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Advice for a new phoenix club, from the Shaymen


Pliny Harris

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From last night, we heard the news that Bury fans were dreading for many months and many "final" deadlines. For the first time since 1992, a club have been kicked out of the football league. And because of that, for the umpteenth time, it is likely that Bury will be competing in the future under the books of a different company. The same fans, hopefully at the same ground, will be watching a phoenix club in a much lower league.

Because this axe has been hanging for so long, I was surprised to see so many Bury fans cutting their mourning short to discuss what they want from their club from now on. Not only the league it'll be in, but how it will be run to give the best hopes of a return to the football league after a 125-year stay there, without the boom-and-bust of the previous generation of custodians.

I didn't quite realise how practical a bunch Bury fans were, but it's a good place to start. Those who helped set up AFC Wimbledon have been talking, and although I have issues with them here and there, Wimbledon won several promotions in little over a decade to become soundly-run, punching their weight despite being fan-powered, with a return to their original catchment area lined up.

After 11 full seasons since Halifax Town AFC was liquidated, what advice would Shaymen impart on the Shakers? What's gone right and what's gone wrong? What should they get sorted from the outset? Marks deducted if you start arguing with someone else over the time-worn consortium/Plan B debate. Just imagine you're stepping into the deep non-league unknown for the first time, with what you know today from Town and others.

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What is the crack with Gigg Lane at the moment?

Who owns it, and can any new formed club keep playing there?

To me the advise I'd give for anyone looking at setting up a new club is not to consider what league you are in at this point, but work out where the clubs new base is going to be. Ideally it needs to be on the same site as the old club - as that will keep the connections alive. If it can't be based at Gigg Lane, then somewhere else in the area of Bury is key. 

Sorting the ground issue out to me seems the smartest and most logical place to start. Get that locked in as a "base" and its a foundation to work from. If Gigg Lane isn't available, then sorting out somewhere suitable that is is wise - is the new place fit for purpose, going to be owned by the new Bury, shared with others, rented from another club etc....

 

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Stock up on St Mirren bobble hats, avoid the pies at Kendal.

They’ll be back before we know it, good luck to them. 

As Flea says, the ground situation is the main thing. And getting rid of Mr Dale obviously, as technically he still runs the club, they just don’t have a league to play in.

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Irony of ironies. Roles would be reversed with FC United being former tenants at Gigg lane. Had a really great day out at Gigg Lane when Town played FC United there. Great headed winning goal from Simon garner if I remember. Really enjoyed the pre match beers and banter in the supporters club. What a shame some shysters have destroyed the club for some really devoted fans. Feel for them. Hope they bounce back. 

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Use reformation as the opportunity to unify, great things come out of adversity.  Think before you jump on a model.  The fan owned one is the most obvious and attractive one but it also comes with limitations. So if you go down that route, be aware of those limitations, it might mean life never goes beyond the Conference National. Don't trust anybody you don't know, particularly if they are promising the impossible,  they will only want to steel your trousers.  Just look up Tony Abbot and the words 12 year ban to get an example of the sort of character to avoid. 

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Form a fans trust, appoint a committee, know exactly who is doing what and make sure that no individual is in a position to steal from the purse . A financial pool will be needed as will direct communication with the governing bodies of the leagues they may end up playing in . And of course, securing an affordable stadium close to Bury (preferably Giggq Lane)

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I think Bury are in a precarious position , everything was rushed with us as we went at the end of the season and started again the following season .

Even then clubs like Bradford tried to get us to go and support them with discount offers.

Bury will have 12 months with no football , they will probably lose half their fan base if not more through a massive amount of other clubs nearby and those who cannot support another club but find something else to do on a Saturday .

It's a complete disaster and there is a chance that football in Bury will be gone forever.

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They have a well established group in Forever Bury who I'm sure will be ate the forefront of anything.

Their supporters team will be playing AFC Halifax this Saturday in an already scheduled fixture and will be bringing a squad of 20 with them where we hope we can build on the great relationship we have and pass on any advice regarding the 'joys' of a phoenix club. 

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I have in the past knocked Bosomworth along with many others, but what Bury need now is a David Bosomworth. I don't  think many  Town fans realise how lucky we are having David Bosomworth owner of the club. This Bury and Bolton carry on brings sound ownership to the front. Thank you Mr Bosomworth.

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31 minutes ago, Ash said:

They have a well established group in Forever Bury who I'm sure will be ate the forefront of anything.

