Former Bury director Ian Harrop breaks down at club’s demise and says he will fund investigation to ‘put those to blame behind bars’

28 Aug

A former director of Bury has told talkSPORT he will fund a forensic accounting investigation to discover who is to blame for the club’s financial woes and ‘put them behind bars’

In an emotional interview, Ian Harrop broke down in tears and then levelled a series of serious allegations at club owner Steve Dale as he reacted to the news of the Shakers’ demise.

The Lancashire club’s expulsion from the English Football League was confirmed on Tuesday night after a proposed takeover bid collapsed.

Bury are no longer a professional football club after they were kicked out of the EFL
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London-based C&N Sporting Risk were close to doing a deal, but they pulled out 90 minutes before Tuesday’s 5pm deadline due to concerns over the confusing structure of the club’s debt.

The events of a dramatic day for the Shakers, during which fans gathered outside their Gigg Lane stadium throughout the day and before leaving in tears after the news was confirmed, will almost certainly result in the 134-year-old club being liquidated.

And Harrop, whose association with Bury goes back over 50 years and who helped save the club from administration in 2002, has laid the blame at Dale and the EFL.

Speaking on Extra Time on Wednesday morning, he accused Dale of intending to liquidate Bury when he purchased the club from former chairman Stewart Day for £1 in December, and says he has ‘spoilt the lives of thousands of people’.

“It’s a horrible morning and I can quite honestly say it’s one of the worst days of my life. I’ve been involved with the club for over 50 years and it’s just tragic.

“A lot of people have spent a lot of time to try and save the club, but we’ve just being hitting a brick wall time and time again by the chairman Steve Dale and his predecessors Stewart Day and Glenn Thomas. It’s just been an absolutely dreadful part of our club’s history.

“It was obvious Steve Dale had one objective which was to liquidate the football club, so congratulations Mr Dale, you’ve done that.

“You’ve spoilt the lives of 3,000 people… sorry… it’s emotional for me.

“It’s just a shame. It’s a shame…”

Bury fans were angered by Tuesday’s news, with one telling talkSPORT Steve Dale has ‘devastated the community’
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After recovering his composure, Harrop then revealed his intention to fund an investigation into the club’s financial crisis and ensure those found guilty are punished.

He added: “Steve Dale has set out to do it, whether that’s in conjunction with Mr Day and Mr Thomas, who knows.

“All the financial mismanagement will come out hopefully. It was a disaster waiting to happen. What’s happened is a result of their complete financial mismanagement and the supporters and town now have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

“And I will make this statement on talkSPORT now: I’m willing put up money to pay for forensic annuitants to come into Bury Football Club to find this information to put the people who are responsible for this tonight behind bars.

“It is that serious and I will do that, mark my words.”

Steve Dale took control of Bury in December 2018

Harrop also believes Dale has ‘played the EFL for fools’ and used the club’s bid for League Two promotion last season to mask the fact he never had the funds to run the club.

And he warned both the EFL and Dale to ‘be ready for what’s going to happen’ as he insists this is far from over.

“He has basically played the EFL for fools,” the former director continued.

“When you buy a football club, the EFL insist a new owner provides proof and source of funds within ten days. Mr Dale took over in December of last year, we’re now in August and he has still not done it!

“I understand their stance – how could the EFL have done this last season when Bury were going for promotion? How could they have come in and docked the club points because he hadn’t provided proof of funds?

“But the EFL are absolutely culpable because they have not done what their rules state, that is why we are in this mess.

“He has missed meeting after meeting after meeting with them. He’s just played them for idiots.

“I hope the EFL are ready for what’s going to happen because this is not going to finish tonight, it’s going to go on and on and on. We’re not going to take this lying down.

“We’re a proud Lancashire club and 134 years of history has been destroyed. I use that word strongly.

“We’ve been destroyed by certain individuals and there should be a lot of individuals out there who should be worried, because their time will come.

“Mr Dale’s business model from day one was to liquidate football clubs and sadly today he has succeeded. I hope he sleeps well tonight.”

Listen back to the incredible interview with former Bury director Ian Harrop IN FULL above

Bury captain Neil Danns says owner Steve Dale ‘has destroyed lives’ after club’s EFL expulsion – FULL INTERVIEW

28 Aug

Bury captain Neil Danns joined talkSPORT to react to the ‘unimaginable’ news of the club’s expulsion from the English Football League.

