Post by Football News on Aug 27, 2019 23:29:02 GMT
Bury expelled by English Football League after takeover collapses
Bury have been expelled by the English Football League after a takeover bid from C&N Sporting Risk collapsed.
The League One club had been given until 17:00 BST on Tuesday to complete the deal, having been granted an extension to Friday's initial deadline.
Bury are the first team to drop out of the EFL since Maidstone's liquidation in 1992.
League One will comprise of 23 clubs for the rest of the season, with only three teams to be relegated.
"When the news broke at Gigg Lane, fans instantly let out a huge cry - for help, of disbelief," said BBC Radio Manchester's Mike Minay.
"Fans walked away in instant tears, some crouching down to the floor."
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said it was "one of the darkest days" in the league's history, and added: "I understand this will be a deeply upsetting and devastating time for Bury's players, staff, supporters and the wider community.
"There is no doubt today's news will be felt across the entire football family."
Bolton Wanderers, also of League One, have been given 14 days to avoid being expelled themselves, with their prospective takeover by Football Ventures (Whites) Limited still yet to go through.
In a statement on Monday, the club's administrators warned they are on the brink of liquidation, saying if they were unable to resurrect the move the club was "not in a position to carry on trading".
'No-one wanted to be in this position' The EFL had suspended each of Bury's first six fixtures this season, requesting evidence the Shakers could pay off creditors and had the funding to make it through the campaign.
In a statement at 23:05 BST on Tuesday, the league said they decided "after a long and detailed discussion" to withdraw Bury's EFL membership "with enormous regret".
"No-one wanted to be in this position but following repeated missed deadlines, the suspension of five league fixtures, in addition to not receiving the evidence we required in regard to financial commitments and a possible takeover not materialising; the EFL board has been forced to take the most difficult of decisions," Jevans said.
Bury were initially given until 23:59 BST on Friday to either provide the required information or find a buyer to take them over.
With the third-tier side effectively an hour from being thrown out of the EFL, owner Steve Dale told BBC Radio Manchester he had sold the club and they were set to survive.
That news subsequently secured them an extension until Tuesday to complete the deal, but C&N Sporting Risk quickly expressed concern it was still not enough time.
An estimated 300 volunteers turned up at the club's Gigg Lane home on Tuesday to help get the ground ready for Saturday's scheduled game against Doncaster Rovers, but their efforts were in vain.
Bury supporters cleaned the stadium in the hope that their game on Saturday would go ahead
Founded in 1885 and first elected to the EFL nine years later, Bury were playing in what is now known as the Championship as recently as 1999 and have twice won the FA Cup.
No club has ever dropped out of the third tier before, and the Shakers also become the first FA Cup winners to have been expelled by the EFL.
England women's manager Phil Neville, whose mother Jill resigned as Bury's club secretary last week, described their demise as an "absolute disgrace" on Friday.
Supporters staged numerous protests in the build-up to the deadline, with former director Joy Hart handcuffing herself to a drainpipe outside their Gigg Lane home and a coffin reading 'RIP Bury FC 1885-?' was placed at the directors' entrance.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also wrote to EFL chief Jevans asking for the club to be granted more time "given the urgency of Bury's plight".
How did it come to this? At the end of April, Bury were celebrating promotion back to the third tier of English football, but they were already enduring a torrid time off the pitch.
The club was already in financial trouble when Dale bought it for £1 in December from previous owner Stewart Day, with players and staff often being paid late.
A winding-up petition filed against the club was adjourned three times before eventually being dismissed by the High Court on 31 July.
By then, creditors had approved a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) put forward by Dale, which was proposed to help settle some of their debts.
The CVA meant unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, would be paid 25% of the money owed - but also triggered a 12-point deduction in the League One table under EFL rules.
Furthermore, the EFL were unsatisfied Bury had given enough evidence of their financial viability, leading to a string of postponed fixtures while the organisation awaited "the clarity required".
The Shakers were given a 14-day deadline to provide the necessary information on 9 August, which expired at 23:59 BST on Friday.
Emotions were running high as fans volunteered inside the stadium before being asked to leave
How will it impact the league structure? The EFL had already outlined how it intended to balance the leagues if Bury were expelled:
The current League One season would be completed with 23 teams, with the number of relegation places reduced to three. Four teams will still be promoted from League Two this season, ensuring League One is rebalanced in 2020-21. Only one team will be relegated from League Two, with two to be promoted from the National League as usual.
What next for Bury? It is not yet certain what will happen to Bury Football Club, its staff and players or its Gigg Lane home.
Before Saturday's announcement, the EFL said if the Shakers were expelled the club would "be free to make an application to the Football Association to rejoin league competition further down the English football pyramid from season 2020-21".
Bury captain Neil Danns has spoken to talkSPORT and said the club's expulsion from the English Football League had “destroyed lives”.
Asked if he had a message for owner Steve Dale after it was confirmed the Shakers would be removed from the EFL, he replied: “I would say look what you've done.
“This should never have happened. If you thought you could not move this club forward in a positive way you should never have taken over because you've literally destroyed lives, because that's what this football club meant to so many fans.”
He added that “serious questions have got to be asked” about what had happened.
“When you see the devastation of the fans I just think I have to say something,” he said. “It's unbelievable. I still can't believe it.”
Danns added: “We have been in as normal, training. I don't think anyone really believed that this was going to happen.
“We were just preparing every single week as though the next game was going to be on, the next game was going to be on.
“For it to happen so suddenly, it's still really unbelievable. For a club with so much history and that has added so much to the league, for it to just be gone like that is just unimaginable.”
Danns was captain of the side that won promotion from League Two last season: “I've come to have a special bond with the fans and created some amazing memories, especially last year.
“At this moment in time I just feel for them the most because you have got people who have been going to the game for years. It's like every story, you go to the game with your Grandad, your Mum, your Dad, your brothers, it's such a community. It means so much to people.
“For me, it's starting to hit me harder because I have got young sons myself. I know what it is like to take them to watch my boyhood team Liverpool and the bond that gives us. To see that taken away from future fans is just devastating.
“Football brings not just football on the pitch but it is so much more than that. This whole situation just does not feel real.”
England women's manager Phil Neville believes the heart of Bury has been 'ripped out' following the expulsion of the club from the Football League.
The Shakers lost their place in the EFL on Tuesday when a takeover from C&N Sporting Risk fell through with just over an hour to go before the 5pm deadline.
As a result, the number of clubs in the Football League pyramid this season has been reduced to 91 and that figure could fall further in two weeks, with Bolton Wanderers at risk of a similar fate.
The demise of Bury has hit Lionesses coach Neville , who was born in the town, hard. His mum Jill had been Bury's club secretary but resigned from her job on Friday and a stand at Gigg Lane is named after his late father, Neville. "I'm devastated. It's disgraceful. Bury, after 125 years, no longer has a football club. I find it difficult. I dread to think how my mum's feeling," he told the media.
"I've obviously been living it as my mum's been secretary for 31 years. She resigned last week but still worked every hour that God sent to do the right thing for the football club. "The heart of the town has been ripped apart. Now it's up to the Bury people - myself included - to try to put some heart back into a town that relied heavily on a football club. It's ripped the heart out of our town, out of our club and out of my mum and the family. "There's a stand named after my dad who worked for the club for 26 years - my nanna, my grandad, my auntie, my uncle all worked behind the scenes and me and my brother supported the club. "Every town needs a football club. It's emotional for me. My mum's given her heart and soul to that club, my dad - it nearly killed him at one point.
"It's difficult because I'm part-owner of another football club so we couldn't do anything about it. It doesn't mean you don't care. It's like a death in the town of Bury.