Bury at risks of expulsion from the English Football League as C&N Sporting Risk’s suggested acquisition dropped just 90 minutes before a league-set deadline for completion of the agreement.
League One club’s owner,Steve Dale, was originally given until midnight on Friday to prove he could pay off Bury’s debts and fund the next two seasons or find someone who could.
But just Two hours renaming before deadline expired, Dale told reporters he had sold the club to C&N, a London-based sports analytics company set up by former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell’s son Rory Campbell and former Barnet caretaker manager Henry Newman, who met while scouting for West Ham.
The news had appeared a rescue fans Bury prayed for and the EFL extended its deadline on Saturday morning to 5 pm on Tuesday to offer more time to Dale and C&N to finish the agreement.
However, C&N was disappointed not to be given more time and issued a statement ahead of the 5pm deadline to say it simply cannot proceed – a decision that leaves the 134-year-old club needing a miracle.
“We are grateful to the EFL for the short extension they granted to us so that we could continue with due diligence, and for their acceptance of our proof of funds capable of mounting a credible takeover. This has been worked on around the clock by our team and advisors for the past 72 hours ”C&N said in a statement.
“As part of our due diligence, we set ourselves a list of key criteria regarding the CVA, the ground and the overall financial state of the club that had to be met in order for us to be satisfied that we have enough knowledge to proceed with the takeover. The complexities involved in each of these matters escalated and continue to do so.
“It is therefore with regret that we have decided not to proceed with the takeover of Bury FC. This decision has not been taken lightly. We fully understand the importance of the club to the community and it is with this in mind that we have informed the EFL of our decision at the earliest possible opportunity.”
English Football League in response said: “The league continues to be in discussions with Bury FC in advance of today’s 5pm deadline and will provide a further update as appropriate.”
Earlier on Tuesday, former Bury director Joy Hart said the club’s battle to preserve their English Football League status was ‘looking fairly positive’.
Hart, who protested at Gigg Lane on Friday ahead of the original deadline, told BBC Radio Manchester: “It’s all looking fairly positive, but one can never tell until the final whistle, as my father used to say.
“I’m expecting anything, but hoping for the very, very best. The emotion is still raw. Your stomach turns over every morning that you wake up. We hope the EFL let us live for another 134 years. It’s very emotional.”
Wanderers are on the brink of liquidation, with their 145-year history hanging in the balance while quibbles continue over legal paperwork.
A agreement to sell the Trotters to favorite Football Ventures bidders collapsed on Saturday morning – despite nearly agreed hours previously – and on Monday administrator Paul Appleton had advised he would begin closing down the club on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the EFL also gave the club until 5 pm today to prove that an agreement has been made or to provide reasons why they need an extension, otherwise a notice will be issued for their formal withdrawal from the league.