CHAIRMAN Jim Cockerton warned any topping up of player wages at Evesham United could land the perpetrator in “hot water”.

The Robins chief was addressing the cash-from-managers row emanating from the Jubilee Stadium over the past week.

New boss Carl Abbott claimed money from “outside” the club’s playing budget had created a “gravy train” culture during predecessor Paul Collicutt’s tenure and that it had affected negotiations with some of last season’s players.

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Collicutt did not directly confirm or deny the allegations but said Abbott “has the same budget I had”.

It created a storm on social media with former United players Ashley Williams, Nick Stanley, Paul Fahy and Matt Sysum among those to criticise Abbott.

Ex-Robins manager Matt Clarke then joined the debate, accusing Abbott of helping to fund player wages at his previous three clubs. The ex-Quorn, Market Drayton Town, Hinckley AFC and Wolverhampton Casuals gaffer “a million per cent” denied doing so.

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“I know what’s emerged since Colly left but he did a good job for us and I thank him for that. I want to leave it at that and so does the rest of the committee,” said Cockerton.

“Whatever has gone on with managers and players in the past, it (managers adding to the budget) is something that would be frowned upon.

“I haven’t discussed it with Carl but we do not expect any manager to make up any promises about expenses the players may receive.

“We haven’t given him any instruction on that yet but we will do. If he defied that then he would be in hot water just like any other manager going against any other chairman.”

Asked if that meant he would not be permitted to add to the budget, Cockerton replied: “That’s probably the line I would take, yes.”

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Stanley, who left Evesham in August 2017 at the start of his fourth season with the club, claimed Collicutt had “made sure we didn’t go without” when “the club cut wages” in one of his responses on Twitter.

Cockerton said: “Colly and every manager at Evesham United gets given a budget at the start of a season and that was what we paid for the season.

“It is down to the manager to cut his cloth accordingly but the club has never cut the budget during a season.

Cockerton did not comment on whether budgets had been cut in between seasons but added: “Colly’s budget went up apart from one season. Whatever it was set at was the budget for the year and we never cut it.

“It is important to remember that no manager anywhere goes into any season with exactly the same set of players at any club.”