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. Rumours, rumours, rumours



    Meling, LB, Rosenburg £2.5m


    Bauer, RB, Stoke, loan


    Diabetes, RW, Leicester, loan




    No more deals this window

  2. traditionalist88 on




    MM is ooa and IIRC hopes to return ASAP to deliver his verdict on PL, the TW and AOB and any mitigating circumstances will be rendered N/A in his FV,




  3. It is extremely questionable if there are real live trolls who stalk this fine blog.



    However it is beyond doubt that there is paranoia in some posts. 😂😂😂

  4. Go tell the Spartim on

    What is our obsession about wingers all about, is it if we sign enough of them surely one of them will be a good one?

  5. “Not lazy journalism”, Celtic in for International star! Who’s writing this pish, dragging stories fae the Record, unreal.

  6. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Betcha F.F. are having a field day quoting the CQN ” would be if they could be`s “.



    Thank God they have no power and precious little influence.



    Two huge games coming up.



    Hands up.


    Who wants Celtic to win them ?



    Hands up.


    Who will gloat if we don`t ?

  7. QUADROPHENIAN on 28TH AUGUST 2019 12:33 PM



    You are one of a kind.



    Sadly CQN is full of Philistines who don’t appreciate wit when it slaps them in the face. Oh well, a prophet is not always recognised in his own land!



    I’ll just go and flounce for the next few years/months/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds.

  8. Lawwell & DD need a stronger Sevco..


    The (old firm) £ is far more important than the CL to those 2 bampots!



    They’re happy if it’s back to an even keel sharing titles

  9. glendalystonsils on




    Would have given you a ‘like’ sooner but I’ve been away sewing my sides back up!

  10. good to see that i’m not the only one questioning the football abilities of our recent lb and ch £10m signings , was beginning to think i was watching different games to most on here and would not have jullien anywhere near the team on sunday.

  11. glendalystonsils on

    I see the bookies are making Sevco favourites for Sunday.



    Doesn’t seem that long ago that Craig Thomson was trying to keep our goals tally down at Ibrox so the hordes wouldn’t combust.

  12. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Surely Sevco has created the template for the bust clubs in England…..Bury becomes The Bury, Bolton become The Bolton, all debt gets written off, start all over again and everybody lives happily ever after.

  13. Truth is, there are a lot of old heads who love to wax lyrical about “wee Fergus” when they were likely giving him abuse at the time.



    A guy I remember the support had a widespread dislike towards is spoken about as a saint.



    Quinn was boo’d on flag day as well.

  14. ROCK TREE BHOY on 28TH AUGUST 2019 1:03 PM


    Surely Sevco has created the template for the bust clubs in England…..Bury becomes The Bury, Bolton become The Bolton, all debt gets written off, start all over again and everybody lives happily ever after.






    The Bury and The Bolton will likely join the bottom of the league pyramid. Non-League.

  15. Hrvatski…………….



    It was a belter, good on yer and I shoulda recognised it as such but I was too busy correcting the internet!







  16. onenightinlisbon on




    Whilst I have no confidence in either our board or present manager I would never “gloat” when my team loses. I think you will find that the guys on here who criticise the board or manager actually want the best for our club. Does Pedro?

  17. Re CQN optimism. Well, that de-escalated quickly.


    Embdy would think we hadn’t culled some deadwood, want-away loaners, passers through and makeweights.


    And brought in some adaptable and versatile first teamers and yoof projects. And mibby a Turnbull b4 xmas.



    HRVATSKI JIM – full o’Philistines but save some ammo for the Ammonites ;) HH

  18. What it takes to win at Ibrox this Sunday :


    Leadership, physicality, and character


    Broony has the trifecta but nobody else comes close, we have failed to identify what we need to play in Europe away and versus the mob at Ibrox. The qualities required are different to beating St Johnstone at home. Absolutely shameful what is going on and that is regardless of what happens between now and close of transfer window.

  19. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Quite funny listening to shortbread reporting about Bury – the CLUB – getting into financial difficulties after all their efforts over the last seven years to say that finances only affect the club’s “holding company”.


    Can’t decide if it is genuine lack of self-awareness or if they know how ridiculous they have become but just don’t care anymore!

  20. Go tell the Spartim on

    As stated many times and far more eloquently than me



    The BBC, SFA and the Police are the bastions of sectarianism in the best wee bigoted country in the world

  21. Hrvatski Jim



    Yir gaun naewerr lol i got the bury rangers line .interred in my head it is.:-))




  22. Go tell



    Our political class are steeped in it too.all parties.at all levels. Handy wee divider.


    You’ll know that anyway







    Spot on.



    Pedro is more concerned about his end of year bonus whereas we want to be the first club to create history.



    The difference with them is we mention the wage bill at every opportunity whereas they’d go all out attack to win the 10 and think about the consequences later.



    Granted they went bust but the governing body still say they have those honours and they can be added to so what’s the point of looking after your finances ?

  24. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    My dear fellow Tim ,



    They`ll be on here giving it the ” I told ye so “.


    Delighted to stupidly imagine that if the Board and PL had taken the advice of what appears to be a ” terracing Tam ” then all would have been sweetness and light.



    Delusions of relevance.



    Why do fellow Tims want to bring us down ?




  25. HENRIK1967 on 28TH AUGUST 2019 2:03 PM




    The difference with them is



    Granted they went bust but




  26. onenightinlisbon on

    Johnjames latest



    Desmond sold his Celtic shares to the Glazier brothers…. Discuss….

  27. onenightinlisbon on




    I don’t do I told you so…. I’m just a concerned supporter.




    HENRIK1967 on 28TH AUGUST 2019 2:03 PM



    Lawwell wants us to be on a par with Sevco, nothing more. the blue pound matters to him as much as the green one.

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