Terrace Thoughts 43, 09/08/2019

Righto, my pre-season optimism has evaporated – but I’m not going to make any further comment, given the size of my postage stamp, other than to say that my patience – and that of many others – will soon be stretched beyond breaking point. And before anyone comes in with the ‘we’ve only had two games’ argument – we’ve started as we have for the last few seasons and it has not then gone onto improve. We’ve been patient. We’ve paid our money. We’ve been accused of criticising players. We’ve been told that we don’t know anything. So forgive me – or don’t – I can call ‘enough is enough’ whenever I want to.

So what, I hear you say. Fair point. But what happens if Mr Singh runs out of patience?

Anyway, at least we still have some chance of a future; look at poor Bury and the latest – the EFL are threatening to kick Bury out of the league after Sheffield Wednesday suspension!

Bury Football Club have been told they face expulsion from the EFL on August 23 unless they satisfy the league’s demand for financial information.

The club was told on Wednesday afternoon that they must “meet all outstanding requirements of the league’s insolvency policy” or face the withdrawal of their ‘golden share’.

The Carabao Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday, which had been due to take place at Hillsborough on Tuesday, August 13, has now been suspended.

The Shakers’ opening two league games of the season against MK Dons and Accrington Stanley have also been shelved as the EFL continue to demand information from club owner Steve Dale on how he intends to pay bills, going forward.

Dale insists he has provided the requisite details and has accused league officials of “throwing hurdles” in front of the club.

A statement from the EFL read: “Bury FC’s scheduled Carabao Cup fixture with Sheffield Wednesday has been suspended by the EFL Board after the Club failed to provide the additional specific detail requested in relation to a number of its financial obligations.

“The club had been set a 5pm deadline on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, by the league who were seeking further information into how they planned to meet its commitments in respect of football creditor debts, payment to unsecured creditors as part of the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), alongside source and sufficiency of funding for season 2019/20.

“Following extensive discussions and correspondence between the club’s ownership and the league – the additional information provided lacks the clarity required and as a result of the league not being able to defer the decision any later than today, the club’s Carabao Cup tie on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 will not take place as scheduled in accordance with Carabao Cup rules.

“The EFL will continue to concentrate its efforts on working constructively with the Club and Mr Dale to obtain the detail required to avoid any further suspensions.

“However, the EFL Board is of the strong opinion that it cannot continue to suspend fixtures indefinitely and, after Wednesday’s deadline for information was passed without a successful resolution, it will now lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal of membership of the EFL.

“Bury were served the notice of withdrawal of membership on 25 July 2019 and it has remained suspended until today (August 8, 2019).

“As per the league’s Articles of Association, this will now give the club 14 days (until August 23, 2019) to meet all outstanding requirements of the league’s insolvency policy or its membership of the EFL will be withdrawn.”

EFL Executive Chair, Debbie Jevans CBE, added: “Despite continued efforts, regular communication and dialogue with Mr Dale and his team, the required evidence has not been forthcoming. Albeit regretfully, the Board has been left with no choice but to take the action it has.”

I feel a Private Fraser moment coming on……’they’re doomed, I tell ye’.

And still over on that side of the Pennines we see that Bolton Wanderers have halted ticket sales for tomorrow’s home game against Coventry City!

Saturday’s fixture is the first game Bolton will host since April, after their final home game of last season against Brentford was called off.

The Trotters, who are in administration and have not sold any season tickets, are yet to give a reason for the delay.

In a statement given later on Wednesday, Bolton said the game would still go ahead and they would issue a further update on ticket sales on Thursday (yesterday).

As we all know, it has been an uncertain summer for the club since their relegation from the Championship, with a protracted takeover yet to be finalised as well as having to start the season with a 12-point deduction.

A sale to the Football Ventures group was expected to go through before the start of the season, but remains unresolved.

Bolton’s first match of the season against Wycombe had been under threat of suspension, until the English Football League confirmed the club had provided sufficient evidence of financial viability.

Before then, a trio of pre-season friendly matches were cancelled and players went five months without salaries – although it has been reported that contracted senior players received payments last Friday.

What a mess! And I’m not even going to look at how many players they actually have to call upon.

And in both of these cases, the fans and legacies of these once famous institutions have been taken to the brink by the actions of owners. I guess that most football supporters have read the tweets of Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt (@AndyhHolt) – his views on the EFL tests of potential club owners, and of the crazy finances seemingly available to some clubs, are pretty much nailed on – and the telling point is that no football fan can assume that his or her club is safe.

And with that pretty sobering thought I am off to the pub – to think about the early start to go to Maidenhead – or the lie in.

Toodle pip

John

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