Chairman Bruce Elliott has admitted he was left stunned after Jimmy Dack had a last-minute change of heart and turned down the vacant Sutton United manager's job.
Dack looked set to take the Gander Green Lane post after overseeing a successful five-game spell as caretaker.
But Elliott revealed things did not go to plan.
He said: "It has taken everybody by surprise.
"Everybody expected it to be a formality and we wanted him to be our manager.
"We thought he was the right man for the job.
"We had discussions with him at the end of the season and we offered him the job with the budget he asked for.
"But then he came back and asked for more money."
Despite his frustration, Elliott was quick to rubbish any talk of a bust-up.
He added: "We have talked things through and we remain the best of friends.
"If Jimmy has decided that he cannot do himself or the club justice with that budget then he is right not to take the job.
"But we thank him for everything he did while he was here."
The Sutton chairman must now set the recruitment process in motion again.
And, with three men on a short-list, he aims to make an appointment quickly.
He added: "As one door closes, another opens and we just have to make sure this one doesn't slam shut in our face.
"This is a difficult time for the club but life goes on.
"We cannot afford to go through managers at this rate.
"I hope to make a decision this week and I will be doing my very, very best to get the right person in."
Despite several attempts to contact Dack, he was unavailable for comment.