By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
  1. David Bolt

    David Bolt Member

    May 30, 2008
    Liverpool
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Wales

    Dead and Buryed?

    By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
    [​IMG]

    For many towns in England, their football team is what puts them on the map. That’s especially true in the Football League; where there are some teams from cities and large towns, but lots of teams are from places where it’s fair to say that most people wouldn’t know they exist were it not for their football team. These teams may just be a name on a league table for most people, but for the people of those towns they’re a point of pride. They matter a lot.

    One of those places is Bury, a town a few miles north of Manchester, whose football team, Bury FC, nicknamed the Shakers, were formed in 1885. To give that a bit of context, whilst Bury were being founded, the Statue of Liberty was being shipped over to be assembled.

    Bury have mostly bobbed around in the lower leagues for most of their history, but have had several spells in the second tier, and are 2-time FA Cup winners.

    But, by tomorrow, Bury may no longer have a team, as Bury only have until Friday evening to prove that they have the finances to be able to complete the season. Bury’s financial situation is so bad that they haven’t been allowed to start the season in League One, or play in the League Cup, with all of their fixtures so far being postponed.

    Two weeks ago, the Football League stated that they couldn’t carry on postponing fixtures and gave Bury a deadline to show that they can carry on.

    The last members of the Football League to be ejected because they couldn’t fulfil their fixtures were Maidstone United, who resigned from the league in August 1992 (Aldershot had failed to fulfil their fixtures the previous season) after they too couldn’t begin the season.

    Below the Premier League, clubs are spending like crazy in order to try and get to the Premier League and get their share of the vast amounts of money on offer. Nearly all the Championship clubs run at huge losses. Two years ago, Wolves spent so much in order to get promoted into the Premier League, they lost over £1m a week.

    Below the Championship lies Leagues One and Two, who also see clubs spending beyond their means chasing promotion, but without the TV money of the Premier League or Championship to fall back on.

    The race for clubs to keep up with the Joneses means that clubs are seemingly always walking a financial tightrope, which leaves them vulnerable to being taken over by unsuitable owners.

    Bury’s finances have been in bad shape for years. They were saved in the early 2000’s after a campaign spearheaded by Neville Neville, the father of Manchester United and England’s Gary and Phil, who are from the town (as is England right-back Kieran Trippier).

    After years of relative stability, Bury’s finances had once again taken a nosedive, when they were bought by property developer Stewart Day in 2013. Day was a man with big ambitions for Bury, which included plans for a new stadium, and he started making some big signings. They started signing some former Premier League players like former Everton strikers Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan.

    Fans started to get concerned about how those players were being paid for, and they started to get their answers after it was revealed that Day had heavily mortgaged the club’s Gigg Lane stadium at eye-watering rates of interest, which adds up to about £1500 ($1800) per day.

    The way the club operated under Day’s ownership also left a lot to be desired. Local contractors weren’t getting paid for work or services provided. Directors whose love for the club was unquestioned started to be frozen out, and AGMs started to be cancelled.

    Eventually, Day’s businesses, which relied heavily on getting credit from a peer-to-peer lending company to build student accommodation, collapsed and that plunged Bury in a terrible financial state. They were taken to court for failing to pay taxes and other debts.

    Last November, Bury were ‘saved’ by selling the club for £1 to Steve Dale, who, as it transpired, had a history of asset-stripping, the buying and selling of assets of companies in financial trouble. Things didn’t get any better.

    It should be pointed out that Dale isn’t responsible for the mess at Bury. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have helped either. He has said that the finances at Bury were much worse than he’d thought, with the club’s debts estimated to be around £8m.

    It became quickly apparent that Dale didn’t have the money to support the club. Players and club staff weren’t getting paid, to the point where crowdfunding and foodbanks were set up to support the staff. Staff were also being made redundant. This made Dale a figure of hate at the club.

    The sad irony is that while things were going disastrously wrong off the pitch, they couldn’t have been going much better on the pitch. Under the management of Ryan Lowe, the club managed to achieve automatic promotion. That’s a fine accomplishment at the best of times, but to do so when nobody was being paid is something extra-special.

    Dale did manage to arrange an insolvency procedure that gives Bury a way out of trouble, but hasn’t shown the league that he has the funds to fulfil it, which is why Bury may go extinct.

