Debbie Jevans EXCLUSIVE: English Football League executive chair on Bury’s expulsion, Bolton’s future, and why the EFL accepted Steve Dale as owner

28 Aug

EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans has explained how Steve Dale was allowed to become owner of Bury the day after they were expelled from the English Football League.

The Shakers on Tuesday had their license revoked and will almost certainly be liquidated following C&N Sporting Risk pulling out of a proposed takeover of the crisis-club.

Dale, the current owner, later claimed he had received three further bids leading to calls for the EFL to grant Bury an extension, but shortly after 11pm the League’s decision was announced.

Steve Dale took control of Bury in December 2018

Dale been widely criticised for his running of the club which has resulted in Bury becoming the first team to drop out the Football League for off-field reasons since Maidstone United in 1992, though the EFL have also taken much of the blame.

The governing body have been accused of failing the Gigg Lane outfit by allowing Dale to complete his takeover, with similar criticisms directed at the EFL for their decision to grant Ken Anderson control of Bolton, who could follow Bury out the League in 14 days unless they are taken over or can prove they have funding for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.

So just why did the EFL allow Dale to become Bury owner? Debbie Jevans, the EFL executive chair, joined Jim White on talkSPORT on Wednesday to explain.

“If I was a Bury fan I would be asking the very same question,” said Jevans.

“Going back what happens is Mr Dale walked into these offices with the previous owner and has purchased the club. He had already purchased the club.

“At that point we went into the regulations and looked at the owners’ and directors’ test, which he then passed, and from that point on we’ve been saying ‘show us you’ve got the funds to run this club. How are you going to run this club?’

“And, don’t forget, he was paying the players to begin with.

“So the point they [Bury fans] are raising is a point that is valid, and I’ve consistently said we have to look back and learn lessons so we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.”

Tuesday was a hectic day for those involved with both the club and the EFL, with discussions taking place all day between both parties to try and save Bury.

Jevans continued: “Yesterday afternoon was a very long afternoon; it was not even the afternoon, it was the whole day in fact when we were still in communication with Mr Dale and C&N Sporting Risk, who were doing all the due diligence they said they needed to do to ensure that the takeover took forward the club.

“We were going backwards and forwards with them supporting them with all the information we had and then at 3pm – just a couple of hours before the deadline we set – they said they could not continue.

“Their due diligence had demonstrated that it was impossible to move forward with the purchase, and at that point they pulled out and put the release out that everybody has seen.”

Jevans joined Jim White on talkSPORT for a wide-ranging interview discussing the Bury and Bolton situations
Getty Images - Getty

C&N Sporting Risk cited ‘insurmountable challenges’ as their reason for pulling out, and Jevans confirmed the EFL will work with the sports analytics company to discover just what was going on behind the scenes at Gigg Lane.

“We haven’t seen their information yet,” she added, “but they said they will show us all of what they have uncovered and we are going to take them up on that offer.

“This situation is sad and devastating. I’ve been involved in many sports over a long period of time and yesterday was one of the most difficult situations either myself or the board have ever found ourselves in.”

But what of the bids Dale claimed to have received in the final hours of Bury’s 125-year spell as a Football League club.

“We have been going back and forth with Mr Dale and constantly worked with him, making compromises where we could, and asked for information to be shared,” said Jevans.

“And at the eleventh hour there were emails received… a flurry of Mr Dale saying he had accepted this and accepted that.

“There was no substance to anything we received that would allow us to delay this further and then find ourselves in a week or two weeks’ time in the same situation again.”

The focus now turns to Bury’s future.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Newcastle vs Leicester (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Lincoln City vs Everton (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Cardiff vs Fulham (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Southampton vs Manchester United (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Bristol City vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Chelsea vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Burnley vs Liverpool (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

The club will not be able to play league football until next season at the earliest, and they’ve also been kicked out this season’s FA Cup.

Any reformation of the club will see them enter the English pyramid at non-league level.

Could Jevans provide any information for supporters on this most distressing of days?

“We are going to be speaking to the club today, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what are the options.

“If you look at a club like AFC Wimbledon, they started as a community club and applied to the FA, and they started very low down.

“Now look at them; they’ve come back and got a new ground being built and are in League One.

“That does not mean in any shape or form I’m making light of this situation, but there is a chance for the club to continue.

“But clearly this is early days and emotion is very, very high.”

And finally, did the EFL fail Bury by allowing Dale to take control in the first place?

“What we operated on is the rules that exist at the moment. Does that mean we need to look back and consider things? Absolutely it does.

“Don’t forget that those rules are laid down by the 72 clubs.

The EFL have been criticised for allowing Steve Dale and Ken Anderson to take charge of Bury and Bolton respectively
Getty Images - Getty

“What the EFL does is run the League; clubs run clubs and we operate within rules that are laid down and voted for by those clubs.

