Anger and dismay as Bury expelled by English Football League

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Lucy Watson

Bury have been expelled by the English Football League after a last-ditch takeover failed less than two hours before a deadline.

The future of the League One outfit was seemingly sealed after potential new owners C&N Sporting Risk pulled out of a deal to buy the stricken club.

The club had until 5pm on Tuesday to prove their viability but failed to meet the deadline.

C&N Sporting Risk announced it was unable to proceed with a takeover just 90 minutes before the deadline, leaving little time to find a solution, and the club on the brink.

And, the EFL took the decision to kick the 134-year-old club - a founder member of the league - out of professional football just after 11pm on Tuesday.

Bury defender Tom Miller told ITV News that the situation was desperate for a number of players who had not been paid for months.

He said he might have to rely on his family to pay the bills.

"It's embarrassing," he said, "I'm embarrassed at maybe having to go to my parents and say I might need to borrow money."

Miller said a number of players had turned up at the Bury training ground to see what was happening and whether they would get paid on Friday.

"It's just been a nightmare," he said. He said they had been informed £7m had been put into a holding account from a foreign investor but that the EFL was apparently not convinced.

"It's the end of Bury as we know it, which is shocking," said Miller.

"I hope the community pull together, it's a massive part of that community."

He was scathing about owner Steve Dale, branding him a disgrace and said the EFL should have given the club more time.

EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said it was "one of the darkest days in the league's recent history".

She told ITV News that the league it was "devastating" to make the decision to expel the club but that they could not see any more fixtures suspended.

She had earlier issued a statement in which she said the decision had been taken to protect the "integrity of our competitions".

"I understand this will be a deeply upsetting and devastating time for Bury's players, staff, supporters and the wider community," she said.

"There is no doubt today's news will be felt across the entire football family."

League One will now comprise of 23 Clubs for the remainder of the campaign and relegation places in the division reduced to three, which will result in a full complement of 24 Clubs in 2020/21.

A discussion will take place with EFL Clubs on the consequential impact in League Two when Clubs next meet in September 2019.

There is a huge amount of anger growing in the town at the EFL, which sanctioned current owner Steve Dale to buy the club for just £1 at the end of last year.

Under his ownership, the club have failed to fulfil any of their fixtures so far this season and have been deducted 12 points.

Bury captain Neil Danns said the club's expulsion from the English Football League had "destroyed lives".

Asked if he had a message for owner Steve Dale, Danns told talkSPORT radio: "I would say look what you've done.

"This should never have happened."

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.

There was some hope on Tuesday night that Bury could be saved, with Bury North MP James Frith explaining that there were three bids still on the table for the Shakers.

The Labour MP tweeted that the EFL should extended the deadline to help get a deal completed.

Gordon Sorfleet, ticket office manager and matchday programme editor, tweeted a picture of the front cover of the next issue - which will never be printed.

It features Kenny Hindle, a fan for over 70 years, and he will get a special copy of it.

Volunteers spent the day at Bury's Gigg Lane ground cleaning up the venue in the hope it would be taken over.

Fans were warned by the club not to enter the ground following the failed buyout.

"We understand that this is a difficult and emotional time for all supporters given the recent news regarding a potential takeover," a Bury statement read.

"While the Club are working hard looking at other potential avenues with other interested parties, we would like to remind supporters that no one should gain access to inside the stadium (unless authorised).

"CCTV is installed at Gigg Lane, and anyone damaging Club property or trespassing into the stadium itself will be identified and appropriately dealt with by the Police, who will have access to current and previous CCTV footage.

"We would like to urge supporters to remain patient and respectful for Club property."

Elsewhere in Lancashire, 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 the deadline had been and gone without resolution.

While there appears to be money on the table, it said it had reinstated the notice to withdraw Bolton's membership meaning the club now has 14 days to "meet all outstanding requirements of the league's insolvency policy or its membership in the EFL will be withdrawn".