    The more the Bury fans, and the local MP, have implored Dale to sell the club, the more he’s dug in, issuing some pugnacious statements about internet trolls and arguing with a player on the radio about unpaid wages. Dale was refusing to engage with the Football League, which is probably why they’ve decided enough was enough. Only after the club staff released a statement begging him to sell the club, did he even start to consider the idea.

    Bury’s last hope may come from Joe Sealey, the son of former Manchester United goalkeeper Les, who has expressed an interest in taking over. But that depends on Dale, who has already turned down a few offers for the club, being willing to sell. Sealey had indicated that Dale wanted over £1m for Bury, which given the clubs finances is a ludicrous sum.

    Should Bury be kicked out of the Football League, League One would continue with 23 teams, and only 3 being relegated this season, and it may be the case that 3 teams get promoted into the Football League from the National League instead of two, but that is to be determined.

    It would be hard to see Bury carrying on. It would be too late for them to play in any league this season. Theoretically, they could apply to join a league for next-season, but I think it’s far more likely they would just cease to be.

    Even if they do get a reprieve, there’s an almighty task ahead of them. The team that got promoted last season has been broken up and reports have it that Bury only have 4 players in their squad. They are currently embargoed from signing anyone, so if they are cleared to play, they will need players quickly.

    Manager Ryan Lowe moved on to Plymouth and was replaced by little-known Paul Wilkinson, who has had to limp through the pre-season with teams cobbled together with trialists, including one game where they had no first team players at all.

    Bury have been let down by the Football League. After a few clubs got into financial difficulty, the Premier League and Football League introduced ‘Owners and Directors’ tests, which everyone calls ‘fit and proper persons’ tests. These were designed to weed out the unsuitable owners.

    The Football League admitted it allowed Steve Dale to take over Bury without him having ever passed the part of the test where prospective owners have to show they’ve got the finances to run the club.

    Sadly, Bury aren’t alone in the precarious finances stakes. Last week, former England international Sol Campbell quit his job as coach of Macclesfield Town due to unpaid wages.

    Last season, years of mounting debts finally caught up with Bolton Wanderers. After months of unpaid wages, which saw club staff having to resort to using foodbanks, Bolton’s players went on strike and the club couldn’t fulfil a fixture and fell into administration.

    Bolton have somehow kept going this season, but they are still in a terrible state on and off the pitch. Bolton are having to play academy players, because the few first team players they have are refusing to play because of unpaid wages. Despite being totally outmatched on the pitch, Bolton’s young players are performing admirably, but the whole club is a shell of what it once was.

    It will be desperately sad if Bury are no more after tomorrow. Clubs like Bury may not mean a lot to most fans, but they mean everything to some.
     

Comments

Discussion in 'Cups & Competitions' started by David Bolt, Aug 22, 2019.

    1. SccrDon

      SccrDon Member+

      Dec 4, 2001
      Colorado Springs
      Club:
      Colorado Rapids
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      David, thanks for researching and writing this.

      It's all very sad. The focus on money is causing real problems. I wonder how many other clubs aren't too far away from what Bury is experiencing.
       
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    2. David Bolt

      David Bolt Member

      May 30, 2008
      Liverpool
      Club:
      Liverpool FC
      Nat'l Team:
      Wales

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Thanks.

      The answer to that is that there's probably a few clubs in a bad way, though Bury are especially bad.

      Bolton Wanderers nearly went under this summer, and are having to play academy players because their players have been striking over not being paid. They had to postpone a game this week as the administrators running the club decided that the kids had played too much and were at risk of injury if they played.

      Sol Campbell recently quit Macclesfield due to not having been paid too
       
    3. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Some facts incorrect here... 2 teams get relegated/promoted from/to League Two. Precedent says 1 will be relegated if Bury go under.

      Apparently Dale passed the "fit and proper" test, but the Football League failed to ensure that he had sufficient capital to pay the bills. That must give them some culpability. But I find it hard to have much sympathy with Bury - the football club, as opposed to its fans - as Dale purposefully recruited players presumably knowing that he couldn't pay them. And only Dale is to blame for Bury's financial situation being "worse than expected". Due diligence lacking somewhat, me thinks.
       
    4. JayRockers!

      JayRockers! Member+

      Aug 4, 2001

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      EvanJ repped this.
    5. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      its kind of funny hearing about all these clubs and how they are basically going bankrupt.

      And with clubs like bolton who aren't a little tiny club and another like sunderland who financially are disasters.

