“One of the darkest days in the League’s recent history” as Bury expelled from Football League, while Bolton Wanderers close to liquidation

A Bury fan at the gates of Gigg Lane.
A Bury fan at the gates of Gigg Lane.
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Bury have been expelled from the English Football League after a day of high drama that will almost certainly result in the 134-year-old club being liquidated.

Shakers owner Steve Dale had been given until 5pm on Tuesday to come up with a plan for paying the club’s debts and funding them going forward or sell them to someone who can.

It had been hoped that C&N Sporting Risk would be the answer but the London-based firm pulled out of the deal 90 minutes before the deadline, citing concerns over the club’s confusing debt structure.

And then, just when all hope seemed lost, Dale claimed he had received three new bids for the club, prompting fans, politicians and pundits to call for more time to explore these options.

But shortly after 11pm, the league revealed its verdict.

In a statement, it said: “The EFL board met earlier this evening and, after a long and detailed discussion, determined that Bury FC’s membership of the English Football League be withdrawn after the deadline passed at 5pm today (Tuesday 27 August) without a successful resolution.”

Debbie Jevans CBE, EFL Executive Chair, said: “Today is undoubtedly one of the darkest days in the League’s recent history. The EFL has worked determinedly and tirelessly to avoid this outcome and it

is with a heavy heart that this situation has been forced upon us.

“The EFL has to place the integrity of our competitions at the heart of every decision we make, and we simply cannot allow this unacceptable situation to continue or countenance the prospect of postponing

further fixtures.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Bolton Wanderers are on the verge of liquidation after the English Football League gave their administrators 14 days to either sell the League One club or prove they can fund them for the rest of the season.

And as the administrator Paul Appleton has already revealed that there is no money left to fund the club without a takeover by the Football Ventures consortium, the EFL verdict looks terminal.

Optimism had been growing on Tuesday that Bolton would meet the 5pm deadline set by the league to announce that the deal had been approved.

But in a statement released at 11.05pm, the EFL said: “Despite further exchanges with the administrators over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend, and right up until today’s deadline of 5pm, a resolution to ongoing impasse in negotiations regarding a completion of sale at Bolton Wanderers has not yet been found.

“The EFL board has therefore taken the decision to lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal, which was issued as per the EFL’s insolvency policy when the club entered administration in May 2019.

“As per the league’s articles of association, this will now give the club 14 days (11.59pm on 12 September, 2019) to meet all outstanding requirements of the league’s insolvency policy or its membership in the EFL will be withdrawn.”