Bury - EFL to discuss re-entry to L2 | and Bolton - sold

jojojo

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I give up.
These clubs are struggling because the interest is dwindling. The money is filtered down anymore, it stays at the top.
My local club is incredibly well run, but not very rich due to this fact.
We're obviously going to beg to differ but you are so very wrong with your point of view.
I agree with you.

The figure I keep coming back to is the one that says attendances in L1/L2 (D3/D4) haven't seen a significant decline in decades - they're more or less what they were in the 70s. Changing demographics may have improved/worsened the situation in certain locations/clubs, but overall attendances are stable.

As you say though, money doesn't filter down. The top clubs are running bigger academies, so they're doing less transfers that involve the lower leagues - or they're poaching players earlier and paying less, or they're buying ready to go talents from abroad.

The big clubs are also operating with bigger squads, and sometimes with complete shadow squads on loan - again reducing that feeder club, junior club role that the lower leagues had, and increasing the cost of traditional lower League talent.

Combine that with rising fixed costs like stadium seating and other improvements, and property development pressures (where the building site is more valuable than the stadium) and it's tough even in a well run club. The PL raises expectations and standards (which is great) but it's an expensive game for the lower leagues - even if their only ambition is for their pitch or their dressing room or the fan toilets not to be an embarrassment in comparison.

The ambition now has to be that clubs can't fail because of the whims, the greed, or the corruption of an individual owner. If a club tumbles down the pyramid because the crowds now can only afford class E players instead of class C - then that's sad but natural. What's happening now doesn't look natural or inevitable at all.
 

jojojo

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Don’t agree with this clown often as I think he is so far up city’s arse it stinks and no one calls him out for it but interesting article from Samuel

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7408485/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Dont-blame-elite-demise-Bury-fall-business.html
I agree with him on the general principle - there's no point in the PL bailing out badly run lower League clubs. It's not only a potential licence to act stupidly, it could act as a disincentive to clubs who act responsibly.

The bit where I think he's being disingeneous if not dishonest is where he says it's the same as it always was. It isn't. Club fixed costs are rising and club income from transfer fees is falling.

Wage costs are rising - so it pays better to sit on the bench of a PL team than start in the Championship. It pays better to be a youth team player perpetually on loan than to play on the lower leagues. This is different.

The real estate value of a stadium site being worth more than a stadium isn't new, but it's getting worse, particularly for old clubs who are still in their old locations. Also getting worse is the pressure on local councils to release land for development. They can talk about not giving consent - but how many years does a stadium have to be empty for, before a planning appeal that was being opposed on principle get accepted.

Samuel doesn't want to ban owners from putting money in. But what about banning an owner from mortgaging/selling all the club's assets. Or insisting they publish full audited accounts, compete with a list of major fees/salaries paid, debts accrued and revenue sources. Too onerous for private businesses? That's the thing - football clubs aren't just another private business, they're part of the social glue that connects communities and generations and they should be treated as such.
 

RedRover

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The actual attendances in L1/2 aren't much different to the attendances in the old D3/4 of the 70s. What has changed is the amount of money in the PL, and the ripple down effect on the lower leagues. The financial difference between the levels of the pyramid are now massive - the temptation to gamble to get promotion is
huge and the cost of failure can send a club into a debt spiral very quickly.

It is possible to run a pro team with the kind of income that Bury get. What isn't possible is to have an owner who's willing to gamble the club's existence to overspend on wages or anything else or who'd mortgage the ground, the ticket office and every other tangible asset along the way and pay 40% introduction fees for the privilege. When that owner in his real business has a business plan that relies on getting new investors to pay the returns guaranteed to the old investors, it should ring alarm bells. Bury had that kind of owner for 5 years without the EFL stepping in to call a halt.

Unfortunately any significant change relies on a bunch of private businesses that comprise the EFL insisting that accounts are transparent, mortgages/loans are explicitly stated, arrangement fees are declared and so on - with sanctions against the owners, that kick in long before any action gets taken against the club.
That may very well be true, but it doesn't really offer any solutions. Football is a different animal to the 60's and the 70's - no doubt, and the money involved at the top has an effect. I'm unsure however what you do about that.

The EFL find themselves in a tough position. Once someone owns a club, what can they do? In terms of due diligence, short of asking for huge sums of money to be provided "up-front" I'm not sure how they can protect the club. As I said, most owners of lower league clubs come in when the club is in financial distress. Those people will often be unable (or just as likely, and understandably unwilling) to put up millions of pounds in cash to to guarantee long term survival. If teh EFL refuse to sanction a takeover on those grounds - perhaps from a genuine owner, or even a supporters trust all that does is guarantee the club will fail.

I suspect that a lot of the clubs in the lower leagues are on the edge a lot of the time. There are numerous factors probably unique to each club. Some owers are better businessmen than others, they may have a better catchment area or bigger crowds.

In short I don't know how you legislate for this.
 

roseguy64

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Best thing for Bury would be for the new owner to just pay maintenance on staff and the ground for next season and see if the EFL will allow them to be relegated to League 2 then sign new players in May for next season. Much easier than a new club starting from non-league.

Not sure how possible that is though
 

jojojo

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The phrase brazen it out comes to mind.

The thing about Dale's statement is that there is a lot of truth in it. The body that removed the club's EFL status doesn't have the authority to do it. The club didn't get its academy subsidy payments even though the academy operated as normal.

The trouble is, this is Dale talking and history suggests he has Steve Dale's best interests at heart not those of the staff, customers and real creditors of whichever failing business he is planning to steer into liquidation next.

There was a lot of difference between how Bury and Bolton were treated by the EFL. However a lot of that can be put down to the fact Bolton was in administration and the EFL trusted the adminstrator to handle the money. Whereas they thought if they gave Bury money, they'd be giving it to Dale.
 
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jojojo

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The EFL have responded by saying they'll discuss the possibility of Bury re-joining the EFL next season, in L2. I'm pretty sure they'll get a mixed reception but if Steve Day agrees to sell and a buyer is found, then the offer of a L2 place to the club could help close the deal.

Meanwhile Bury Council amongst others keep issuing statements pointing out that even under the new "release more land" planning rules, sports stadiums are explicitly protected from any development (other than for the creation of another sports stadium).

There's also a fraud investigation underway, courtesy of Greater Manchester Police - probably related to the previous owner Stewart Day and his associated businesses, but hopefully sniffing around closely enough to make Day want to get out quick.

There's also an investigation of the insolvency agreement/CVA and in particular whether the £7m debt bought by Steve Dale's (de facto) son-in-law for £70k two days before the meeting, should have had the full £7m of voting rights at the CVA meeting. Currently that's just a trade association investigation, but who knows what the future holds.
 

DavidDeSchmikes

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Not Bolton or Bury related, but......


Macclesfield must return to court for the sixth time in six months after a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill was adjourned until 23 October.