      I wonder if some of these pro/rel people who think it solves everything are paying attention.
       
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    6. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      No Football League team has gone out of business in the last quarter of a century.
      Seems like a heck of a lot more USL and NASL teams have gone under in just a few years...
       
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    7. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      I am not saying the entire league is going out of business

      I am saying there is a myth that if the us had pro/rel people would line up to invest billions in clubs around the country to try to win and get into the top division.

      The fact is that there are a lot of clubs in england that are basically bankrupt like bolton, bury who both play in league one and in that same league you have sunderland who had to be sold to stay alive. How many other clubs are in a ton of financial trouble that we don't know about? You have macclesfield who apparently isn't paying people...they'll be bolton/bury in a year.

      by the way the 'gone out of business in the last quarter of a century' is a technicality Clubs usually bottom out and then go bankrupt.

      Hereford United
      darlington fc
      chester city
      rushden and diamonds
      halifax towns
      scarborough

      on top of that over 20 teams have been put into administration over the past 25 years and that basically means the clubs in chapter 11 and the league is making them pay there debts before the continue normal operation.
       
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    8. Anthony

      Anthony Member+

      United States
      Aug 20, 1999
      Chicago
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      I remember when Rushden and Diamonds was supposed to be the model small club.
       
    9. EvanJ

      EvanJ Member+

      Manchester United
      United States
      Mar 30, 2004
      Nassau County, NY
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      https://us.soccerway.com/national/england/league-one/20192020/regular-season/r53677/ for League One and https://us.soccerway.com/national/england/league-two/20192020/regular-season/r53874/ for League Two are not official, but they agree with the article that Leagues One and Two exchange 4 clubs. The exchange of 2 is between League Two and National League. The article said that if League Two promotes 4 clubs to League One and only 3 clubs are relegated to League Two, League Two could respond by relegating 2 clubs and getting 3 promoted from National League. The extra spot could be a problem if it's passed farther down because if National League wants 1 more club promoted to it, how do they choose whether that club comes from National League North (hereafter NLN) or National League South (hereafter NLS)? Do you compare points total of clubs in different leagues like what sometimes happens in national team qualifiers? One solution would be to have the NLN and NLS promotion Final losers play each other for the extra promotion spot.
       
    10. aetraxx7

      aetraxx7 Member+

      Jun 25, 2005
      Des Moines, IA
      Club:
      Des Moines Menace
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Exactly. The terminology is different between the US and England, but the result is the same. Pro/Rel is not a magic bullet. It's a financial quagmire for everyone that's not already at the top.
       
    11. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      No, it isn't. A number of clubs have disappeared in the last quarter of a century, none of whom are Football League members. It is certainly true as posted that six have been relegated from the league and then subsequently went bankrupt. But it is hard to argue that their demise was caused by pro/rel. Some of those clubs were truly ineptly owned. Remember George Reynolds at Darlington? Ditto for Hereford United. Ditto for Chester and their crazy American owner who at one point thought he would make a better coach.

      Meanwhile, in contrast, many USL and NASL teams have disappeared in the last ten years. So although I'm not in the pro/rel is a magic bullet camp, equally I don't see the evidence that supports your assertion.
       
    12. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Interesting point... pretty sure that precedent says 1 club will be relegated from League Two. With two promoted to League Two that will still leave the National League one short.
       
    13. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      they were at one time football league members so don't act like they are random teams in the 15th tier.

      Their bankruptcy and being disolved is directly related to their time in the football league and them trying to compete when they didn't have the financial ability to do so(as many clubs are doing right now).

      Its very hard to argue that their demise wasn't directly a result of their trying to stay in the football league and levels above where they are capable of financially being viable. I mean do you think these clubs fell apart because of an expensive dinner after a big win? no they went bankrupt because they tried to buy players they couldn't afford and to contracts they couldn't afford the wage bill on.

      its a proven facts that clubs regularly find themselves in bad financial situations based solely on their spending which was done to try to game promotion or get out of the relegation zone.

      you should watch the documentary 'sunderland till I die'....they talk about it constantly and how they were operating that season in a different manner because they couldn't afford to continue to operate that way. They ended up getting relegated and a bunch of people got laid off.....again....I mean its pretty clear.

      I do love the 'owner' angle though. You do understand thats what I am saying....they buy players to compete...they can't afford it...they go bankrupt lol. Managers at those lower levels are totally overrated its about players.
       
