Heartbroken Kelly Derham has revealed she is "devastated" to be leaving her job as Crawley Town's operations director.

She is also upset after staff were told of the club's decision to terminate her contract due to "financial challenges" before she learned of the news.

"I am devastated to be leaving my role as Operations Director at the club," said Derham in a statement.

"It was really disappointing that the staff were told of the decision before I was told myself, in an email from Nuhkan Ruzgar, one of the directors, 45 minutes later, citing ‘financial difficulties.’

"I cannot go into any more detail at this stage as I am in discussions with my lawyer but I would like to thank everyone who has helped me and the club over the last nine years.

"The backroom office team who worked with me have been incredibly loyal, supportive and hardworking, often in very trying circumstances, and I will miss working with them.

"Many managers and players have come and gone during the last nine years but I have enjoyed working with them all and I wish them all the best for the future.

"We have an incredibly loyal group of sponsors and supporters who love the club and I regard many of them as friends. It will be very strange not to be at the game on Saturday, but I wish the office staff, team management, sponsors and players all the best for the future."

https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/18091672.crawley-town-terminate-contract-operations-director-kelly-derham/

Former Reds defender Mark Connolly has blasted the decision.

Posting on Twitter, the former Crawley centre-half wrote: "Cannot believe the news about Kelly being sacked by Crawley Town!

"Football can be ruthless, players come and go, but someone like Kelly Derham to that football club cannot be replaced, whoever has made this decision has made a big mistake!"

He added in a second tweet: "I’ve known Kelly over 2 spells at the club, the first spell it was a lot more straight forward but the second spell I seen how tough things were at times at the club but she always stayed strong! The work she’s done is nothing short of incredible! Thank you for everything Kel."

Former Crawley Town owner Paul John Hayward has also used social media to attack the decision by the club to get rid of Derham after almost a decade at the Reds.

He branded the decision "unacceptable".