EX-MANAGER Carl Heeley believes his standing at Worcester City will do the talking on the back of chairman Anthony Hampson claiming the playing budget had been “out of control” during his final five months in charge.

Hampson said money paid to players had increased by £65,000 on the previous year’s published total of £287,408 after the club reported losses of more than £290,000 for the financial year up to May 31, 2017.

The City chief reported Heeley had exceeded a flexible budget of between £7,000 and £8,000 per week and that he had been “slow to act” in cutting it as agreed once the club had exited potentially-lucrative FA competitions.

Heeley stepped down after seven months as a director in July 2016 but remained as manager until he resigned at the end of January 2017.

City sat 18th in National North at the time, five points and two places above the drop zone on the back of 10 league matches without a win.

Within two weeks the club announced its aim for a “rationalisation of current operating costs (including the playing budget)”.

Then-caretaker manager John Snape confirmed all first-team players had been made available for transfer with Lee Hughes among the star turns to exit. City got relegated and then dropped two more levels to the Midland Football League Premier Division in a bid to cut costs.

Heeley, lauded as King Carl by fans having made more than 500 appearances for City, said he had been “asked what type of budget I would need to give us a fighting chance” to remain in National North and "hopefully get an FA Cup run” before the campaign kicked off but that he had no input as a director.

He declined to comment on speculation he had drafted a budget for the company and was not prepared to divulge what playing budget he had recommended when asked.

Heeley also declined to comment directly on whether or not he accepted Hampson’s assertion that “everyone has to take responsibility” for the losses.

“I am disappointed and saddened that Anthony made those comments but will not get into a war of words with individuals or officials. I would rather retain my integrity,” said Heeley.

“It was agreed the budget set would be reviewed in the new year dependent on the outcome of the cup runs. That was the strategy, it wasn’t a great strategy but it was the only one.

“I stuck to that and even four or five weeks after leaving the club I agreed to help to reduce the budget and worked with John Snape.

“A few personal slights are not the important things here. The future of a once great, proud non-league club is on the brink of being no more.

"What Anthony, Colin (Layland, vice-chairman) or even I have to say is largely irrelevant.”

On his involvement in setting the budget, Heeley said: “My input was as a manager.

“It was paramount that I retained the club’s status in National North as it would have impacted on the grants available to help fund the Perdiswell project as it was then.”

In response to the claim he had drafted the playing budget for the 2016-17 season, Heeley said: “People who know me and my core values, integrity and honesty will form an opinion on what they know and the speculation that has been put in the press.

“I am happy to rely on people forming an opinion based on that. I know what I did, I will judge my actions and people who know me will judge me as well.

“How many managers draft budgets for directors? I was asked what I needed for a budget. That was what I did.”

Heeley later added that “based on a 40-week playing contract it is very simple maths” and that he would “rely on people who care about the club to be able to do some basic calculations”.

He described taking a seat on City’s board as “certainly the worst decision I made in my football career”.

Heeley continued: “I joined in December 2015 alongside some supporters’ trust colleagues with the aim of trying to help develop a sustainable model and a strategy while the club was in exile.

“It was a poor decision in hindsight. It quickly became clear there was no will or desire for things to change or to address the key issue that outgoings vastly outweighed the incomings.

“I wish I had not done it.”

Heeley added: “With the two cups runs and expenditure against income on players, my record was better than anyone’s in the history of the club. That does not take a great deal of analysing. I did my bit.

“We did not have enough non-football related income but I could not affect that. My record as manager of the club under the circumstances I had to operate were pretty good. I am quite proud of those achievements.”

Snape, who was Heeley's assistant before taking over as caretaker last season, declined to comment on the budgets at various stages of 2016-17.