Bury players to decide whether to take part in a Festive Football Festival

Cemal Ramadan celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winning goal for Bury Town at Cogenhoe United at the start of...

Cemal Ramadan celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winning goal for Bury Town at Cogenhoe United at the start of this season. But when will the Isthmian League start up again? Picture: NEIL DADY - Credit: Archant

Bury Town players will be meeting tonight to discuss whether to take part in a planned 'Festive Football Festival' over the Christmas period.

Plans are afoot to ensure that Suffolk's leading  non-league clubs enjoy some festive action this Christmas.

AFC Sudbury, Felixstowe & Walton United, Leiston, Needham Market, Bury Town and Lowestoft Town have all been invited to take part in a six-strong competition, to be called the 'Festive Football Festival,' which would ensure a glut of local derbies.

However, it is the number of matches to be played in such a short space of time that concerns Bury Town, and in particular their players, especially as they have played so few league games to date (just four).

All six of Suffolk's leading non-league clubs have seen their respective league campaigns continue to be halted by the current Covid-19 restrictions, following a vote by the 224 members of the Trident League, embracing the Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, which saw a majority in favour of a continued 'pause' of the season.


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Bury Town chairman Russell Ward said this afternoon: "The players are getting together tonight to talk about their concerns for playing such a lot of games, six in all, in such a short space of time.

Russell Ward Bury Town chairman.

Russell Ward Bury Town chairman.


"These games will come on top of all the league matches that still have to be played, which might lead to a lot of fixture congestion.

"To a certain extent, therefore, we will be guided by the players when it comes to making the decision whether to take part in the festival.

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"We would obviously be able to make some revenue from the games, and bar sales, but that might be offset if we pick up two or three injuries because of playing so many games," added Ward.

Needham, Leiston and Felixstowe & Walton United do at least have FA Trophy fixtures to look forward to this month.

Needham will entertain Leiston in a rearranged first round tie at Bloomfields this Saturday, after Tuesday night's scheduled clash with postponed because of fog.

The winners will be away at National League North league leaders Worcester City next Tuesday evening, while Felixstowe & Walton, who celebrated a terrific 1-0 win at Leatherhead in midweek, will be away at Basford United in round two.

felixstowe trophy

Ollie Canfer's effort flies into the net to secure Felixstowe & Walton United a fine 1-0 win at Leatherhead in the FA Trophy on Tuesday evening. Picture: THOMAS BRADFORD - Credit: Thomas Bashford

However, with the exception of this FA Trophy action, all Suffolk's Step 3 and Step 4 clubs will almost certainly notbe restarting their league campaigns until early January, at the earliest.

The idea of the 'Festive Football Festival' has been put forward by Roger Peck, the commercial director at AFC Sudbury, and will be backed by sponsorship from Caribbean Blinds.

It is hoped that matches would be played across the Christmas break, including Boxing Day and Bank Holiday Monday.

"Clubs are in a really tough situation at the moment," explained Peck.

"They are not making any money and they are not playing any league football, while fans are getting used to not going to games.

"Footballers need to be playing competitive football, while clubs need their fans and the money.

"We are mindful of a couple of factors. Firstly, the complications of the furlough players, and the need to adhere to Covid-19 rules.

"But we are hopeful that this festival will get off the ground. It won't be an official competition, because that would take too long to ratify, but it will be a festival of football," added Peck.

The idea is to award three points for a win, with extra points to be award for every goal scored, and for a penalty shoot-out win at the end of each game.

AFC Sudbury, Felixstowe, Leiston and Needham Market are already believed to have agreed to take part, with Bury and Lowestoft possibly following suit.

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