The possible last day of Bury FC
Photo by Pat Hurst/PA Images via Getty Images

It's the one thing that no football fan could ever fathom happening to their club, the possibility of seeing the team that they love disappear from the footballing pyramid, the only remnant of the history a deserted stadium. What once was a place that was packed full of people on a Saturday, could turn into a ghost town.

Where did it all go wrong?

Steve Dale bought the club from previous owner Stewart Day in December of 2018, and stated that his aims were to 'establish Bury as a stable and self-sufficient League One side'. For the fans, things looked on the up. On the pitch, Ryan Lowe was leading the Shakers to promotion back to League One at the first time of asking; culminating in them finishing second in the division.

Whilst this was happening, however, the club were hit by repercussions of the overspending and financial mismanagement of the previous regime, and owner Dale put the club which he had previously bought for £1 up for sale just before they gained promotion. Unable to clear many debts owed to various entities, including a sizeable tax bill for which HMRC filed a winding up order on the club, to fans the future of the club looked bleak at best.

In July, the club entered a CVA (Company Voluntary Agreement) meaning that they would only have to pay 25% of their debts to their creditors, however they were penalised with a 12 point reduction by the EFL for doing so. Despite the club being up for sale, Dale did not accept any offers, sparking outrage with the fans who just wanted to see their historic football club.

Unable to prove to the EFL that they have the finances to hold their matches, each of the club's league fixtures and one cup fixture this season have been suspended, with the club not only 12 points down but also without being able to play any of their fixtures.

On Tuesday, The BBC reported that the club's owner had rejected an offer made by former Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite. It is understood that this would have secured Bury's survival, but Dale believes he can get a better offer for the club and himself.

The Future

It is hard to see what may happen in an uncertain future for the club. They could be saved by Dale accepting an offer from a guardian angel investor at the 11th hour, to secure the club's future. There is also a very large chance that in the future their may be no Bury FC in the football league, and if they cannot sort the situation out by the deadline this will be what will happen. Bury will not be allowed to apply to re-enter football of any form until the 2020/21 season, meaning more waiting for fans if the possibility of a phoenix club happens.

If the club does face expulsion, then League One will become a 23-team league, meaning that only three clubs will face relegation. Four promotion places would remain from League Two with only one being relegated, to once again create a full 92.

The situation has proved to be a talking point for many supporters of clubs in the 72, to change the way that football works to not allow situations like this to happen in the future. Thousands of people have already called for an independent football regulator in the English leagues, and many believe that the 'Fit and proper persons' test should be revised to see it work better than in the past.

If recent weeks have shown anything however, it is that the club is an important part of the Lancastrian town's community, and that its supporters and residents will not just let it die. With the strong backing of the fans, it would not be unreasonable to predict the possibility of a phoenix club similar to that of Rangers FC starting, and slowly rising its way back through the pyramid.