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    14. aetraxx7

      aetraxx7 Member+

      Jun 25, 2005
      Des Moines, IA
      Club:
      Des Moines Menace
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Literally every team in the US leagues that has failed did so because of owner/financial issues. I never said it was pro/rel that caused it. In both cases, it's down to owners that spend more than they can afford.
      The ONLY reason I brought up pro/rel (aside from the article's content) is that so many overzealous American fans act like it's the solution to all of our (perceived) issues in the lower levels. Obviously, dumb owners are dumb owners regardless of the system. Pro/rel just offers a different way to go bankrupt by overreaching merely to stay put (for the most part promoted teams rarely stay that way).
       
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    15. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Nice strawman.

      Of the five clubs that went bankrupt after relegation from the Football League, only two of them were promoted to it - Scarborough and R&D. The other three were elected. As you agree, those clubs were "levels above where they are capable of being financially viable". One of the beauties of pro/rel is that it allows clubs to rise and fall, rather than being static as in a closed league. Without pro/rel, Halifax, Chester and Darlington would be deadwood clogging up the Football League whilst better run clubs outside the league were permanently excluded. No thanks.

      Oh, and Darlington didn't need a 25k stadium to compete. They just needed sensible ownership.

      Meanwhile, in closed league US, many USL and NASL teams have gone out of business in the last ten years...
       
    16. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Pretty much agree with that. What I disagreed with was your assertion that pro/rel is a financial quagmire for everybody that's not already at the top.
       
    17. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Facts are not a strawman.

      You saying 'but teams in leagues without pro/rel go bankrupt' is a strawman argument. Nobody said that we've said that pro/rel won't fix that.

      So you don't understand what it means to go bankrupt that is ok I guess I'll try another way.

      Why do teams go into administration?
       
    18. aetraxx7

      aetraxx7 Member+

      Jun 25, 2005
      Des Moines, IA
      Club:
      Des Moines Menace
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Okay, I will rephrase it: Professional sports are a financial quagmire for the majority of clubs and owners, regardless of the league set up. Only those at the pinnacle of their sport, league, market, and financial backing avoid being money pits.
       
    19. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      It was a classic strawman in that it took my cmment and posited it into something it wasn't.

      No, that is a fact.

      Another strawman.
       
    20. M

      M Member+

      Feb 18, 2000
      Via Ventisette

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Not sure I agree with that either and i certainly don't agree that you can point at England to back up that assertion. The fact is that the vast majority of teams in the English pyramid manage just fine. But certainly there are some that don't.
       
    21. autogolazzo

      autogolazzo Member

      Mar 4, 2007

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      This is all quite terrible.

      I feel the same way when a Single A Minor League Baseball Team folds or when a sickly Pacific Blue Eye lacks the pace to keep up with the rest of the school.
       
    22. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM

      the point has been made.

      listen I listed the clubs I explained how it works and you just go with the strawman thing which is funny but at the same time while you dont understand what is going on with these clubs and that is clear because you also aren't using the phrase strawman argument correctly either.

      Out of curiosity I know you disagree with the article that started this thread. What is going on at bury? even major media outlets have been fooled by these fake financial issues they claim to be having. What is the real issue? why do they not have players or even a team?
       
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    23. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      United States
      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM
      Well, there are more factors in the US. Travel is one of them--perhaps the biggest one. For example, it's 195 miles from Leeds to London. That's probably an average trip. I'd expect that the longest is not over 300 miles. But New York to St Louis, a recent USL fixture, is 951 miles--and that's only halfway across the US. Hartford-Bethlehem, which would be considered a "local" match in the US, is slightly over 200 miles. And USL teams have budgets far less than any League 1 team.

      I had a long talk back in the day with a USL owner who noted that the only reason the team had survived so long was that he'd gotten travel from an airline in as sponsorship rather than cash.

      And you have to add teams "folding" due to being replaced by an MLS team in that market.
       
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    24. a_new_fan

      a_new_fan BigSoccer Yellow Card

      Jul 6, 2006

      Dead and Buryed?

      By David Bolt on Aug 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM

      well big day for bury and bolton

      both clubs having celebrations of financial stability and both clubs looking for promotion because of that great financial stability caused by promotion/relegation.

      there are rumors that they may go straight to the premier league because they are so financial stable and well run.
       
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