THE Sydenhams Wessex League have not ruled out the possibility of including a Salisbury City club in their ranks next season.
With no one dropping down to replace champions Sholing, who are heading back to the Southern One South & West, the Sydenhams League have only 21 clubs in their Premier Division for 2014/15 – one short of capacity.
And it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the league could accommodate a Salisbury club next term if, as feared, the Whites are expelled from the Football Conference on Friday.
Salisbury’s predicament lurched from bad to worse over the weekend when co-owner Mark Winter stepped down.
Having purchased the club in May with Moroccan partner Otail Touzar, Southampton businessman Winter, 47, says he has ploughed more than £75,000 into the club while claiming that Touzar – the major backer with 98 per cent shares – is yet to invest any money.
The crisis club – already thrown out of the Conference Premier – have until 5pm on Friday to pay their football creditors and secure a bond of £50,000 to avoid expulsion from the Conference South.
On the same day a winding- up order from HMRC of £29,000 is due, otherwise the Whites will fold entirely.
Confirming his resignation, Winter told supporters: “I wish I could give you better news, but as it stands, unless there is radical movement, I expect Salisbury to be expelled from the Conference on Friday (July 4).
“The HMRC winding-up petition, which needs to be paid shortly, will then call closure on the club.
“As fans, we need to face the real possibility that there will be no Salisbury City Football Club playing next season.”
Should the club survive or reform under a new name, there has been talk of Salisbury joining neighbours Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the Sydenhams Premier Division if the Southern League is unable to take them.
Asked about that possibility at the Sydenhams Wessex AGM, league chairman Ian Hoare said it would be down to football’s governing body.
He said: “We have a space and the FA will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to us.
“Obviously with a space we’d be silly not to take them.”
Winter, meanwhile, admitted it was hard to walk away from the club he loves. He and fiancee Michaela Menzel have been involved with Salisbury for the past six years.
He said: “I, Michaela and all those that have supported our efforts over the last weeks are heartbroken to be taking the decision to walk away, but there really is no other option.
“If there is an appetite for a pho