Team Bury boss blasts Saffron Walden

TEAM Bury boss Dean Greygoose has blasted Saffron Walden Town's refusal to play them on the opening day of the Ridgeons League season as 'ridiculous' and 'pathetic'.

Stuart Watson

TEAM Bury boss Dean Greygoose has blasted Saffron Walden Town's refusal to play them on the opening day of the Ridgeons League season as 'ridiculous' and 'pathetic'.

Team Bury - set up to provide youngsters on the football scheme at West Suffolk College with a platform to move into the senior game - finished second in the Border League Premier Division last season and were promoted to Division One of the Ridgeons League.

The Suffolk side were due to open their season at Saffron Walden Town last Saturday, but the game was called off by the host club less than 24 hours before kick-off.

The Essex club had seen Team Bury's squad for the match on the internet last Wednesday and felt aggrieved that there were a number of players who have represented Bury Town, who play two steps higher in the Southern League Midlands Division One.

Ridgeons League members had voted by a large majority - 38 to three - at the latest AGM that no further reserve teams should be accepted into the league, but were reassured that Team Bury would be entirely separate to Bury Town, much like CRC and Cambridge United.

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Club chairman John Butchart contacted league secretary Nigel Spurling on the Thursday to find out the league's official stance on this and, after failing to get a reply, decided to take it upon themselves to postpone the fixture.

A league representative eventually got back to Saffron Walden on the Friday evening informing them that Team Bury were within their rights to play any player that was not contracted to Bury Town and that if they failed to fulfil the fixture they would be fined �500.

At that stage the hosts considering playing the fixture, but felt that it was too late in the day to undertake all the necessary work at the ground and stuck by their original decision.

“Team Bury have done nothing wrong, but as far as I'm concerned we asked the league some straight forward questions and got no straight forward answers until it was too late,” said Butchart.

“I spoke to other clubs in the league to gauge their opinion, the likes of Godmanchester and Cornard, and they supported us.”

However, Team Bury boss Dean Greygoose, who, jointly manages alongside West Suffolk College's Neil Reader, says that Saffron Walden have overreacted.

He said: “I don't know what the fuss is all about. They must have got hold of a wrong team sheet or something because we only had two players over the age of 20 lined up to play. There were four 16-year-olds in the squad and, apart from Andrew Woods, there was very limited Bury Town experience.

“It makes a mockery of football. Half the teams whinging about us are full of ex-West Suffolk College players so I find it all a bit hypocritical. I understand why people are worried, but trust me I wouldn't want Bury Town players coming in at this level and upsetting the apple cart.

“It's ridiculous and pathetic - I've never known anything like it in my 28 years of adult football.”

Buchart said: “I think we all need to sit around a table and discuss this issue. I didn't realise this was such a sensitive subject, but I'm sure it will get resolved sensibly.”

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