MARK Bartley and Reading Town parted ways last weekend because of 'differing ambitions'.

Bartley, a former player at Town, guided the club to a seventh-place finish in the Hellenic Premier in his first year as manager and also lifted the Supplementary Cup.

But when the time came to talk about plans for the coming campaign, the ex-midfielder felt his desire to challenge for promotion was not going to be matched by the club, particularly in terms of the budget.

Bartley was told by the board that his budget would be reduced by around 30%, a key factor in his decision to resign from his role last Saturday morning.

While it has not taken the Dee Road Rangers player long to find a new job - he is now manager at Marlow, who will be in the Hellenic Premier next year - he admits it was disappointing to leave Reading after such a positive year.

"I thought that after what we did last year, there was a lot of good things to take forward and I wanted us to be challenging at the top of the table," he told the Chronicle. "I told the club that I wanted to do that and they didn't, the club couldn't match my ambitions.

"Not just financially, but I asked if they wanted to get promoted and they said no. I looked around and saw what was happening with the budget and knew we would've been in a very difficult position. I understand the club has financial constraints but I'm ambitious and want to better myself and whatever team I'm with.

"I love the club, everyone knows that, but I couldn't stay. Whether it's employment or football, you need to be a position where you are happy with the direction you are going."

Bartley added that he believed he had to leave the club to save his reputation, rather than suffer on the sidelines next year.

"I felt that I had to leave, that my position would be better if I left, rather than watching players leave, the budget cut and finishing half way down the table next season," he explained. "I needed to get out and keep my reputation in tact.

"It's all been very amicable, I've spoken to Roland [Ford, chairman] a lot over email but I wanted to do one thing and the club wanted to do another, it just wouldn't work."

Worryingly for Reading, Bartley looks set to take a number of players to Marlow with him, with Marcus Richardson already confirmed as his assistant.

Ford, though, says that there was nothing he could do to keep Bartley and that he has to put the club's stability above everything else.

"It was disappointing to see Mark leave but these things happen in football. Mark had ambitions to get the club promoted but it's no good doing that if you can't stay up and don't have the money too. The budgets in the league above are much bigger and we can't afford that," he said.

"We can't promise money that wasn't there. Last season the budget was bigger because we had sponsorship but so far we haven't got that.

"Things were looking good last season but we can't forget that there are teams without money in this league doing well and also teams with money, it's not all about money."

Forde also defended the decision to scrap the reserve team, saying: "The reserve team decision was made before Mark left and that might have played a part, but it costs �4,000 a year to run and we were struggling to get a side some weeks. That's a lot of money to spend on that when it could be used elsewhere."

"We are fine as a club but we have to be realistic and wortk within our means."