Bury, Bolton, the remarkably durable English game


I have heard a lot of nonsense as to why Bury are this morning expelled from the Football League and Bolton Wanderers are two weeks away from a similar fate.  There are not ‘too many teams’, in fact, attendances across all levels of the game in England are at historical highs and compare favourably to those in mainland Europe.  More choice has led to more attendees.

Inadequate ‘fit and proper tests’ are not to blame either.  None of those responsible for the plight of these two clubs had red flags in their backgrounds.  The suggestion that supporter representation on the board would have inhibited clubs spending their way into trouble is perhaps the most laughable suggestion.  Can you imagine a fans’ rep. at a board meeting saying, “Hang on, we can’t sign him, that’s going to push our wage levels to unsustainable levels”?

Football clubs are remarkably durable.  Most of the senior club formed in the 19th century are still in business.  The failure rate is incredibly low comparable to any industry.

The grass roots game, which Bury is a part of, is healthier in England than in anywhere in the world.  Bury over-spent, securitised their stadium and had multi-year commitments they could no longer service.  They failed because they are the worst crop in the field.

Bolton were a fixture in the Premier League when the late Phil Gartside was in charge, but the loss of revenue from that source following relegation is like nothing else in world sport.  I’m amazed we see so few failures of this nature, but by any reasonable expectation, failures like Bury and Bolton should be more common than they are.

There are those in the game who think ‘the model’ of English football is broken.  I have been reading the tea leaves of English football finances for decades.  The model looked broken before Financial Fair Play brought a correction to the market, but we will need to see a lot more Bolton and Burys fall down before that theory stands up.

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  1. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    The model was broken until unlimited resources were given to some clubs. Abramovic looks like a pauper compared to man city.

  2. The hand of God on

    No problem…they can just carry on as if nothing has happened..keep their name their stadium their training ground…keep their manager and pay him £800,000 a year…maybe Charles Green will purchase their 2 FA cups?

  3. traditionalist88 on

    Read the other day that 53 of 72 clubs from Championship down are losing money, clearly that can’t go on forever. How accurate this is I’m not sure.



    I’ve also read the EPL and the bigger clubs getting flak over what is happening at Bolton and Bury but whilst you have a lot of sympathy, these clubs have not lived within their means and had to go through the legal process to get the best for creditors, and hopefully save their clubs at the same time, like anyone else would.



    But no point pointing the finger at clubs higher up the food chain, clubs who are paying their bills and contractual dues as far as we know.




  4. Not true in Bolton’s case Paul of course.


    There was a MASSIVE red flag with Ken Anderson!


    He’d been banned for 8 years previously from being a director & had had as ‘colourful’ a backstory as Dave King!

  5. I am sorry to see that Bury has gone, especially as my brother-in-law played for them.



    If a new club does get formed, I suggest that it would be appropriate for its inaugural game to be a friendly against a club which has experience of such a position. Commemorative scarves reading Bury Rangers could be produced.

  6. This is the last call for the 3 passengers Hook, Line and Sinker flying to Stockholm…



    Please make your way from your mythical existence to boarding now.



    Won’tgetfooledagain csc

  7. traditionalist88 on

    Europa League group stage draw on Friday, lets hope we get a performance and result tomorrow night to give us confidence going into it. Score the first goal and don’t put us through another rollercoaster.



    And lets avoid Arsenal on Friday.



    And shut the hun mob up on Sunday.




  8. Trad- without going over old ground, which we do at this time every season, we could buy Rosenborg and the like,we are pi$$!ng about in the dark,hoping they lose so we MIGHT BID for a left back? It’s September in a couple of days,and we are already out the CL,thanks to another inferior Club, this is Celtic under Lawwell, his time is up, we have been in this pantomime every year since…..?

  9. HeknowsWHOknows on

    Big Wavy,



    Surely there must be a few Celtic tops on show in the bars at the airport. Maybe we could ask them to join us as they have their passports presumably :-)

  10. traditionalist88 on

    !!BADA BING!! on 28TH AUGUST 2019 10:32 AM



    Totally agree, just pointing out that Rosenborg have got further than we have in our last two attempts and so might be worth a little bit more respect, in no way does that cover systematic failures of our own of course,




  11. Go tell the Spartim on

    According to E Tims there’ll be no more incomings…………………………….

  12. traditionalist88 on

    GO TELL THE SPARTIM on 28TH AUGUST 2019 10:40 AM


    According to E Tims there’ll be no more incomings…………………………….





    Phew. So expect an influx then! ;)




  13. glendalystonsils on

    Yep. Rosenborg have overtaken us in European terms , certainly this season.



    The priority now is to make sure we’re not overtaken domestically.

  14. Bolton were in the EPL as recently as 2012: seven years ago. It is a hard fall from having so much cash to their current situation. This will befall some other clubs who went to the EPL and slid down to lower divisions.

  15. From @changeceltic



    @paullarkin74 hi Paul, thanks for the follow back. I am wondering if there may be appetite amongst our fans for a film shining the light onto the flawed structure of the club, Desmond, Lawwell etc? Might help wake a few more up to what’s going on.



    We believe Lawwells pi*h every season. We believe we are trying to strengthen. We believe we are building something special. Enough is enough #celticfc. You can’t build us up as a CL team and then act like amateurs repeatedly. We need change to go forward or this doesn’t end well



    Blinkered Celtic fans who think Lennon & Lawwell can do no wrong are absolute joke figures. Dare to criticise them? Must be a hun!



    Because of last season’s mismanagement and in fighting between lawwell and Rodgers. My point still stands, standards have dropped dramatically from BR to NL. Without the champions league carrot I doubt either will want to stay and play for him and that backroom staff.



