Owner’s AWOL, Staff Unpaid & Bury FC Are Seemingly Going Forgotten

Much of the football news from this part of the country towards the end of last season focused on the plight of Bolton Wanderers and their seemingly unending fight to remain in existence.

Much was made of the need to keep the club from disappearing due to its rich history. However, just down the road, an equally important battle was being fought out at Bury FC whose history dates back 134 years and have equal claims to be considered as vital to the Football League pyramid.

With Bolton heading for administration and life in League One, supporters around the country have organised food collections for staff who haven’t been paid and are experiencing acute hardship.

Whilst this is to be applauded obviously, it appears to have overshadowed the similar position Bury staff find themselves in. It is possible that Bury’s automatic promotion from League Two has somehow been misinterpreted as evidence that the club are doing well, and that their future is bright and secured – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bury still face an uncertain future, while owner Steve Dale goes AWOL and leaves the staff to fend for themselves in this crucial and uncertain time. At the insolvency hearing in the High Court, Judge Prentis acknowledged the fact that Bury was a ‘historic’ club and adjourned the case till June 19th.

That is still four weeks away and although it gives the club some breathing space in which to bring in last-minute potential buyers, the unpaid staff still have bills of their own and are often the forgotten party in situations like this.

There is no real reason why Bolton should be considered to be in a worse situation than Bury, and there are surely fans from other clubs who would gladly help out if needed.

The problem, of course, is the lack of publicity smaller clubs get and although both Bolton and Bury will be hopefully competing against each other next season. It will always be ‘ex-Premier League’ Bolton who make the headlines despite Bury holding the record for the highest FA Cup final score for 116 years.

It should be remembered that although Bury are not as well supported as the two Manchester clubs, visitors to Gigg Lane and the town, spend money that benefits the local community and that is a vital source of income for local businesses.

I what should be an exciting preseason full of hope and preparation for life in England’s third tier, Bury are left between a rock and a hard place. Many of the playing staff are starting to vent their anger socially, after holding their tongue for too long.

There’s a sense at Bury that many people at the top end are in it for themselves, they forget that long after they have gone the fans remain, the community remains and hopefully the club remains.

This is a lower league club, a small town club, that is not there to line the pockets of crooked owners. Real life, local people are being affected by the flippant decisions made at the top. It brings stress and much more for many who have not been paid for three months, this has to stop now and the EFL have to take ownership of their dealings with potential owners.

Bury Football Club needs your help, get in touch and let’s get these amazing people who are going without pay, the aid they need.

  • Bury have a famous family at bury the nevells mother works there ,their late dad also did and has a stand named in his honour and the kids well not a lot needs to be said about them except can’t they help Bury fc out

  • Great summary, I think most people associated with the club whether players, staff or fans just want to know if things are moving forward or not.

  • Great article. We have mainly been looking after our own. Local MP is involved, but we are getting precious little offically from the club.

  • we need some news soon! the chairman needs to communicate the latest position to the fans!

  • This whole sorry saga is about the systematic abuse of rules and regulations (football creditors rule). The evidence for this is seen in the last two owners of the football club and how they have managed the business, using NI contributions to fund short-term cashflow problems. This is what amongst other things has driven HMRC to petition agressively against the club with a winding up order – as the football creditors rule does not allow crown preference now – i.e. the players have priority over the taxman in football. The abuse suits the current owners interests in order to extract value from a loss making club (capitalisng on asset stripping – i.e. using cash from promotion as a lever when he only paid £1 for the club) and not that of the business, club, players, fans or the wider community in Bury.

    The political classes, local MP’s, the EFL and any financial regulators must become more involved to stop this systematic abuse from ocurring. Several clubs in the football league are witnessing HMRC winding up orders as they have either become too indebeted or are being run by conmen disintermediating rules for their own benefit – this eventually catches them up however, and to the detriment of every other party involved.

    This is a thoroughly unsatiisfactory state of affairs which needs immediate remedy.

  • Lower league clubs used to survive by selling their young talent to the first division big boys. Galling though it was to lose talent in this way , it was our means of survival. Now the Premier League goes abroad for its talent and actually send their rising stars to lower league clubs for match experience ! Meanwhile, the English lower league clubs feed on scraps such as a televised FA Cup tie. In light of this , the likes of Bury need a radical rethink of how they are to survive ; community ownership, part time playing staff ? Aping their Premier League neighbours and chasing the dream , as Bolton have found to their cost , is unsustainable. As many fans become disillusioned by the corporate machine of the Premier League, its time for lower league teams to play to their strengths ; a homely, affordable match day experience where fans are valued and where, though ambitions are limited, they are realistic and enjoyable. In spite of everything, its been a treat being a Bury fan this season and suspect I’ve had a lot more enjoyment than many Man Utd fans. Size isn’t everything and small is beautiful ! Up the Shakers !

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