Ah Crap. Here We Go Again!
by The Boy Holty
"It has transpired that the owner Stewart Day’s company has borrowed £1m, secured on the Gigg Lane ground, at an annual interest rate of 138%" so says Guardian sports reporter David Conn and then he goes on to unravel what appears to be some desperate and incredibly foolish loans taken out by Stewart Day. It is alleged that Day has taken out an astounding one million pound loan at a ridiculous interest rate and guaranteed it against Bury FC themselves, in other words the ground, that hallowed piece of turf and its surrounding stands and buildings so if it all goes tits up, then there will be houses built where the football ground now stands.
Stuart Cook, spokesman for a group of Bury minor shareholders, commented: “Whilst the improvements of the last year are encouraging, we are worried that the spending appears to be from money borrowed against the ground, at very high cost. There is a lack of transparency and accountability which would give us assurance about this"
The club has since responded in a statement in which 'The board' states that the loan is NOT guaranteed against the ground. They say that the loan was related to a property transaction which won't cost the club anything but will earn revenue for Bury FC in the future, not only that but it will be paid off in the next few weeks. The statement makes the quite reasonable assertion that such transactions are always going to take place and that making them public would be counter-productive.
The board also goes on to say that their aim is to make the club self-sufficient and to avoid any financial instability in the future.
There's an unpleasant air of distrust around the Bury fans at the minute. On one hand David Conn is probably one of the best investigative sports journalists working in the UK at the moment and he has no axe to grind, nor does he have any reason to make any of this up. On the other hand the statement released by Stewart Day and the board is quite comforting, if a little angry. So where does that leave us?
Well I've been saying for ages that the next five or ten years could be the best and the last in the club's history, and this episode has done nothing to change my opinion. Whether these loans threaten the club, or help the club, or whether Bury FC is built on solid foundations, or whether Day is a con man or not, Bury Football Club cannot maintain attendances sufficient to sustain championship football, and that is where Day aims to be. This seems short-sighted to me but the optimist in me thinks that the investment from companies like JD Sports and others might see us through, at least in the short and medium term, although long term it cannot succeed. This is Bury, not Real Madrid, we are not and never will be an attractive business proposition.
Its very good to be able to watch a winning team, a great manager and good players playing good football, but all we want is for the club to still exist when we're old codgers and for our kids and grandkids to be coming to Gigg in a hundred years time whether its to watch Premier league, Championship or fourth division football, and not having some unscrupulous businessman from out of town come in and use the club for his own gain. I really hope that's not the case but the first time I set eyes on Stewart Day I thought that he looked as shady as they come and I still don't trust him. I hope he proves me wrong.