Threat to wage budget if Blues cannot reduce gap to top five

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Bury Town chairman Russell Ward says it is up to the Blues’ players to prove they can mount a serious challenge for the Ryman Premier play-offs — and stop the club’s wage budget from being cut.

With times tough for non-League football clubs everywhere — and winter about to set in, bringing with it the usual raft of postponements — Ward conceded Bury’s playing purse may have to be reduced further to preserve the future of the club.

After rumours of players not being paid their November wages surfaced in the last fortnight, Ward admitted they had received their money late — but had now been paid.

“I’ve spoken to the players and we’ve sorted out one or two issues, but they have been paid late,” said the chairman, who added ‘there were a number of reasons for that’.

With a 10-point gap between Bury and the top five, a busy festive schedule could thrust them into contention, or leave them with a mountain to climb in the new year.

Although the Blues’ results have picked up, Ward said the situation still needs to be being monitored closely.

“We need to look at it and decide where we are going to finish in the league this year, but the ideal situation is to leave things as they are. It’s a tough environment out there, but the most important thing is the survival of the football club.”

He added: “We can only put a squad together and the players have to do their bit.

“We’ve had a bit of a blip, but hopefully now the squad is more settled.

“The results have picked up, but there is a gap to the top five, so we have to decide if that’s going to be reachable.”

Since tendering his resignation in September — which was subsequently withdrawn — Ward has become more hands on at Bury again, including taking over control of the playing budget once more.

Top-scorer John Sands — to Canvey Island — and former Football League striker Richard Logan — to Needham Market via Mildenhall Town — have been the biggest earners to depart since, while Taylor Nathaniel — who was on dual registration terms from Bishop’s Stortford — has also moved on.

Midfielder Jack Higgs — who spent some time at Ram Meadow on dual registration terms with Histon — has also left this week to join Saffron Walden Town after failing to nail down a place in the Bury team.

Right-back Miles Smith has joined on dual registration terms with Histon, while attacking midfielder Danny Cunningham has also moved back to Ram Meadow.

Ward conceded the ground move to Moreton Hall being sent back to the drawing board had also been a blow and work would now need to be done on Ram Meadow — although St Edmundsbury Borough Council has pledged help.

He also said new investors and volunteers are always being sought, as well as a new commercial manager — a position that has not been filled since Mike Rayner left in the summer.

Anyone interested in any of those roles should contact Ward on 07712 108067.