Radcliffe FC has cancelled its juniors matches tomorrow, Saturday, due to a protest organised by Bury FC fans.

Club chairman Paul Hilton confirmed all games scheduled for the day have been called off.

The decision was taken in response to a protest by some Bury FC fans who plan to march to Redbank Playing Fields in demonstration against a potential merger of Bury AFC and Bury FC.

Redbank Playing Fields is the home of Radcliffe Juniors FC and close to Neuven Stadium, also known as Stainton Park, which is shared by both Radcliffe FC and Bury AFC

The group, called Vote No Merger, will march from the Bridge Tavern to Redbank Playing Fields on Saturday from 11am.

On a statement on the club’s website, the chairman said he was “appalled” at Vote No Merger’s decision to protest at the field.

He said: “Since the devastating news to local football in 2019, Radcliffe FC have been nothing but a friend and supportive neighbour to our fellow townsfolk in Bury.

“I cannot even imagine what it could be like to have your Club, team, its history and so many memories ripped from you in such terrible circumstances.

“We provided the space for the fans of Bury FC to gather for their legends match and we facilitated a commercial arrangement for Bury AFC to use our Neuven Stadium for home matches.

“All this is in the name of football friendship and local solidarity.

“Radcliffe FC are proud to have our own identity and the drive and determination to plot our own path in football - that is who we are and we have no desire to interfere nor be involved in any conflict amongst our fellow football fans.

“The future of football in Bury is where it should be, in the hands of its supporters and I applaud the people involved in working hard to return football and Gigg Lane to the town of Bury - I know only too well how much hard work it is!

“Neither I nor Radcliffe FC have any part to play in the decisions ahead and we certainly have no desire to be drawn into any conflict or discussion on the subject but unfortunately the concerning information I have received forces me to do so.

“I support the right to protest, it is a cornerstone of our democracy and basic right for the people of this country and I have no issue with the people standing up for what they think is right, however when those actions become a threat to the safety and distress of our children I am compelled to speak out and act.

“I am appalled at the decision to choose to march on Redbank Playing Fields - the home of Radcliffe Juniors, worse so on a Saturday morning when any football fan will know that children will be enjoying their sport in a safe a friendly environment and I am equally disappointed that no members of Bury football groups have taken any serious consideration into the effect this could have on our local children - Radcliffe FC's local children - who are absolutely innocent of anything connected to whatever quarrels Bury FCs fans may have.

“These actions, decisions and non-communication show a complete lack of respect and understanding of local football and a total disregard for the safeguarding of young Radcliffe Juniors players and their families by all parties in the Bury football scene.

“We therefore have no alternative but to cancel all games on Redbank Playing Fields on Saturday morning.

"Be in no doubt that this deprives over 280 local children and their families from enjoying sport this weekend.

“Radcliffe FC and Radcliffe Juniors have taken no sides in this debate and we will not, but if this is the future of the football environment in Bury then we are glad to be Radcliffe.”

Bury FC Supporters Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’s Shaker’s Community Society Ltd announced proposals to merge in May in an effort to bring elite men’s football back to the town.

The council has pledged £450,000 of funding to Bury FC if members vote in favour of the proposed merger.

Bury FC supporters have made extensive efforts to restore the club’s ground, Gigg Lane, after it was bought back from administration earlier this year.

Vote No Merger has gained a sizable following on social media with more than 200 fans joining its private Facebook group since its creation in August.

David Clarke, 26, a group admin and Gigg Lane volunteer says fans are concerned that no date has been set for the vote.

READ > 'We've had no voice': Bury FC fans to stage protest against merger proposals