    Lennon, “Peter does what’s best for Celtic, and he always has done, maybe to the detriment of himself sometimes. I know he puts the club first at all times.”



    Lennon has went full puppet!! Aye 3m a year, highest paid employee. Yeah that’s detrimental right enough. F*ck off






    Need to get this guy a podcast, in total agreement with him. Well said Sir.



    It’s going to be Taylor. They’ll drag their feet, increasing the offer in single pound coins at a time. Stall it out until a day or two until the transfer window closes and hope we don’t notice they have done nothing else. Same every season.



    The irony that Lawwell can’t stomach 3m on a first team ready left back he’s had all summer to secure, when he himself pockets 3m a year isn’t lost on me. I know what I’d rather spend the 3m on this year! #lawwellout #CelticFC



    Celtic are a complete shambles in the transfer market. Every year it’s the same. Trying to get players on the cheap, dragging our feet, waiting until the last possible minute then adding a few sub par loans. ‘We’ll strengthen in January!’ Aye so we will. Time for change!!



    To have an accountant in charge of transfer business. When his bonus is dependent on profit. Just completely negligent. 2 players for every position is required and it’s required by August every season. Downsizing at an alarming rate because of our amateur structure.



    From @docsa88



    Wake up ffs, simple fact is we should be light years ahead of Rangers & we’re not & it’s an absolute disgrace that this has been allowed to happen!

  16. HeknowsWHOknows on

    Mensah they say……….



    I think you need to be in the Mensa club to u/stand what the feck happened to those spare seats Neil was havering about at the weekend.




  17. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Oh Pablo you rascal !



    “Football clubs are remarkably durable”.



    What causes the few to be not durable?



    “over-spent” ✅



    “securitised their stadium” ✅



    “had multi-year commitments they could no longer service” ✅



    Remind me, didn’t UEFA also close part of the stadium for Bury’s and Bolton’s home games?






    I must be getting mixed up. Apologies.



    Hail hail

  18. I hear that sevco are looking at buying bury so that they can add two FA coups to their history 😆

  19. I wonder if we’ve still got the huge Magners tarpaulin?……we’ve probably sold it as well…

  20. Transfer window a joke now. Lawwell destroying club. Again weaker coming out of transfer window. Defence which needed overhauled has been dismantled and new players are inferior. It’s ok because the balance sheet is bulging at the seems. Dermot must be offski soon.



    I was at Hearts game and Boli pass marks but never a left back. Julien is a Clydesdale to quote Tommy Doc ; I would not play him at Ibrox as Defoe would run off him at will. Ambrose was a better defender.



    Rangers threat comes from Tavernier. Snuff that out and a draw should be straightforward —- provided Julien “rested”



    AIK should be straightforward —- however with Lennon in charge anything can happen. Cluj scored 4 European goals away from home for the first time in their history due to his lack of game management capability.

  21. Bury are where they are for various reasons. But a lack of independent regulation for owners is the main one. The whole thing is corrupt at it’s core. Craig Whyte & Charles Green levels. David Conn writes:






    The mortgage was taken out in stages by the previous owner, Stewart Day, who in December, as his own property empire was about to collapse into insolvency, sold the club to Steve Dale for £1.



    The lender, a firm based in Crosby called Capital Bridging Finance Solutions (“Capital”), is now owed £3.7m. Capital in turn mortgaged Gigg Lane, most homely of football grounds, to a company based in Malta whose own lenders were eight companies registered in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. As revealed in the Guardian, large portions of the borrowed money never came to Bury at all, because 40% was paid as “introduction fees” to unnamed third parties.



    Day justified that by saying it enabled a low interest rate, understood latterly to be 6%, but it is safe to say that one would not expect to find an arrangement like that on Bury’s home ground. That – along with another mortgage on the social club and what they politely described as “the overall financial state of the club” – was perhaps a major reason for Campbell and Newman deciding they did not really need the steaming mess at Bury in their currently prospering lives.



    The Premier and Football Leagues have fended off periodic political moves towards independent regulation by arguing their rules are robust. But the Bury ruins contain toxic pointers towards clear holes in governance, and the EFL clubs – who make the rules and have been slow to strengthen them over many years – must now rapidly reform.



    As Frith established, and the EFL confirmed, Dale completed his £1 takeover without ever complying with the league’s rules that new owners must demonstrate they have the money to sustain a club, “proof of funding”. A major flaw in the rules is the lack of appropriate sanction for an owner who flouts them: the takeover cannot be denied. Instead a registration embargo was imposed and matches were suspended, but Bury itself – the club, loyally supported – were faced with the threat of expulsion, and not Dale himself.



    The alarm should have been rung in 2014, when Day took out a loan with 138% annual interest secured on Gigg Lane, but it never was and he was able to continue.

  22. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    HENRIK1967 on 28TH AUGUST 2019 10:44 AM



    Lennon, “Peter does what’s best for Celtic, and he always has done, maybe to the detriment of himself sometimes. I know he puts the club first at all times.



    Lennon has went full puppet!!






    How utterly insulting.

  23. Of course, there’s those who unquestioningly “think” everyone that posts on these fine pages is a genuine Tim…………!




  24. It’s yesterday’s news from JJ, I know, and pardon me if it’s already been discussed but Peter Lawell’s been a very busy man. According to JJ, he has been informed that we have signed McKenna and Cosgrove from Aberdeen as well as Meling from Rosenborg.



    Whatever happened to Carlsberg Fridays?

  25. traditionalist88 on

    Lawrence Shankland with 7 goals in his first 3 league matches for Dundee Utd. Was surprised no one in lower half of top flight made a move for him. Will guarantee Utd promotion if he stays fit and isn’t picked off by someone in Jan.




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