Swindon Town: Simon Ferry leaves as playing budget is halved

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MacDonald realistic on Swindon budget

Midfielder Simon Ferry heads a list of five players released by Swindon Town.

Tommy Miller, Joe Devera, Raffaele De Vita and Chris Smith will join the 25-year-old Scot out of the County Ground this summer.

Leigh Bedwell, Aden Flint, Miles Storey and Nathan Thompson have been retained, while captain Alan McCormack remains in talks over a new deal.

The squad announcements followed news that the club are set to halve their playing budget next season.

The decision came after Swindon's defeat on penalties by Brentford in the League One play-off semi-finals.

BBC Wiltshire understands the club had a wage bill of around £4.5m this term, and will be reducing it to just over £2m.

Speaking to BBC Points West, MacDonald said: "I want to thank all the players for their contribution this season.

"The wage bill that was used this season was not sustainable so we have to reduce it. It's just a shame some good footballers have had to be released."

Ferry was brought to Swindon from Celtic in 2010 after a successful loan spell and made a total of 175 appearances, scoring nine goals.

Fellow midfielder Miller, 34, leaves after just one season with Town, while De Vita and Devera have both been with the club for two years.

Right-back Smith beat 5,000 applicants in a competition run by the club to win a one-year professional deal, but made just one appearance as a substitute for the first team.

Swindon's financial situation has been under scrutiny throughout the season.

Last October, they were put under a month-long transfer embargo for overspending on wages and fees, and former manager Paolo Di Canio was told he would not be given any extra funds during the January transfer window.

It was then revealed owner Andrew Black had put Town up for sale as he was no longer willing to put money into the club, and advisors were brought in to restructure their finances.

Di Canio quit his position in February because of off-field issues and three days later a consortium, led by now chairman Jed McCrory, completed a takeover of the club.

The Football League placed another transfer embargo on Swindon during the takeover in February, but it was lifted a month later after historical debt was paid off.

Former footballer Lee Power has since come in as a new investor to match McCrory's level of investment.

In a statement, McCrory the club were running at a "considerable loss each month" and the five players were released to help with finances.

But he went on to state: "Funds and plans are in place to see the club through this period, as we work tirelessly towards a sustainable future across all areas of the business."