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.