Marcus Bignot believes the ‘Football League dream’ is leading to a number of non-league clubs being ‘mismanaged financially’.

Chester aren’t alone in having a well-documented financial plight of late, with a host of National League clubs overreaching and ultimately paying the price.

Hartlepool United are in danger of liquidation before the end of the season, Dagenham and Redbridge – who beat Chester 3-2 at the weekend – must find up to £300,000 to stay afloat, Torquay United have major financial problems and even league leaders Macclesfield Town struggled to pay their players at the start of February.

While Chester’s problems regard a lack of cash flow following a summer of overspend which saw former manager Jon McCarthy handed a vastly increased playing budget, other clubs have also ‘fallen short’ in Bignot’s eyes of what is the responsible way to run a club.

“What you are seeing in this division, with the play-offs opening up and a couple more places up for grabs, you’re only 46 games away from the Football League,” he said.

“It’s clearly been shown that a lot of clubs to try and achieve that have gone above and beyond and it’s clearly been mismanagement. There’s no two ways about it.

“I know players and managers get criticised but upstairs has now got to be right. Ultimately players don’t sign their contracts, they say what they want but it’s the clubs who sign off on it and it is mismanagement at this level.

“They are chasing the Football League dream. You can be that near, yet so far because it’s a ruthless league. You’ve just mentioned Hartlepool, Dagenham, Torquay, all ex-league clubs, they’ve fallen short and chased it with money, money, money, and you can’t do that in any business.

“Football is probably the most ludicrous business out there. I would love a situation where everyone’s budgets are declared at the start of the season, an open book where you know if they only get crowds of X, Y, Z, you know there has to be common sense based on crowds.

“If you look at our situation, we were coming off the back of a terrible period so to lift crowds up we’ve overspent to try and get crowds back. But we’ve fallen foul of chasing that.

“The bottom line is recruitment is key. You have a conservative reserve budget and you work within that and don’t overspend or what will happen the season after?

“Clubs chase it right here, right now, but that’s how you don’t build a football club. You’ve got to build an infrastructure because you must be prepared for when you do go up.”

Bignot believes Chester’s current off-field problems stemmed right back to 2013 when the club secured a triumphant return to the National League after three successive promotions under Neil Young, yet while the team were performing superbly on the pitch, the infrastructure was still ‘a year too early’ to be going up.

“I spoke to the former chairman at Chester and he said when the club was promoted to the National League, it was a year too early in terms of the infrastructure,” he added.

“However, the team had galvanised the club and you had a jack-knife situation where one part of the business is doing well but the other part isn’t catching up.

“At any successful club it needs to be right off the pitch as well as one the pitch and that will run parallel towards that. If you’re quite doing right commercially it has a knock-on effect on the football and vice-versa, but you budget and you manage accordingly with that.

“I’m not bad at knowing all that because I had to do that at Solihull and I enjoy that side of the business. But there’s too many football clubs who clearly haven’t got it right.”

Following their win over the Blues, which saw Dagenham score twice in the final five minutes to turn the game on it's head, manager John Still felt his side were full value for their three points, telling the Barking and Dagenham Post: "They (Chester) started defending very deep which was making it difficult, but once we scored I thought we would win. I just had a feeling about it.

"The way we've been lately, we've never stopped, it's been terrific to be fair. With the problems we've had, they've responded unbelievably."