Their supporters team will be playing AFC Halifax this Saturday in an already scheduled fixture and will be bringing a squad of 20 with them where we hope we can build on the great relationship we have and pass on any advice regarding the 'joys' of a phoenix club. 

There's 20 extra for The Shay on Saturday afternoon then ! 

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40 minutes ago, dj funky said:

Yes remember when  Bradford City tried to steal our fans with discount offers so just hope we go up and get some revenge on them next season.

be nice if it was another trading places if i'm honest

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45 minutes ago, ysb said:

be nice if it was another trading places if i'm honest

We could then offers them discount season tickets .

Doncaster have gone in the right direction since that programme and we have gone the other way , if they filmed something similar today it would be called "Different World's".

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I think the ground is still owned by the club. In which case the creditors will presumably be expecting it to be sold as part of the liquidation. I doubt anyone will want to buy Bury FC ltd now so is liquidation inevitable? Then start a new company FC Bury!!!

Who owns the new company shares? Where are they going to play? Which League will take them - NPL?

Its horrendous for the supporters.

Its odd how everyone seems focused on the EFL’s ownership rules, surely what has killed Bury is over reaching expenditure over income. Sure the owners have authorised it but surely the EFL should be scrutinising the wages budget at the start of each season.

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A fans group is the first step. I'm sure that's already been arranged but if not it needs to be done ASAP.

Find out who owns the ground and whether Bury will be able to play there next season. If not, they've got a fair amount of time to arrange a new temporary home.

Find out which league you'll start in.

Is the club going into liquidation and if not, would it be better if it did to give a phoenix club a clean slate. This is obviously something for fans to decide.

Lots of things still up in the air at the moment but once all those issues are finalised I personally think after the shysters that have taken over their club in the past that a fans owned club would be the best way forward. That is unless there's a small group of local businessmen who have the club at heart to take over.

As others have mentioned FCUM would be a good model to follow but it all depends on the outcome of the issues raised above. If the majority of the debt can be written off and Bury start off in our league, then Bury FC would probably be your preferred model rather than a phoenix club. 

Lots to sort out first before Pro active advice can really be given to be honest. Once that's sorted they'll know the best course of action to take.

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29 minutes ago, monk said:

We could then offers them discount season tickets .

Doncaster have gone in the right direction since that programme and we have gone the other way , if they filmed something similar today it would be called "Different World's".

yeah donny have done well,but no reason we can't do the same given time

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6 hours ago, born to moan said:

I have in the past knocked Bosomworth along with many others, but what Bury need now is a David Bosomworth. I don't  think many  Town fans realise how lucky we are having David Bosomworth owner of the club. This Bury and Bolton carry on brings sound ownership to the front. Thank you Mr Bosomworth.

Absolutely spot on. It will be a sad day for the club when he walks away. Let's hope it's later rather than sooner.

An honest chairman is worth his weight in gold.

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12 hours ago, Riders of Rohan said:

Its odd how everyone seems focused on the EFL’s ownership rules, surely what has killed Bury is over reaching expenditure over income. Sure the owners have authorised it but surely the EFL should be scrutinising the wages budget at the start of each season.

I think the focus on the EFL's ownership rules is with regards the fit and proper persons or due diligence which is supposedly carried out on a potential new owner. This Dale bloke has something like 60 liquidated companies against his name which to anyone with an ounce of sense would see a red flag.

I received the below from the Football Supporters Association and was asked to forward it on to our Chairman. They are trying to get all football club chairmen to agree to it but I wont waste my time.

I think I agree with all of it. Football clubs have to become community assets; transparent to its members rather than be the playthings of wealthy (or otherwise) businessmen.

  • Engagement with supporters is key to ensuring transparency and good governance, and they should be involved at a local and national level.
  • Regulatory responsibilities should be undertaken by an independent body under the remit of the FA, rather than the individual leagues themselves.
  • A rolling review of club finances should take place, with periodically updated sustainable business plans, to help identify problems before they become insurmountable.
  • A strengthened single owners and directors test, combining the best elements of existing ones at Premier League, EFL and National League level, should be instituted.
  • Each time a significant transfer of ownership (25% or more) of a club takes place, that person should be required to pass the test, and directors of clubs should be required to demonstrate they have the necessary skills and experience for the role.
  • There should be an absolute prohibition on offering club property as security unless in connection with a capital expenditure project, such as a new stand or training facility.
  • There should also be a prohibition on moving a club out of the area with which it is traditionally associated.
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