We did all we could to keep Mark Jones, says Boston United boss
BOSTON United boss Graham Drury was philosophical about Mark Jones' departure as he insisted there is no rift with the striker's new club Gainsborough Trinity.
The Pilgrims lost the in-form marksman to their county rivals last week after Jones accepted a lucrative 18-month deal to join the Blues.
Drury says United did everything they could to keep the 14-goal marksman, including offering the player an improved contract, but admitted Trinity's offer was too good for Jones to turn down.
"It was a deal Mark felt he had to take and I know it was a difficult decision for him," said Drury.
"He was at training on Thursday and indicated his desire to stay at Boston. But in the end it was an offer he couldn't refuse.
"They doubled his wages and as the lad isn't working (outside of football) at the moment we have to fully support his decision.
"We offered him a bit more to what he was on. We did our best, but we can't afford to pay players through the summer and Mark is going to get that at Gainsborough."
Trinity chairman Peter Swann and manager Steve Housham have rejected Drury's claim that the Blues made Jones an "unbelievable offer".
But the Pilgrims boss insists there is no bad blood between the clubs ahead of the county derby between the pair at the Northolme on Saturday, February 2.
"If they can afford to do that then all credit to them. There are no hard feelings between me and Gainsborough. I think that has been blown out the water," added Drury.
"I think Gainsborough is a good football club and I've got a lot of time for the manager Steve Housham, so there is certainly no bad feeling between me and the Gainsborough people.
"I've known Peter Swann for quite a while too and if he values a player at that amount and can afford to give him it then fair play."
The United chief also insists he retains a strong bond with Jones, who was given his chance at Blue Square Bet North level by Drury at Corby Town.
"I know Mark found it very difficult to leave the fans, the players and myself because I was the one who gave him the opportunity at this level," said Drury, who plucked Jones from United Counties League outfit Deeping Rangers.
"Me and Mark have a great relationship. I think some people are over analysing things and thinking because I left him out for a couple of games, that was the reason he left, but it certainly wasn't.
"As I explained to Mark when I arrived, I knew what he could do – that's why I brought him to this level – but I had to learn about the other players.
"He was always a big part of my plans for the future, but unfortunately that's not going to happen.
"But there is a lot of respect there from both parties."
Opposite number Housham also maintains that there is no bad blood between the clubs.
"There have been a few spits and spats but that's just due to the local rivalry," said Housham.
"We are not a mega rich football club as some people have been saying.
"But if a player is on non-contract terms and we think he is a good player we will try to get that player.
"My relationship with Graham (Drury) will never be in doubt.
"We have known each other since he was manager at Corby and all the time he was at Stamford.
"I get on fine with Graham and also the Boston chairman David Newton.
"They are doing a great job and I am sure we won't have any problems in the future."