POLITICAL leaders have spoken of their devastation at the news that Bury FC have been expelled from the English Football League (EFL).

The figures have also criticised the EFL’s move and maintain that the club should have been given more time to close a deal.

Bury North MP James Frith said: “I am gutted at this devastating news.

“Both Bury FC and the town have lost a social, economic and cultural capital with the loss of our beloved club and its the removal from the EFL after 134 years of proud history and rich heritage.

“It is my view that Bury has been the victim of forces out of our control that conspired against us, including the absence of a national regulator for lower league football ­— which is something I will be raising in Parliament.

“Despite Herculean efforts from me and my team, the supporters and fellow MPs; the bloc doing a deal were a small number of financiers whose only interest in the club is the interest rate they apply to the debt ­— a rate that would make a loan shark blush.

“From here I will be speaking with others about what to do next. This is not over.”

His sentiments were shared by the deputy leader of Bury Council, Councillor Tamoor Tariq.

He said: “This is dreadful news for Bury FC, for the town as a whole, and for all sports fans.

“For more than a century the club has been a crucial part of our cultural identity and our town’s history. Like other businesses in Bury, the club also provides employment and brings income to the local economy.

“We call on the EFL, even at this late stage, to allow the reported 3 or 4 other potential bids enough time to be properly considered. We feel that the EFL’s tight deadline was unreasonable, especially given that C&N backed out with barely an hour to go.

“Bury FC is worth fighting for, and the EFL’s decision will have a lasting and damaging impact on our borough. We plead with them to hear us at our time in need.

“The council has been doing everything it can to help secure the future of Bury FC, holding ongoing dialogue with the club, the EFL and with the latest prospective buyers C&N.

“Unfortunately, the council is not in the position to buy the club or secure its financial position.

“Whatever happens now, our hope is that the club itself can be saved and come back stronger in the years to come.”

Councillor James Daly, Bury’s Conservative group leader, added: “Bury FC has been treated absolutely appallingly by the EFL and to punish a football club and its supporters for the actions of current and former owners seems to be grossly unfair.

“The EFL should have given the club more time and I believe if it had an owner would have been found.”

Councillor Tim Pickstone, Bury’s Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “We’re devastated by this terrible news. The football club is such an important part of life in Bury that it is difficult to imagine the town without it.

“Hopefully something can happen for the future but at the moment our thoughts are with everyone involved in the club, the fans and the loyal staff and players.”

Support has also come from politicians from outside the borough, including Angela Rayner, the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne.

Taking to Twitter, the shadow secretary of state for eduction said: “Extremely sorry to hear of the news tonight of Bury FC who were founded in 1885 and now out of the EFL, a wonderful community club with 134 years of history behind it, a truly sad day for football fans everywhere.”

And Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “It’s desperately sad that Bury has been expelled from the football league, sad for the fans and the town.

“It’s more than just a football club, it’s an institution in the community.”

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