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The tragedies of Bury and Bolton should sadden and sicken all football fans

This morning, some football fans woke up to the realisation their beloved club is no more.

Put yourself in the mind of a lifelong Bury fan and imagine what that feels like.

Desperate times

PA:Press Association
Desperate times

Fans of mega rich clubs boasting global brands and generational players may feel detached from demise of the Shakers, but their expulsion from the EFL is an issue that transcends club loyalty.

Supporters of Wigan, Hull, Leeds, Huddersfield, Blackpool and several other clubs joined the Bury faithful in answering the club’s call to clean the 11,640 seats at Gigg Lane when it looked as if C&N Sporting Risk’s takeover the club would offer a lifeline before the EFL’s deadline.

But the bid collapsed, as did several devastated fans when the news was announced at the stadium.

Now a club that has been central to a community for 134 years, a two-time FA Cup winner, has been unceremoniously removed from League One and the FA Cup.

It’s stomach-churning.

Fans has left messages at Gigg Lane

PA:Press Association
Fans has left messages at Gigg Lane

The cause of death? Mismanagement and neglect on a scandalous scale.

Just four months ago, Bury fans smiled as their side secured promotion from League Two, but off-field problems dampened the celebrations.

Steve Dale bought the club for £1 in December 2018 after financial issues meant players’ wages were delayed.

This continued under Dale, with midfielder Stephen Dawson challenging the owner about unpaid wages live on talkSPORT earlier this month.

Five months after purchasing the club, Dale put it up for sale, saying the club’s financial situation was ‘far worse’ than he realised.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live last Friday, Dale said: “I never went to Bury. It’s not a place I frequented.

“So for me to walk away from Bury and never go back is a very easy thing to do.

“I don’t do anything up there. I didn’t even know there was a football team called Bury.

“I’m not a football fan.”

The sentiment of thousands

PA:Press Association
The sentiment of thousands

You can see why Dale has been vilified for his role in Bury’s expiration.

Though the EFL must shoulder the blame too, in particular former chief executive Shaun Harvey.

Dale passed the much-maligned ‘fit-and-proper-person test’, deeming him a suitable owner for Bury without him having to prove funds and despite a history of liquidating 43 businesses.

It is clear the EFL do not have the best interest of the clubs and fans at heart.

No matter who you support, this should sicken you.

Bolton know Bury’s pain

Getty Images - Getty
Bolton know Bury’s pain

Bury are the first club to be expelled from the EFL since Maidstone in 1992.

After 27 years without such a tragedy, we may now mourn two in a fortnight.

Bolton Wanderers are on the brink, looking down into an abyss in which Bury have just vanished.

Sadly, some fans are making jokes at the expense of Bury and Bolton.

As if the destruction of English football’s foundations is something to cheer.

Don’t be ignorant; if it can happen to them, it can happen to your club.

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