END OF AN ERA: Richard Wilkins, left, has departed Bury Town and could be replaced by assistant Ben Chenery, right
END OF AN ERA: Richard Wilkins, left, has departed Bury Town and could be replaced by assistant Ben Chenery, right
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Richard Wilkins declared he ‘couldn’t have done any more’ after his 14-year stint as 
manager of Bury Town came to an end this week.

The former Colchester United captain — who took the reins at Ram Meadow after ending his professional career in 2000 — left the Blues by mutual consent after a series of meetings with chairman Russell Ward.

Wilkins conceded the role had become ‘untenable’ due to financial restraints, but left with his head held high after guiding Bury to five trophies, two promotions and the FA Cup first round during his time in charge.

“I couldn’t have done any more than I’ve done,” he said. “Someone needs to go in with a different slant on it.”

Russell Ward — who is looking for a manager for the first time in his 13-year tenure as chairman — admitted money was still tight and that Bury were looking to appoint a player-coach rather than assistant with the new boss, while the playing budget would be limited.

In a tough season off the field for the Blues — which saw overspending lead to a shortage of money in the winter — Wilkins was among those to take a pay cut, but he and others are still owed some November wages, confirmed Ward.

The chairman has pledged to meet his deadline of getting that all paid by the end of May and still needs to meet director of football Trevor Collins to discuss his future after Friday’s meeting had to be postponed.

Reflecting on his relationship with Wilkins, Ward said: “In 14 years of working together we’ve had two or three disagreements, but that’s a lot less than most married couples.

“I do feel it’s the right time for both parties and will freshen the club up.”

Wilkins, who is keen for Bury Town’s link with West Suffolk College to remain in place, added: “I can go with my head held high. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but there have been some fantastic times as well.”

Legend’s path to success

* Ben Chenery has been placed in temporary charge of Bury Town and told the Free Press he would like to be considered for the role on a permanent basis having spent the last two years as Wilkins’ assistant manager.

“Wilks has done a fantastic job in taking the club from a position of weakness 14 years ago and really grown into a healthy position today,” said the former Chelmsford City number two, who will be tasked with trying to retain players without knowing what next season holds. “The trophies he’s won and the players he’s produced are fantastic — I can’t speak highly enough for what he’s done. I’d like to be considered for the job, but I’ve not spoken to the board about it in great depth at the moment.”

Anyone who would like to apply for the job of manager should send a CV to russellward@ by June 15.

Ward will review the applicants on June 16 and expects to have made a decision by the end of that week.