What has happened to some of the clubs in League One and how has it been allowed to happen? With only hours left until the much-anticipated start of the 2019-2020 EFL season, here is why League One has become a very sad sign of the times:
- Bury’s opening game against the MK Dons won’t go ahead because of the Shakers dire financial position; they now have days to give the EFL reassurances about their financial viability or face expulsion from the league
- Bolton’s game at Wycombe Wanderers was facing a similar fate, but the game seems to be going ahead. Again, Bolton are struggling to prove to the EFL that they will be financially viable this season
- Coventry City’s long running saga with the Sisu’s and the new owners of the Ricoh Arena means they are being forced to play their home matches 21 miles down the road at Birmingham City’s St Andrews ground
- Fleetwood will the start the season being led by Joey Barton, a manager who has been charged with assaulting a rival manager last season at Barnsley, and who also has a string of offences to his name
- Oxford United have a previous chairman who still maintains ownership of the Kassam Stadium but refuses to allow the sale of Singha Beer there, which is the logo carried on the club shirt.
Whilst some of the above problems are very different in nature, for Bury and Bolton Wanderers, their very existence remains in grave danger. In fairness to League One, neither club was in that division last season, they have just come to join the party.
Bury and Bolton have already been placed into administration, starting the new season with a 12-point deduction that means they are as good as already relegated. Bolton currently have less than 10 registered players too and nobody at the club, including players and staff, have been paid for nearly six months. The players they do have registered refused to play in any of the pre-season games until they received some income, but none was forthcoming from the administrators.
At Bury, who achieved League Two promotion last season against all the financial odds, they have lost their manager and a host of players. Owner, Steve Dale, who only took control last December, realised he had not bought what he thought he had, and was forced to put them into administration in April, just as promotion was achieved.
Meanwhile at Coventry City, they remain in a permanent spiral of self-destruction. Their utterly hated owners, Sisu, first sold the Ricoh Arena then seemed unable to reach a deal with the new owners, so have decided to play home games at Birmingham City.
It does beg the question what the people who run the English Football League have done about the chaos and to help their members? Well not much. They have not prevented these incompetent owners to take control of critical public and community institutions.
It really is a sad state of affairs for some of English football’s oldest clubs – at a time when Premier League clubs are splashing millions on yet more overrated talent.