Bury Town chairman Russell Ward: “Time to pull together”

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Bury Town chairman Russell Ward has urged everyone connected with the club to ‘pull together’ and has ‘rekindled enthusiasm’ to lead the Blues back towards the top of the Ryman League.

Shane Tolley, David Bridges and Ryan Semple have all left the Blues within the past month, the latter to Boston United last night, amid a ‘tight cash-flow situation’ at Ram Meadow.

Despite admitting in a statement published on the club’s official website last night that ‘these are hard times’ for Bury, Ward praised the attitude of the players for being unbeaten and wants to see more fans through the gate — starting with the Blues’ Ryman Premier encounter at home to Thamesmead Town on Saturday (3pm).

“It is no real secret that we are going through a tight cash-flow situation at the moment and as a result have asked the players for assistance during this time,” said Ward. “Whilst some have been accommodating, not all have, which is their prerogative.”

He added: “In some cases players have decided to move on to guarantee their money in the future and one chose to leave despite being told he wouldn’t need to take a cut.

“These are hard times for the board and management as well as the fans, but there is nothing to be gained by pointing the finger or blaming anyone; we are all in it together and the only way we will get through it is together: directors, management, players and fans.”

All contracted players have been paid their November wages in full, but some non-contract players are still waiting for some money — a ‘small amount’, Ward told the Free Press this morning.

Since the announcement of delayed and late wages, the Blues have recorded league victories over Wingate and Finchley, Harrow Borough, Canvey Island and AFC Hornchurch with a series of impressive displays.

They also gained an excellent point at high-flying Maidstone United on December 7 and, despite not being at their best, ground out a goalless draw with East Thurrock United on December 21.

Ward said: “It was early December when I had to approach the players regarding this and since then we have been unbeaten — that shows the type of player we have at the club.

“I realise that this will not continue indefinitely but I also know that anyone who pulls on the shirt will give 110 per cent for the club and whether we win, lose or draw, I cannot ask them for any more.

“I, along with the other directors and a new commercial team, are working hard to get the club back on track, but it will take time and I can only ask you all to be patient and like us, not throw the towel in.

“We need more support but I totally understand that fans need to be entertained, which we certainly haven’t done at times during the season and indeed parts of last season.

“The players have to accept some of the criticism, especially the FA Cup defeat, which along with some other poor performances were when we had a full squad to pick from.

“I haven’t a magic wand but what I have is a rekindled enthusiasm to get the club back challenging at the top of the league again.

“We need more dedicated people to help out, we need more people through the gate but most of all we all need to pull together.”

The chairman encouraged supporters to come through the gate on Saturday and to share any ideas they had to help with club finances.

He added: “I will be cooking the burgers again on Saturday and will have a smile on my face as I haven’t come this far over the last 19 years to let it all go up in smoke (no pun intended).

“If you have ideas that will help come along and share them but also tell me how you can help to put them into practice.

“Believe me, it was a lot worse than this 13 years ago but look what we achieved after we got through that.”

*Statement reproduced in part with permission of Bury Town.

** What do you think of the statement? Will you make an extra effort to go to Ram Meadow on Saturday? Email your thoughts to derek.bish@jpress.co.uk