And he had a strong message for owner Steve Dale: “You’ve destroyed lives!”

Bury have been kicked out of the EFL after a dramatic day that will almost certainly result in the 134-year-old club being liquidated.

Bury had their first five games suspended and have now had their membership revoked
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Shakers owner Dale had been given until 5pm on Tuesday to come up with a plan for paying the club’s debts and funding them going forward, or sell Bury to someone who can.

London-based C&N Sporting Risk were close to doing a deal but they devastatingly pulled out 90 minutes before the deadline, amid concerns over the club’s confusing debt structure.

Dale then claimed he had received three new bids for the club, prompting fans, politicians and pundits to call for more time to explore these options – but shortly after 11pm on Tuesday night, the league revealed its verdict.

Club skipper Danns, who joined Bury from Bolton in 2016, joined talkSPORT’s Extra Time shortly after the news was confirmed.

And, asked if he had a message for his chairman, the 36-year-old said: “I would say look what you’ve done.

“This should never have happened. If you thought you could not move this club forward in a positive way you should never have taken over because you’ve literally destroyed lives, because that’s what this football club meant to so many fans.”

He added that “serious questions have got to be asked” about what has happened at the club since Dale purchased Bury from previous owner Stewart Day for just £1 in December.

“When you see the devastation of the fans I just think I have to say something,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it.”

Bury, who sealed promotion from League Two last season, had been unable to kick off their new League One campaign after having their first six fixtures called off by the EFL.

But Danns said the team continued to prepare and were ready to play when called upon – adding to the devastation on Tuesday’s news.

“We have been in as normal, training,” he said. “I don’t think anyone really believed that this was going to happen.

“We were just preparing every single week as though the next game was going to be on, the next game was going to be on.

“For it to happen so suddenly, it’s still really unbelievable. For a club with so much history and that has added so much to the league, for it to just be gone like that is just unimaginable.”

Danns was captain of the side that promotion-winning side last season, and said he is personally heartbroken for supporters who are about to lose their beloved club.

“I’ve come to have a special bond with the fans and created some amazing memories, especially last year,” he added.

Bury supporters gathered outside Gigg Lane on Tuesday before the news was confirmed
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“At this moment in time I just feel for them the most because you have got people who have been going to the game for years. It’s like every story, you go to the game with your Grandad, your Mum, your Dad, your brothers, it’s such a community. It means so much to people.

“For me, it’s starting to hit me harder because I have got young sons myself. I know what it is like to take them to watch my boyhood team Liverpool and the bond that gives us. To see that taken away from future fans is just devastating.

“Football brings not just football on the pitch but it is so much more than that. This whole situation just does not feel real.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Bury captain Neil Danns IN FULL above

Tottenham transfer news: Lo Celso could offer more to Spurs than Real Madrid target Christian Eriksen

4 Jun

Tottenham target Giovani Lo Celso is the perfect replacement for Christian Eriksen and could even be an upgrade on the Danish star, talkSPORT has been told.

The 23-year-old Real Betis playmaker is reportedly attempting to force through a move to White Hart Lane this summer, with Spurs having had two official bids rejected by the Spanish club.

Giovani Lo Celso has starred for Real Betis this season and is wanted by Tottenham
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Lo Celso joined Real Betis on loan from Paris Saint-Germain in August but his form – 16 goals and six assists in 46 games – saw the Spanish club make the move permanent, announcing in April they had triggered a clause to sign him for around £20million at the end of the season.

It is thought he could leave without playing another game.

Betis will not sell on the cheap, though, with the player’s new contract reportedly featuring an £88m buy-out clause.

Meanwhile, Christian Eriksen’s fate is uncertain ahead of the transfer window.

The Denmark international’s current contract expires at the end of next season, and he has been linked with a move to Real Madrid amid reports he is refusing to sign a new one.

But, if he does leave, South America-based football journalist Tim Vickery believes Tottenham will have already-made replacement if they land Lo Celso.

And, with the young star hailing from the same area of Argentina as manager Mauricio Pochettino, he believes Spurs will be his likely destination.

