By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Bury FC, which was founded in 1885, has been expelled, on 27 August 2019, for financial reasons, from the English Football League (EFL) after being in the League for 125 years.
It is the first English Football Club, which has been described as “a wonderful, historic, community-driven club”, to suffer this fate for 27 years, and its expulsion has, naturally, come as great shock to the local community.
The EFL acted despite a bid of £7 million, from a reliable source, to buy the Club having been received by the deadline to save the Club, fixed by the EFL, and the EFL having been made aware of this offer.
This is something the Club could not understand, given that the bidder has apparently “proven significant funds” to take over, run and secure the long-term future of the Club.
The manner in which the EFL has handled this sad affair has not only been criticised by the Club, who are up in arms about it, but also by the local Member of Parliament, Ivan Lewis.
He has tweeted that he is:
“Very disappointed by the EFL decision … and failure to engage seriously with a credible plan to save the club.”
One loyal fan of the Club has stated that the EFL decision to expel the Club “has ripped the heart out of the community.”
According to the local supporters’ group, ‘Forever Bury’, there are a number of options open to them, in the present situation, which include:
“Crowdfunding to rebuild the football club at every level, challenging the way in which the EFL have treated our club and ensuring the future ownership of the club is in the hands of the people who share our genuine passion for the club and whose only consideration is restoring the club to its rightful place in the football league.”
Noble aims indeed and the EFL seems to have a case to answer as to their handling of the matter.
We wish ‘Forever Bury’ every success in these endeavours, which all go to prove that Bill Shankly, the legendary Manager of Liverpool FC, was absolutely right when he said that football was not a matter of life and death but was much more important than that!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’