Bury's expulsion from the EFL: MP calls for League Two spot for the Shakers in 2020-21

Bury North MP James Frith addressed Shakers fans who turned up at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon
James Frith addressed Shakers fans who turned up at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon

Bury North MP James Frith has requested talks with EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans to reconsider an idea of the Shakers being reinstated - and to play a level down in League Two in 2020-21.

The notion was first brought up prior to the League One club being expelled completely from the EFL on Wednesday.

"It was explicitly suggested," Frith told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek show on Sunday.

"I spoke to Debbie Jevans about that as a call for some lateral thinking."

Bury's 125-year membership of the Football League was ended after a proposed takeover bid from potential owners C&N Sporting Risk collapsed.

Following takeover talks with current club owner Steve Dale that had moved slowly all summer, the North West crisis club had already cancelled their first five league games and been thrown out of the EFL Cup, for non-fulfilment of a first-round fixture.

But the Shakers claim that there were other potential bidders - and Frith says he already knows of one very encouraging potential buyer from the North West.

BBC Sport understands Jevans would welcome the chance for a meeting, having spoken to the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who has been working closely with Frith.

"It's a British-based businessman based in the North West," said Frith. " I have spoken to that person, I believe them to be credible, and they have the proof of funds.

"Andy Burnham has been a brilliant support throughout this. He and myself are jointly seeking a meeting with Debbie Jevans to ask for leniency in what league they return us to - and specifically to League Two from August 2020.

"I will personally take the time to ensure that proposition is thorough and credible and that everyone has peace of mind. And that we can do it without the deathly noise of the ticking clock that we've had in recent weeks.

"We've appealed against the decision and accepted that it has been declined. We believe that [dropping down to League Two] to be a fairer punishment.

"There was an outpouring of support at the ground on Saturday. It has had a huge impact on the town and this is all part of the grieving process.

"We have also written to all the other 71 clubs to ask them to back this call and keep league football at Gigg Lane."

'We haven't had a great deal of help' - Wilkinson

Bury manager Paul Wilkinson, who came in to succeed Ryan Lowe as the Shakers new manager on 2 July, supports Frith's idea that the club could spend the next year getting its house in order before coming back one level lower in 2020.

It would, after all, be the level Bury were at until defying the odds to win promotion under Lowe in April.

"It seems ridiculous that something cannot be put in place where they can look at putting us in League Two from next year and give us the chance to rebuild the club," said the 54-year-old former Grimsby Town, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Watford, Middlesbrough and Barnsley striker.

"The hardest thing to take was there was a rescue bid in place that would have sustained the club for years to come," he told Sportsweek.

Paul Wilkinson arrived as Bury manager from Truro City on 2 July
Paul Wilkinson arrived as Bury manager from Truro City on 2 July

"People often come in at the last minute to rescue things. I've been at clubs before where I've seen that.

"Ever since I've been at the club, the object has been to keep Bury in the EFL. Instead, it was 140 years blown out of the window in a couple of days.

"In most walks of life, you get a lot of help, but we haven't had a great deal of help so far. We're out of the EFL and that's it. No talk, no correspondence.

"It's all a bit up in the air. The players have been told by the PFA that a lot become free agents now, as their contracts cease.

"I'm still in work and looking to see what league the club gets put in and whether it will be bought."

Timeline: Bury's expulsion from the EFL

  • 30 July: EFL suspends first Bury game of season as club are asked to prove financial viability
  • 9 Aug: Bury are given until 23:59 BST on Friday, 23 August to provide "clarity required" as third game is called off
  • 20 Aug: Sixth Shakers game suspended, while owner Steve Dale rejects offer to buy club
  • 23 Aug: Bury granted extension until 17:00 BST on Tuesday, 27 August after bid from C&N Sporting Risk
  • 27 Aug: EFL expel Bury after C&N Sporting Risk withdraws interest
  • 29 Aug: Bury claim EFL will not rescind expulsion, despite the club revealing a further £7m takeover bid
  • 30 Aug: Bury write to EFL as club "actively considers" legal action

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