BASHLEY face an uncertain future after chairman Richard Millbery stood down and neighbours New Milton Town called off their potential alliance.

The Southern League outfit today announced that their proposed move to Fawcett’s Field would not go ahead – with news of Millbery’s departure also made public.

New Milton chairman John Breaker took the decision to postpone negotiations with Bash and said Linnets would look to keep their place in the Wessex League for at least another season.

Both clubs, however, maintain that a deal could still be struck next year but have remained tight-lipped on the reasons behind the delay.

The New Forest rivals had been discussing a move that would have seen a newly-named club – Bashley & New Milton – line up in the Southern League Premier Division at Fawcett’s Field, subject to ratification from the Football Association.

Both outfits had distanced themselves from the term ‘merger’ with FA rules stating that any combined entity should take the place of the lowest ranked club.

But the move has, for now, fallen through, with Bash seeking a new man to head their executive committee.

Linnets chief Breaker told the Daily Echo: “Certain things we wanted in place have not come through, which is disappointing, so I had to make the right decision for us. It is not viable for New Milton Town at the moment.

“We’re not blaming anyone and I have an agreement with Richard (Millbery) that we will keep the reasons private.

“We did hold extensive talks and we may talk again next season but I’m not going to pin my hopes on that. We have to concentrate on getting some sort of football going at New Milton next season and will be fielding a team in the Wessex League.”

Meanwhile, Millbery, who will remain on Bash’s committee, said the clubs had “run out of time” to join forces before confirming he would vacate the helm this summer.

Millbery added: “There are too many deadlines coming up and, if we were going to put our notice into the Village Hall (to leave their current ground), we really needed to do it this week.

“The door is still open and I still think there is a reasonable chance that it will happen in the future because it is the most sensible way forward.”

Asked whether his step back would have a negative effect on Bashley’s finances, Millbery added: “We are reasonably certain we have a commercial person in place and I would hope that won’t happen. We are taking positive steps to make sure it doesn’t.

“I have done my tenure, as it were, and we are looking for a new chairman. I will be staying on the committee but I need a break and think I have done my bit for now.”