“I watched Lo Celso all the way up for Rosario Central in Argentina – he’s a wonderful playmaker with a lovely left foot,” he told talkSPORT’s Extra Time.

Giovani Lo Celso celebrates scoring one of his many goals for Real Betis
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“He’s almost like an old-fashioned Tottenham midfielder. I think Spurs fans would love him.

“You could see him in the side if Eriksen moves on, as an Eriksen replacement, and actually I think he has one or two advantages over Eriksen.

“He doesn’t have the set pieces of Eriksen, but I think he’s more dynamic.

“I wonder if Eriksen is capable of being a Real Madrid player. I’m not totally convinced that he is, I suspect he has found his level.

Eriksen has a year left on his contract and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid

“I think Lo Celso might offer a little bit more, a bit more dynamism in the midfield.

“He’s too good for Betis and they clearly want to make a profit on him. They had him on loan first and bought him for €30m.

“I would imagine a summer-long poker game between Betis and [Spurs chairman] Daniel Levy, who doesn’t spend his money without putting up a fight.

“I think he’s a terrific player and it would be a great response to the challenge Pochettino has thrown down after reaching the Champions League final with barely a midfield.

“He comes from a similar zone of Argentina as Pochettino, too.

“Pochettino is from a little village called Murphy and Lo Celso is from the capital of that state, Rosario. They also share Italian heritage, so you could imagine them striking up a bond.”

Liverpool fan breaks down in tears on talkSPORT after losing Premier League title race to Manchester City

13 May

A distraught Liverpool fan was reduced to tears live on talkSPORT after seeing his team miss out on the Premier League title.

Liverpool ended their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Wolves, but that wasn’t enough to get their hands on their first top flight trophy for 29 years, as Manchester City were crowned champions again.

It was ‘close but no cigar’ for Liverpool in the Premier League this season

It was a dramatic final day of action in the Premier League – with the Reds at one point looking on course to beat rivals Man City to the title.

Cheers erupted around Anfield after Brighton appeared to have made their wildest dreams come true by going 1-0 up against City at the Amex Stadium.

It meant Liverpool, who led Wolves 1-0 at the time, were top of the ‘as it stands’ table – but that only lasted for 21 first-half minutes as City staged a comeback to beat Brighton 4-1 and claim the crown by just one point.

It was an agonising way to miss out on the trophy all Liverpool fans want their team to lift.

Terry the Liverpool is absolutely devastated

And it was all too much for Terry the Red, who was soon left sobbing on air as he looked back on his team’s brilliant league campaign which saw them lose just one game – against City – and end on a club-record 97 points.

Ally McCoist even wanted to give him a cuddle!

Speaking on Sunday night’s Extra Time, Terry said: “Oh mate, I just…

“What else have we got to do to win this Premier League? Can to tell me that?

A young Liverpool fan holds up a sign thanking his team for their amazing season

“I tell you what mate… 97 points… I just cant believe it.

“How… *sobbing*… can you just tell me how?”

Bless him.

Well, good thing he was was talking to talkSPORT’s answer to Dr Phil, Will Gavin, who offered him some words of comfort.

Listen back to this memorable talkSPORT caller below…

Tottenham may struggle to keep hold of Heung-Min Son, admits former striker Darren Bent

11 Feb

Former Tottenham striker Darren Bent fears the club may struggle to keep hold of South Korean star Heung-Min Son after his brilliant campaign.

The forward has been one of the best performers in the Premier League this season, certainly since December having scored 11 goals in his last 15 games.

Son Heung-min has been a revelation for Spurs this season

Son’s impeccable run of form came at the best possible time for Tottenham – he has carried the team’s attacking hopes since Harry Kane and Dele Alli were both sidelined with injury.

And even though he missed a number of games representing his country in the Asian Cup, he made an instant impact on his return to England and continued where he left off by scoring crucial goals in Spurs’ last three games – including against Leicester on Sunday.

He has even been tipped as a surprise contender for the Player of the Year award this season (although talkSPORT host Adrian Durham does not agree).

And Bent believes Son will have attracted plenty of suitors who could come calling when the transfer window re-opens in the summer.

“Son is an amazing player,” he told talkSPORT’s Extra Time.

“Everything about him, the way he plays the game, he’s such a threat and he can finish with his left and right feet.

