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Saturday 7 December 2019

Sad fans prepare to Bury their club

END OF THE ROAD: A fan reacts outside Bury’s Gigg Lane. Pic: Reuters
END OF THE ROAD: A fan reacts outside Bury’s Gigg Lane. Pic: Reuters

A full 16 years as a professional footballer in England should have prepared Dubliner Stephen Dawson for just about anything.

But the much-travelled midfielder is today, like the rest of the players contracted to crisis club Bury FC, staring at the abyss, wondering what's next.

Bury have not played a game this season and will probably never play a game of football again, not in the same guise at least, as the club have effectively been put out of the game, killed off by greed and mismanagement.

Last season was a memorable one for the club, as Bury won promotion to League One from England's fourth tier. And there was a very green hue to the squad last season, four Irish-born players in the squad which won promotion (Dubliners Dawson, Joe Murphy, Jay O'Shea and Cork lad Eoghan O'Connell).

But it was all built on sand. All four of the Irish players had joined Bury in the summer of 2017, lured by the large contracts on offer.

They and their team-mates delivered on the pitch but it was a dream that Bury could not afford. Money had already started to run out last season, the PFA called in at one stage to fund salaries.

Financial

The League of Ireland looked like a basket case with the financial errors made by clubs in the boom years but Bury were on another planet: the club itself and the ground mortgaged off to foreign-based vulture funds, until there was nothing left to salvage.

Dawson was forced to go public with his plight last week, a very tense radio debate on Talk Sport with club owner Steve Dale, who insulted Coolock lad Dawson by saying he did not believe the player's claim that the non-payment of wages had left Dawson on the brink of homelessness.

The players and the supporters of Bury FC suffer the loss and football moves on.

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