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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bury Town

27-10-2009: Bury Town 1 Cambridge City 2
(Red Insure Cup 1st Round)

Bury Town

In recent years both Bury Town and Cambridge City have been forced to switch leagues, although for entirely different reasons.

Town’s switch from the Isthmian League (Division One North), in the summer of 2008, to the Southern League (Division One Midlands), came about as the result of the reorganisation of the National League system, the seven levels of English football below the Football League. A number of clubs were shunted from one league to another, in an attempt to align clubs and leagues geographically and so cut down on travel costs, although for Bury Town this resulted in a large increase in mileage covered, from 1,408 miles in 2007-08 to around 2,024 in the 2008-09 campaign.

A few years back the outlook was looking bright for the Cambridge City. Having joined the newly formed Conference South for the 2004-05 season, they not only enjoyed a decent FA Cup run (reaching the second round proper where they succumbed to the MK Dons) but reached the play-offs too, losing to Eastbourne Borough over two legs (first leg coverage here). But after their best season for over thirty years it all started to go pear shaped.

Financial problems forced the club to sell their Milton Road ground and in 2006 the board announced that an agreement had been reached to amalgamate with cross-town rivals Cambridge United who had just been relegated out of the Football League. In stepped the Cambridge City Supporters' Trust, and after extensive campaigning they were able to force the existing directors to resign and replace them with their own members.

Next followed a legal dispute, eventually settled in the High Court, over the sale of Milton Road that the previous board had off-loaded or a price well below its market value. City can now stay at the ground until 2010 (at the very least) and will receive 50% of all profits arising from its future development. Good news though was to be followed by bad.

At the end of the 2007-08 season the Lilywhites were demoted from the Conference South to the Southern League Premier after Milton Road failed to meet the FA's Ground Grading requirements (Category B at this level), namely no terracing behind either goal and inadequate turnstile facilities. They appealed but the FA were having none of it and so in the summer of 2008 twenty-two consecutive seasons in non-league football’s second tier came to an end.

So now both clubs are in the Southern League (albeit a division apart), which found a new sponsor in the summer in the form of drinks company Zamaretto. Actually it found two sponsors, the League Cup being sponsored separately by Red Insure, and it is for the latter that the two sides were in competition tonight.

Bury have a good pedigree of late in cup competitions and as recently as Saturday almost made it to the first round proper of the FA Cup for the second year in succession. Despite going ahead at Oxford City they suffered the agony of conceding two late goals and went out (but not without a fight) 2-1. A recent surfeit of cup games (they’ve also competed in the FA Trophy and Suffolk Premier Cup in recent weeks) has meant that they have not played a league game for over five weeks.

A proper report on tonight’s proceedings can be found here.

posted by chevblue at 10:41 pm






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