Bury Town cash-flow problems: Chairman reveals reasons behind off-the-field situation

CUP EXIT: Shane Tolley is floored during Bury Town's FA Cup exit to Thurrock in September
CUP EXIT: Shane Tolley is floored during Bury Town's FA Cup exit to Thurrock in September

There have been four contributing factors towards Bury Town’s cash-flow problems, according to chairman Russell Ward.

The Blues’ chief highlighted Bury’s wage bill, their early exit from the FA Cup, diminishing crowds and a five-figure sum put into the proposed new ground — which stalled in September after tenders came in £1 million over budget — as reasons for the recent cash-flow situation.

“The main thing was we were paying out more in wages than the club could afford,” said Ward, who has seen Shane Tolley, David Bridges and Ryan Semple leave Ram Meadow over the past month, which has eased the situation with wages. “We had some big signings in the summer and, to be fair, we should really have tightened our belts over the summer because crowds were down, certainly by a number from last year.”

Some other players have taken pay cuts to help ease the situation further and Ward admitted he foresaw what was coming.

“With some bigger signings coming in, perhaps in hindsight we should have gone for some lesser players, but it’s what happened,” he said. “I had seen it coming for a while and the idea was to get through as best as we could, but before we got right into a serious problem, we had to do something about it.

“Obviously it was December when I approached the players and explained the situation to them that there would have to be cuts or players going.

“As it happened, three players have chosen to leave, which has sorted the problem out to a certain extent.”

Ward praised the Blues’ players for how they have dealt with the situation on the pitch during December, but admitted one of their poorest displays of the campaign — the 2-0 defeat to Thurrock in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup — contributed to the off-the-field issues.

“The money you can win in the FA Cup is life changing if you can get through to a decent round,” he said. “The majority of clubs speculate to accumulate, so you tend to load up your squad at the start of the season with a view to trying to get through a few rounds of the FA Cup and get some money in.

“It back-fired on us totally because we went out in the first round.”

Asked if there were any other contributing factors to Bury’s financial difficulties, Ward said: “Coupled with the crowds being down, we’ve had to put a five-figure sum into the new ground project, which has obviously gone in and disappeared into the system to fund part of it — add all those together and it’s caused us a bit of a headache.”

* Keep up-to-date with the very latest news from the Blues via our dedicated online Bury Town section at www.buryfreepress.co.uk/sport/football/bury-town and in Friday’s paper.