Hampton & Richmond Borough boss Mark Harper has warned club chairman Steve McPherson the club must show ambition if he is to stand a chance of retaining his star men.

The Beveree chief feared a mass walk out at Station Road this summer following relegation from the Blue Square South last week, despite a final day 2-0 triumph at Thurrock.

The Beavers had seemed safe when Billy Jeffreys and Charlie Moone had given Harper’s men the win they needed, but 90th minute goals for Havant & Waterlooville and Maidenhead United elsewhere condemned them to the drop.

Harper was set to sit down with McPherson within the next fortnight to hammer out the playing budget for life in the Ryman Premier League next term.

And the Hampton manager hoped he would get some backing as he bids to mastermind a swift return to the second tier of English non-League football.

“Despite relegation the players have said they enjoyed the season and what we have tried to do,” said Harper, left.

“The players I’ve spoken to have told me they are keen to stay but you never know what might happen over the summer.

“Until they have signed for me or for someone else you just don’t know.

“The guys who have played regularly at Blue Square level will want to stay at that level, so we’ll have to see.

“I’m definitely here next year and can take a lot positives from my first year as a manager.

“I want to hear some positives from the chairman about us trying to get promotion next year and getting some backing to do that.

“If not then I might have to re-think my position.”

Hampton finished on 42 points – the same as last season – but missed safety by two points as Havant and Maidenhead both won on the final day.

“It was close but, to be honest, the damage was done before the last day,” he added.

“It should never have got to that stage, but credit to the boys, they did exactly what I asked and got the result on the final day.”