ANDY Welsh said Bury AFC will have to start again after seeing their inaugural season scrapped following the decision to null and void all ‘non-elite’ football due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The phoenix club played just seven league games in the North West Counties League – the last of which, a 3-2 win over Chadderton on Boxing Day, took them to the top of First Division North.

While Welsh says those memories can never be taken away, he admitted it has been frustrating that his side have not been able to complete a first season.

“I totally understand why the decision has been made and while it is frustrating, it was inevitable this was going to happen,” he said. “We had some great memories from this season and no-one can take away that first game against Steeton but now all those games count for nothing and we will basically have to start again.”

Last week it was announced that, after collating the views of non-league clubs across the country at levels 3-6 of the National League System, the FA’s alliance and leagues’ committee ruled that leagues at those levels should not resume.

Welsh said officials will meet this week to discuss the short and mid term future at the club.

“We all want to train together, play friendlies, play in festivals but we can’t commit to anything until we know what we are allowed to do and what guidelines we have to follow,” said the former Sunderland winger.

“It is no use making arrangements if we can’t fulfil them.”

Welsh said that when competitive football does resume, proper guidelines need to be put in place and warned non-league clubs could not survive another null and void season having seen the last two campaigns scrapped.

“There has to be a pathway to move forward, there has to be some financial assistance put in place so that we can continue to play even if fans aren’t allowed in,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of non-league teams would survive a third season that was cancelled.”

Welsh said he is in constant contact with his players and admitted he feels sorry for everyone who has worked so hard to get Bury AFC up and running.

“I am very proud of everyone who has done so much to make Bury AFC a possibility, there has been an awful lot of work that has gone on behind the scenes,” he added.

“On the pitch, we started from scratch, we had to gel as a group and we were just beginning to see our hard work pay off.

“But for one reason or another, our season never really got going before it got scrapped."

He added: “I talk to the players all the time and they are all on board and can’t wait to get going again whenever that may be.”