Bury to report Stow over Ottley-Gooch approach

CONTROVERSY: Leon Ottley-Gooch
CONTROVERSY: Leon Ottley-Gooch

Bury Town have revealed their intention to formally report Stowmarket Town for the way a move for their star player Leon Ottley-Gooch has been handled.

The Blues believe an illegal approach was made for the former Leiston man, with Stow having submitted a seven-day notice of approach after already taking Luke Read along the A14 earlier in the month.

FA registration rules for non-contract players state that a club cannot go back to the same club for another player for 28 days after an approach.

The Free Press revealed last week how a seven-day approach had been put in by Stowmarket for Ottley-Gooch, with manager Rick Andrews saying that the club was asked to submit another one after it expired, as it turned out the player was also registered with fellow Thurlow Nunn League team, and Bury feeder side, Team Bury.

But Bury’s press officer Chris Ward said: “Clubs cannot put in two seven-days to the same club in a 28-day period.

“They took Luke Read from us. It is certainly not us digging our heels in. That rule is in place for a reason.

“We have informed Suffolk FA and this is now in their hands.”

Suffolk FA said yesterday they had yet to receive a formal written complaint regarding the issue, while Andrews said he did not wish to comment on the situation.

Defender or midfielder Ottley-Gooch, signed permanently from Leiston over the summer as Bury’s much-heralded key arrival, following a loan spell from January, is said to have made himself unavailable to play again for the Blues.

Manager Chenery is filled with frustration over the situation with lower-league Stowmarket, who took Bury’s top goalscorer last season — Josh Mayhew — on much-improved terms over the summer before coming in for Read and Ottley-Gooch.

“The way I look at it, it’s very disappointing,” he said. “As a manager I worked very hard to put a good squad together over the summer.

“I guess that it is a feather in my cap that other people want to come in and take them.

“There are other elements that come into it beyond my control, namely money.

“As a football club we will not spend above our means. But good luck to Stowmarket.

“As a player, why would you want to play at a lower level? At the moment, people are going to the highest bidder which is a problem for Suffolk football.

“I wish both well but this is now out of our hands.”

Andrews, who believes he is able to speak to Ottley-Gooch a week on Monday, insisted he should not feel guilty for taking the best players from the area for his club.

“It is no different to Bury years ago when they were taking some quality players. All that has happened is we are now in the same pond,” he said, following significantly increased investment at Greens Meadow over the summer in preparation for a promotion assault.

“I am no different to Ben Chenery or anyone else, we don’t want to lose our best players.

“It is disappointing for us as we hoped to have the boy signed for tonight (Tuesday) with a view of being in the squad, but found out he is co-signed with Team Bury and they refused to waiver that seven-day, which is strange as that boy has not played any football (for them) at all. We will just have to be patient.”

He added: “It is not so disappointing for me, it is disappointing for the player who wants to play football.”

Andrews also pointed to the fact that his club had de-registered young right-back Ryan Yallop, signed from Bury over the summer, to allow him to make a surprise return to play for Bury in Tuesday night’s cup game, having lost his place at Stow.

Asked if he was resigned to losing Ottley-Gooch, Chenery said: “Yes. I am not wet behind the ears. He will be a Stowmarket player, that is for sure.

“I am more concerned now with the 16 or 17 players here that want to play for Bury Town and the people that are proud to put on that blue shirt.”