Blue Square Bet
Published 3rd May 2012
.....possible relegation from Blue Square Bet North.
He says there will be no knee-jerk reaction to the "devastating" finish to the season.
Instead, Downes, the Knitters' board and manager Dean Thomas will sit down and discuss the club's future – but only after next Tuesday's County Cup final against Loughborough Dynamo at the King Power Stadium.
Even then, Hinckley may not know their fate until early June as a number of cash-strapped clubs in the Conference set-up, including Darlington and Histon, have to prove their financial security to the league in order to maintain their status.
If they fail to do so, United may yet get a reprieve and stay in the Conference North instead of dropping down into the Southern or Northern Premier League.
"It looks like there will be a few weeks of stressing before we know what will happen," said Downes.
"There are lots of things going on at lots of other clubs and I hear that several of them are in a bit of crisis.
"But I don't feel it is right to comment on their situation.
"I also don't think it is right to be commenting on matters regarding our team and management until after next week's County Cup final. We will sit down and have a meeting to see where we are going but the season is not over yet."
Downes admitted to being "absolutely devastated" with United's bottom-three finish this season.
But he added that the season had been far from a disaster and that the previously perilous situation off the pitch, which included large tax bills and transfer embargoes, had been stabilised.
"We have had fantastic runs in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy and we have a County Cup final to come," said Downes.
"Off the pitch, we have steadied the ship and have been making great strides.
"We have been putting in so much hard work. The new board has done some great things and the commercial manager has done well too.
"We don't have outstanding creditors."
While other clubs around the Conference try to get their house in order, Downes said he was happy that Hinckley had spent the last twelve months doing just that.
"We made the decision last year that the club must come before the team," said Downes.
"We reduced our budgets and asked Dean to keep us in the league.
"While the club is now in a much better position, the team has suffered. Off the pitch, we have achieved everything that we wanted to achieve."
United's players are understood not to have received any wages for the final two months of the season.
Downes said that issue was likely to be rectified within the next four weeks.
"We have got wages that need to be paid," he said. "That took us until the end of May last season to do that and I imagine it will be about the same timescale this season."