Neil Warnock admits he once stepped in something nasty at Bury, but he is clear his former club has to be kept alive.
Warnock was Bury manager 20 years ago – another lifetime from his current job with Cardiff City – and admits it was one of the few jobs he looks back on without much fondness.
But as the League One side face expulsion from the Football League at midnight tonight, Warnock insists the game should ensure the Shakers do not go under.
Warnock managed Bury from June 1998 to December 1999 when they were in the old Division One.
“It was my least favourite football club, if I’m honest,” he says.
“All I remember about Bury was picking up the dog poo on the training ground before we trained. It was that bad, but we had a good group of lads.”
“Nobody wants to see a football club die and it shouldn’t die. It is criminal what’s happening.
“I just hope that if they go under they are not allowed to sell the land and build houses. I think there is an ulterior motive sometimes and if a club does go under I don’t think anybody should make a profit out of it.
“I’ve never been a fan of anyone buying a club for a pound, because there are so many things in the cupboard that you don’t find out about.
“I think the EFL should have a rigorous check when a club is sold for a pound so they know about all the debts – it isn’t rocket science.
“The owner is having offers for the club. But he still wants to sell it for a certain amount so he ends up getting £1m for his money.
“I don’t think he is helping in that matter and I’m disappointed the EFL hasn’t looked more into that.”
Controversial Bury owner Steve Dale wants at least £1million to walk away from the crisis-hit club.
Dale, a Cheshire-based businessman, bought Bury for £1 in December after previous owner Stewart Day ran up huge debts following years of overspending at Gigg Lane.
But having initially claimed to buy the club for “philanthropic” reasons, Dale put Bury into administration this summer and engineered a debt repayment scheme, known as a company voluntary arrangement, that would see creditors paid only 25 per cent of what they are owed, with him and his associates being the main beneficiaries.
His plan, however, depended on Bury being allowed to start the season – with a small squad and skeleton staff – and the English Football League handing over the club’s share of its central income.
That, as desperate Bury fans are well aware, has not happened and the 134-year-old club now have until one minute to midnight on Friday to prove they can pay the debts and fund the season or find a new owner who can.
If they fail to do so, they will become the first club expelled from the league since Maidstone in 1992 and be liquidated.
On Friday morning Dale called on fans and other interested parties to pledge a total of £2.7m to save the club.
Having previously greeted each EFL postponement of a Bury game – five league fixtures and an EFL Cup tie so far this season – with an angry statement on the club website, Dale announced he was willing to listen to offers for the club early last week.