If you’re a keen football fan, then you will have seen the unfortunate story unfold of Bury Football Club failing to secure investment, and thus having to finally close their turnstiles on 29 August 2019 - RIP Bury FC.
Bury F.C. was inspired by Aiden Arrowsmith, a local enthusiast of two local Bury church football teams. In 1885 Arrowsmith proposed them joining together and creating Bury F.C, so they leased some land at ‘Gigg Lane’ from the Earl of Derby and the rest they say is history.
So, when this story unfolded, I wondered how on earth then does a club with over 135 years of history and an obsessed fan base of over 12,500 (this is a big number for a local club team in the lowest professional English league) end this way?
A cursory analysis of the financials of Bury F.C. online showed that there was a lot of money owed and not enough being generated. A serious problem for any business. HMRC demanded to be paid first, then staff then suppliers. It seems to me that one form of action would have been to prepare for a series of Negotiations and make some thought through clear proposals.
If HMRC demands payment first, then would they accept an agreed fixed sum per month instead of a one-off payment, time is a wonderful variable?
Other suppliers of the official kit and merchandise, food and drink, security, car park attendants all of whom need paying. Could they have all been asked to be more flexible with their payments terms in exchange for future orders and commitments (providing of course trust in the business plan could be established)?
Let’s suppose the buyers of Bury F.C. agreed to meet with each of their suppliers then we would recommend planning an ‘Opening Statement’ to include the value they bring to the club, the quality of the produce, their commitment to deliver on time, and more importantly the commitments Bury would be prepared to make to incentivise their support.
Be brave with your proposal but be realistic. Look at the problem from the other side of the table and what you would want to hear if the (football) boot was on the other foot.
All of this is history now of course. But whilst history may not repeat, it certainly rhymes with the past, Bolton may need to get their ducks in a row in the not too distant future.
Bury won’t be the same without ‘Gigg Lane’. It was my home town growing up and I could regularly see the floodlights from my bedroom window, nevertheless, there is always the famous market and their Black Pudding.