“The only worry for Spurs in the next few years is losing some of these players.

“People are going to look at Son and think, ‘he’s a lot better than we thought’, and he offers so much more than just scoring goals with his work rate and creativity.

“Just the way he seems to be around the place – you can see the Spurs fans love him and his team-mates love him. You can’t often buy that sort of player.”

Heung-min Son celebrates scoring against Leicester

Bent also hailed manager Maurico Pochettino for Spurs’ remarkable run of form which has seen them rekindle their Premier League title hopes despite missing two of their key stars.

While Spurs were dumped out of both the FA Cup and EFL Cup without Kane, Alli and Son, their Premier League form has not been affected.

Since Kane and Alli were sidelined in successive games against Manchester Untied and Fulham, Tottenham have claimed three straight wins in the league.

And Bent says it’s all down to the Argentine boss.

“I was one of the guys who thought they might struggle,” added the ex-England striker.

“Missing Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son away playing for his country, I thought they were really going to struggle but they have somehow managed to keep the results coming along.

“It’s testament to Pochettino and shows how good a manager he is.

Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the Manchester United job, but will he choose to remain at Spurs?

“He is without arguably one of the best strikers in world football in Harry Kane, but other players are stepping up and getting the goals and they still look quite solid.

“The job he’s doing is fantastic.

“Not spending any money in strengthening the team, they’re still not in the new stadium – people keep talking about the negatives around the club, but yet week-in week-out they keep churning out results.

“That’s testament to the squad and the manager because they must really believe in him.

“With the way they are playing at the moment, no one can question Pochettino’s decision and Daniel Levy’s decision not to sign any players.”

Phil Mickelson’s legacy may be damaged by US Open 13th hole controversy, says talkSPORT’s golf supremo Bob Bubka

18 Jun

Phil Mickelson may have damaged his career and legacy as one of America’s great golfers by his controversial actions during the US Open this weekend.

The 48-year-old was accused of being ‘extremely disrespectful’ to the game when he deliberately stopped his ball from rolling off the 13th green on Saturday after a poorly-judged putt.

Phil Mickelson was slammed for his actions at the US Open

Commentators were shocked by Mickelson’s behaviour, with the golfer admitting after Saturday’s round that he ‘took advantage of the rules’ by taking the two-stroke penalty for stopping a moving ball, instead of having to play another shot onto the green.

Action was expected, and yet the three-time Masters winner stepped out to complete his final round on Sunday, much to the shock of many.

He even mocked his actions from the previous day by celebrating when he sunk his putt for par (4) on the same hole on Sunday, having recorded 10 on Saturday.

And talkSPORT’s golf supremo Bob Bubka believes the controversy from this weekend may affect Mickelson for the rest of his career, and may even damage his chances of captaining the US Ryder Cup team.

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston appeared as surprised by Mickelson’s behaviour as everyone else

Speaking on Extra Time in the early hours of Monday morning, Bubka told talkSPORT: “I don’t condone Phil’s behaviour on the golf course at all, I think it was embarrassing.

“I took a lot of time today and solicited opinions of people I respect in the game and it was unanimous – what Phil Mickelson did was extremely disrespectful to the game.

“He should have on his own doing informed Mike Davis, the head of the United States Golf Association, that was going to withdraw from the tournament.

“He lost control of his emotions momentarily but that’s no excuse.

“I showed up at Shinnecock this morning half expecting not to see Phil there, I expected a letter or a press conference announcing he was going to withdraw, but he did not do that, he went out and played.

“The unanimous response is that Phil will pay, but he will pay in the locker room with the treatment from other players.

“Boy oh boy, when you have the other players turn against you, your entire career can suffer.

“I think that could happen to Phil, although he is extremely popular.”

Bob later joined the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to provide an update on the situation, revealing Mickelson did in fact offer to withdraw from the tournament, but that organisers said he was free to play on.

He added: “I kept digging and what a lot of people don’t know is that Phil Mickelson after the round called Mike Davis.

He said, ‘If I have committed that serious a breach of the rules, I want to withdraw’, and Mike Davis said to Phil Mickelson, ‘You don’t have to, it’s well within the rules that you continue to play’.

“Many of us were hoping Phil would withdraw, but he let that decision be made by Mike Davis and so he got to play.”