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Bury FC owner Steve Dale rejects blame as debt-ridden club faces league expulsion | UK News



The owner of Bury FC has said he is not to blame for the plight of the debt-ridden club that is a matter of hours away from being expelled from the English Football League (EFL).

Bury, who have been in the league for 125 years, must prove they have the funds needed to stay in the EFL by midnight, or it will be booted out of League One.

The club’s EFL share – which any club needs to play – will be withdrawn under the terms of the Notice of Withdrawal and “its membership in the league will come to an end,” the league said in a statement issued at 5pm on Friday.

Bury owner Steve Dale said he is not to blame for the club's plight
Bury owner Steve Dale said he is not to blame for the club’s plight

The EFL has refused to allow Bury to start the season and said in a statement posted to Twitter that “as of 5pm there has been limited progress made either by the current ownership providing the required evidence in regard to outstanding financial information, or through a change of control being achieved with new owners”.

Current owner Steve Dale, who bought the loss-making and heavily-indebted club for £1 in December from the property developer Stewart Day, has said he has provided proof of funding.

He told Sky Sports he has “saved the club” and is not the asset-stripper some critics make him out to be, while himself blaming the league for the club’s predicament.

“We are in a position now where clearly anything I say they don’t believe. The media, present company excluded, have made me out to be the bad guy. I saved this club,” he said.

Told he has been described as an “asset-stripper”, he replied: “How can you strip from something that’s got nowt?

“Bury had got nothing. Stewart Day put that club into, you know, it was insolvent, it was bust, end of story, when I got there.

Former club director Joy Hart handcuffed herself to the stadium as a protest
Former club director Joy Hart handcuffed herself to the stadium as a protest

“I could have walked away and with hindsight I should’ve walked away, but I chose to stay. I got the CVA [Company Voluntary Arrangement] through. We were made up when we got the CVA through.

“We had got a great squad in training. We were ready to sign them and they stopped us. The EFL stopped us.

“It’s unfair. Since when does a guy who’s trying to save a club get kicked, I don’t understand. I didn’t put Bury in 40 million quid’s-worth of debt. I didn’t. I inherited it. Never took a penny out. I tried to save it.”

The Shakers’ last match at the club’s Gigg Lane stadium was a pre-season friendly on 24 July.

Last season they won promotion from League Two.

Gigg Lane, Bury FC's only home since the club was founded in 1885
Gigg Lane, Bury FC’s only home since the club was founded in 1885

But over the summer as the situation became increasingly dire, fans held protests, including one, former director Joy Hart, who handcuffed herself to a drainpipe.

Others left a coffin bearing the message “RIP Bury FC 1885?”.

Bury have had six of its competitive matches suspended so far this season, which it began with a 12-point deduction imposed by the league when the CVA was sanctioned in July.

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