Promotion-chasing Bury were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by League Two strugglers Cambridge United last night.
Goals from Alex Jones, David Amoo and George Maris eased the U’s relegation worries with a first win in five games and condemned the hosts to a second home defeat in four days.
The disappointing defeat for the Shakers dented their automatic promotion hopes and came amidst reports the club was facing financial issues.
A club statement issued before the match said. ‘Following on from the takeover of the Club, some unforeseen circumstances have led to interim internal financial restrictions.’
The exact nature of the restrictions remains unclear, but they led to players and staff not receiving their March salaries on time. Wages were due to go through on Friday but have yet to be paid.
Chairman Steve Dale bought Bury in December 2018 from Stewart Day, who left the club after five-and-a-half years.
Bury had been in financial difficulty before Dale’s arrival. Reports suggested the players’ November wages were delayed before they were eventually paid on the day of Day’s departure.
Meanwhile, the club has been handed a winding-up petition by former head coach Chris Brass in a notice posted on the London Gazette on Tuesday.
Former Bury defender Brass was moved from the club’s head of football operations to become their head coach in December 2016, replacing David Flitcroft, before Lee Clark’s appointment in February 2017.
“The chairman and the board of directors remain fully committed to resolving the situation as quickly as possible, to ensure that the club can move forward and maintain our push for promotion,’ the statement added.
An announcement that entry to last night’s game would be cash only added fuel to rumours the club was in severe financial difficulty.
We apologise if this causes supporters any inconvenience.
— Bury Football Club (@buryfcofficial) April 2, 2019
Bury are third in League Two with six games of the season remaining.
Bury have had a great season and played some lovely football but has their success been built on sand?
Their location in Greater Manchester means even in a successful season attracting supporters through the gate is difficult with only 3,386 at last nights game.
They have a big squad and retained many of the players who took them down from League One last season in a determined bid to bounce straight back.
It will be a shame for supporters if the continued and past mismanagement of the club derails their promotion bid.
On the same day, the revelation that Macclesfield Town was also struggling to pay March salaries, you do wonder whether, for the sake of lower league football, the EFL need to intervene and set tighter financial controls on clubs to preserve what are historic and important local institutions.