was necessary due to financial pressures from the club’s feeder side, Chippenham Town.

The Bluebirds, who play in National League South – two steps below the English Football League – suffered several long-term injuries to players this year and as such, medical bills stretched beyond the number the board had budgeted for pre-season.

Coupled with underwhelming figures from gate receipts and sponsorship for Town, Blackmore said the semi-professional side had to make ‘savings where necessary’ and removing Park as a club was deemed to be the most efficient way to reduce costs.

Chairman of both Park and Town, Blackmore explained the reasons behind the board’s decision.

He said: “Financially – Chippenham Town are Chippenham Park’s largest sponsor, stroke and supporter.

“At Town we’ve had a particularly difficult season this year with injuries to key players – long-term injuries to key players.

“We’ve had to make extra funding available for medical requirements and to bring in additional playing staff to cover the injured players.

“Also, the income from gate receipts, from sponsorship and from donations have not reached our budgetary targets, which I have to say is extremely disappointing.

“So we’ve taken a look at the club and realised that we have to make cost-saving measures for next season.

“And unfortunately, that means the sponsorship, and the use of the pitch, that we give to Chippenham Park has to go by the wayside.”

Blackmore did not rule out the return of Park in the future, but for now, the chairman said he and the rest of the board are keen to develop Chippenham Town’s academy system in lieu of a feeder side.

Blackmore defended his decision by stating that Chippenham Town is a business and must be run like one, therefore difficult decisions like this one had to be made for the long-term benefits of the club.

He said: “I’m still mindful that we need to produce a pathway for players and to that end, we want to develop our under-18 and under-19 academies.

“That way, we’ve still got something in place where we can attract talented youngsters from the local area to come, develop and then one day feature in our first team. “At the end of the day, it all starts with Chippenham Town. Chippenham Town has to be successful and then everything else spins off from there.

“Chippenham Town is a business and it has to be run like a business.

“It has to be run cost-effectively, so we’ve looked at all aspects of the club from a financial point of view and we’re making savings where necessary.”

Elsewhere, Corsham drew 1-1 with Ashton & Blackwell – Jonathan Bazley equalised in the second half – while Calne Town lost 1-0 at home to Oldland Abbotonians.

Devizes Town beat Chard Town 2-1 thanks to goals from Matthew Russell and Thomas Slater.