BURY today defended their decision to clear bad boy John Paskin out of Gigg Lane before the end of the season.

The promoted Shakers are seething at having their name dragged through the mud by press reports over the so-called Paskin controversy - just when the focus of attention should be on their first taste of success for eleven years.

They today broke off from organising an open top tour of Bury and civic reception on Sunday to explain their decision to give the much-travelled 34-year-old striker a free transfer just days after he figured as substitute in the penultimate game of the season at Exeter.

A culmination of incidents led to Paskin being shown the door early the last straw being when he refused to pay a pound into a training kitty which led to a row with coaching staff. Chairman Terry Robinson explained: "In training sessions the players put a pound into the kitty and in the case of five-a-side matches the winners take all. It's all part of the team building processbut on this occasion John Paskin refused to pay.

"Unfortunately Paskin has been injured for much of the season and for the past two to three months he has been asking Stan Ternent and me to release him from his contract and pay him up to the end of July.

"He wanted to return to South Africa and go on to play in Hong Kong but we refused because he was part of our plans in the push for promotion.

"His last request came in the week before our penultimate match at Exeter in which he appeared as a sub.

"Again his request was refused but later, in view of his overall attitude, we felt it was in the best interests of Bury Football Club to ask him to stay away. "He was given a free transfer and is being paid on a weekly basis under the terms of his contract until the end of July."

Paskin is one of seven players released by the Shakers. The others are Ryan Cross, Mark Sertori, Trevor Matthewson, Paul Winter, Paul Taylor and Geoff Dale.

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