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Countdown to Oblivion: English Premier League Billionaires Look on as Historic Club Faces Expulsion

Fans of Bury FC are hoping for miracle with just hours to go before an English Football League (EFL) ultimatum on Friday, 23 August.

The club, nicknamed The Shakers, face being expelled from the league unless their owner, Steve Dale, can assure the EFL he has the money to keep them going.

Bury is a suburb of Manchester and its ground, Gigg Lane, is only 10 miles from Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium, homes of mega-rich Manchester United and City respectively.

Joy Hart, whose father Les played for the club and worked there for 44 years, told the Daily Telegraph: “We have given so many great players to bigger clubs over the years, now we face extinction.

"All I want now is for local teams, including Man City and Manchester United, to help save Bury Football Club in its hour of need. I am appealing to all the north-west clubs. Please help us. Unless someone comes in, we are dead on Friday. Forever.”

Among the famous players who started their career at Bury are Terry McDermott, who became a star with Liverpool in the 1970s, Neville Southall, who became Everton’s title-winning goalkeeper in the 1980s, and Colin Bell, who played 394 games for Manchester City between 1966 and 1979.

​Bury were promoted to League One last season but in July they entered a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with creditors and over the close season most of their players left as it became clear owner Steve Dale did not have the money to pay their wages or keep the club going.

The EFL docked them 12 points at the start of the season but Bury have not even been able to fulfil their first six fixtures.

​On Monday, 20 August, the EFL issued a statement saying: “The EFL Board continues to be frustrated at the lack of significant progress that has been made by Mr Dale in providing the information required. However, we will continue to work with the current ownership in an attempt to achieve a resolution ahead of the Notice of Withdrawal deadline of Friday 23 August.”

The EFL added: "It remains in regular communication with Mr Dale but if a solution is not found by the deadline, the Board will authorise the necessary share transfer on behalf of Bury FC which shall be legally binding on all parties and result, regretfully, in the Club no longer being a member of the League.”

Bury would then be expelled from the league.

​Neither Manchester United or City have commented on Bury’s plight and on social media most of the blame is being pointed in the direction of Mr Dale, who bought the club for £1 in December 2018 from Stewart Day, who he blames for spending too much money on wages and putting the club in jeopardy.

Mr Dale has been accused of being a “liar” by Bury defender Stephen Dawson and former striker Jermaine Beckford and on social media many people have accused of him of being an asset-stripper who does not wish to see the club survive.

​Mr Dale has denied the allegations and says he just wants to be compensated for the time he has put into the club.

He said recently: “I just want someone to acknowledge the eight months heartache and work that has gone into this, I will walk away. I want the club to survive and I think I have done a good job from where we were to now.”

If Bury drop out of the league they will be the first club to do so since Aldershot in 1992.

Meanwhile a few miles away Bolton Wanderers - who were in the Premier League as recently as 2012 - are also struggling financially. Their manager, Phil Parkinson, resigned on 22 August, because of the lack of money at the club, who have also been docked points.

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