Football continues to surprise me.

Just when you think that you have seen everything, the resignation of Tommy Widdrington (TW) after a 1-0 victory at Chorley raised the amazement and awe bar to completely new levels.

After our win, a clearly emotional TW took me to one side and said that he needed to look after himself and had accepted the position as Aldershot manager. He explained that he had told the players, who seemed as shocked as I was, in the dressing room and said that he would pay the compensation required personally and wished me all the best for the season.

Reading between the lines and making a purely educated guess, it seems that an approach had been made by Aldershot FC to TW earlier in the season and maybe they had agreed between them to make the move after the conclusion of the season.

They may have approached us using the correct channels, but we will now never know.  Tommy would still have been under contract at that point (his contract expires at the end of July 2024) so from our perspective nothing legally would have changed, but Shahid Azeem, the Aldershot Town chairman, was clearly worried that if Aldershot lost to Yeovil today then relegation was on the cards. 

It seems clear that Aldershot know they need to win today’s game at any cost.

The legal position is an interesting one. Firstly, compensation is due for the lack of notice and breach of contract by TW. The more complicated issue is whether Aldershot induced TW to breach his contract with King’s Lynn Town FC.

Had these events played out in the Football League, disciplinary action would likely be taken against Aldershot for a 'tapping up offence'. 

Some readers may remember when Norwich City faced such charges after recruiting Paul Lambert from Colchester. It seems that the National League do not have a similar rule to the Football League – however, the civil law still exposes any party which induces another to breach a contract to potential liability. We shall see, and perhaps the National League might take a look at their rules again. Though presumably the Aldershot chairman, on the board of the National League, won’t vote for a rule change!

There is, though, a charge that the National League can bring which is that these actions have brought the game into disrepute; so either the National League will feel that Mr Azeem’s actions are proper and correct and will do nothing or they will decide that events like this do not reflect well on board members (who should surely be held to a higher account than a regular club director) and will take action by charging Mr Azeem.  Time will tell.

We have served both TW and Aldershot with legal letters and are awaiting their response. In particular, we will see if TW stands behind his promise to pay the compensation.  

I understand that players and managers need to better themselves and we have never been a club to stand in their way, as several of our ex-players will attest. Whilst Aldershot may be panicking about potential relegation, knowing that defeat today could see the trap door opening wider, they must still behave in the correct manner and need to be held to account.

Not even to attempt to negotiate with ourselves and at least try and do the right thing shows how little empathy and understanding Aldershot’s chairman has with clubs that the board supposedly represents and the fact that the National League have not outlawed this practice, as the Premier League and Football League have done, is really very poor form indeed.

I am delighted that Mark Hughes accepted the role as our new interim manager and I am sure that he will do an excellent job as I know he is held in high regards by our players and myself.

Eastern Daily Press: Mark Hughes, left, has been named interim managerMark Hughes, left, has been named interim manager (Image: Ian Burt)

Today we meet Kettering at The Walks and I do hope that those living in Norfolk who would like a bank holiday football fix come down and support the team in our derby.  I would also like to thank Paul Jones and Hugo Langton for assisting Mark at this important stage of the season.

It may take a very public legal battle to force the National League to change their regulations, but if non league football could police itself properly and in the same manner that league football regulates itself, then this entire unsavoury episode would never have seen the light of day.