MALMESBURY Victoria club secretary Julie Exton says the long-term future of the cash-stricken club had to come first after confirming they will drop into the Wiltshire League next season.

Vics, who have been pushed close to financial ruin by two years of flooding at their Flying Monk ground, will drop out of the Hellenic League to take a place in the county league’s Premier Division next season.

The move prompted the departure of first-team boss Gareth Davies, pictured, and assistant Ady Roper, with reserves chief Wayne Kibble stepping up to take charge next season.

The club will also run a youth development team, joint-managed by Ashley Langley and Anthony Woolcock.

Vics only managed to complete their current Hellenic League campaign thanks to support and donations after utility bills totalling £800 pushed them close to the edge, concuding the season with a 3-3 home draw against North Leigh United last Wednesday.

On Monday, the club’s committee confirmed their decision to drop down a level, Exton saying: “It was not a decision we took lightly.

“I talked to everyone about it, the Hellenic and Wiltshire leagues, county FA and other clubs and they all said the same.

“The support we’ve had in the last few weeks has been great and it makes us want to keep battling and keep the club going. I know, financially, we can keep going in the Wiltshire League.

“It will be hard (for the team) but they and the club have a goal to work towards. If we can sit tight and keep going, but at a rate that is affordable, in a year or two we can look to rebuild.

Davies told the Gazette & Herald: “It’s a shame because we have enjoyed our time there and there are lots of decent people at the club.

“I just didn’t think it was right for me to carry on. We’ve got ambitions and didn’t want to take a backward step.

“But the club needs to do what is right for them. At the end of the day, it’s better to have a Malmesbury Vics than no Malmesbury Vics.’’