rebuilding process begins at the blues

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Bury Town are beginning the process of rebuilding the club after chairman Russell Ward opened up about their ‘tight cash flow situation’ this week.

As exclusively revealed in the Free Press over the past month, some players remain without part of their wages for November — which has led to senior players Shane Tolley, David Bridges and Ryan Semple leaving Ram Meadow.

Some other members of the Blues’ squad — who play at home to Thamesmead Town in the Ryman League Premier Division tomorrow (3pm) and away to Billericay Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) — have taken a pay cut, while positive steps have been made to improve the club’s off-the-field situation with the creation of a new commercial team.

Local businessman Clive Boughton — who will be joined in the commercial team by Bounce magazine’s advertising editor Dan Bush and former Lincoln City employee Matt Duckworth — said: “There’s a real determination to make this club great again and it’s a good time for local businesses to get involved, ready for the up.”

Ward insisted there was no short-term pressure on Boughton, Bush and Duckworth to bring money in and it was much more important to get the long-term commercial ambitions implemented correctly after finally being able to replace previous commercial director Mike Rayner, who stepped down in the summer.

The chairman, who plans to restructure the club behind the scenes before the start of next season, said: “We are still an ambitious club — nothing has changed in that sense — and although we’re on the backfoot financially, we’re still going to turn around and get back to where we want to be.”

The Blues’ immediate need is to get more people through the turnstiles and they have urged fans to show their support for Bury by turning out for tomorrow’s tussle with Thamesmead, with directors on hand to listen to ideas and offer reassurances about the future of the club.

Ward 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 chairman, who hopes no other players will leave, added that although some money was owed to players for November, all members of the current squad had received their December wages in full.

Money for December still needs to be paid to players that have left, but Ward said the only other money owed by the club was to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Pay As Your Earn (PAYE) tax, which is in the club’s bank account ready to pay them.

“While things haven’t gone right this year, it’s the first year in the past 12 that the club have had an issue,” added Ward, who says he has ‘rekindled enthusiasm’ to lead Bury forward. “The club will learn lessons from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

A fans’ forum will be hosted on January 27 (7pm) to discuss the Blues’ future.

n Ryan Semple wished Bury well after leaving this week, but said the chance to move to former club Boston United was ‘too good to turn down’.

“I’m really sad to leave a group of lads and management I got on really well with,” he said. “It’s a tight-knit squad — that has been proved even more with the results while these issues have been going on.”

n Marcus Garnham has won the Ryman Premier's Golden Gloves award for December after keeping four clean sheets in seven appearances.

n For sponsorship opportunities at Bury Town, call Dan Bush on 07753 371534.

n IN DEPTH: Read everything that’s been happening at the Blues this week in our dedicated Bury Town section at www.buryfree