“Going forwards we are, of course, going to talk to the clubs, and they will reflect. Clubs do need to be run in a sustainable way.

“It’s real life and it’s shocking. I totally understand that without any question, and that is why we have been working with and communicating with Mr Dale over the past month.

“This isn’t just five minutes!

“Of course I have sympathy which is why we have not left a stone unturned.

“Once the CVA [company voluntary arrangement] was passed we could have issued the notice of withdrawal… but we didn’t, we suspended it.

“At that point under the regulations there have to be two years’ proof of funding. With the board we went to Mr Dale and said ‘just show us one year. Show us one year’s proof of funding and we will work with you for the long-term future of the club’.

“We have tried everything.”

Bury expelled from EFL

Bolton fans face a nervous fortnight wait before discovering whether their club will survive, and Jevans had a message for the Wanderers faithful.

“We finished working with Bolton and the administrator and 3am this morning,” she finished.

“Everybody wants that deal to close.

“I’m saying it’s very close and I know people will be shouting at the radio when I say that as they’ve heard it before, but what we couldn’t have again was a situation where you’ve got young players out there playing, losing 5-0 every week – that is not a sustainable way to run a football league.

“So we’ve issued that notice and lifted the suspension.

“But I will say to everyone, that at 3am this morning conversations were still ongoing.”

Listen to the full interview with Debbie Jevans on Jim White, above…

Championship 2019/20 opening day fixtures: Bristol City vs Leeds, Huddersfield vs Derby and Birmingham at Brentford

20 Jun

Leeds travel to Bristol City on the opening day of the 2019/20 Championship season, as they aim to win promotion to the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men were knocked out in the play-off semi-finals by Derby last season, which extended their top flight exile to 15 years.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are one of the bookmakers’ favourites for promotion

Meanwhile, League One champions Luton will be playing in the second tier for the first time since 2007 and they host Middlesbrough in the first game of the new campaign on Friday night.

Former Belgium assistant Graeme Jones will be looking to preserve the Hatters’ Championship status in his first managerial role after succeeding club legend Mick Harford last month.

Cardiff, who play Wigan away, will be hoping to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking under veteran boss Neil Warnock.

Newly-promoted clubs Barnsley and Charlton play Fulham and Blackburn respectively, while Huddersfield host Derby – who may or may not have Frank Lampard in charge.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Luton Town vs Middlesbrough

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Barnsley vs Fulham
Blackburn Rovers vs Charlton Athletic
Brentford vs Birmingham City
Millwall vs Preston North End
Nottingham Forest vs West Bromwich Albion
Reading vs Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City vs Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City vs Hull City
Wigan Athletic vs Cardiff City

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bristol City vs Leeds United

Monday, August 5, 2019

Huddersfield Town vs Derby County

Aston Villa v Derby County: EFL decide VAR will NOT be used in Championship play-off final

1 Apr

This season’s Championship play-off final will not utilise video assistant referees (VAR) despite an estimated £180million windfall for the winners.

Aston Villa face Derby COunty for the chance to play in the Premier League next season, in what is considered by many to be the richest game in football.

Wembley has the facilities to deploy VAR, and it was used throughout this season’s Carabao Cup final

It is believed the decision has been made because VAR has not been in use throughout the league campaign, and it would be a risk to introduce it for just one match of the season.

Goal-line technology will be used during the match at Wembley this afternoon, however.

VAR has been deployed on a trial basis in some Carabao Cup fixtures but it was not in operation during Sunday’s Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley between Portsmouth and Sunderland.

Confirmation of the EFL’s stance comes after another weekend of controversy related to refereeing errors, most notably when Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta equalised against Cardiff earlier in the season, despite being offside.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock was left frustrated by the standard of refereeing in Cardiff’s defeat by Chelsea

Unfortunately for Cardiff, who went on to lose the game and eventually were relegated from the Premier League, assistant referee Eddie Smart’s view was blocked by corner-taker Willian, prompting a furious outburst afterwards from Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock.

He joined talkSPORT after the game to blast the officials and claim his wife, Sharon, was willing to let him ‘thump’ them given how poorly they performed their jobs.

“I thought we had some major decisions [go against us] yesterday,” Warnock said.

“The linesman yesterday said sorry to me after the game, but it’s too late, what good is an apology?!

“We’re having too many honest mistakes and it’s always the top teams who get the decisions.

“You just feel it’s such an injustice, and I’ve felt like that ever since Christmas.

The Play off Final is the most lucrative game in football

“When I came in yesterday, my wife said to me: ‘darling, if you had wanted to thump the referee and linesman, I wouldn’t have stopped you’. It was so unjust.”

There was also much discussion in the game about when and where video replays are being used this season following the FA Cup quarter-finals, which saw Swansea on the wrong end of two questionable decisions that led to Manchester City goals. The game was played without VAR despite the Liberty Stadium having the capability to do so.

The Premier League has already announced it will be using the system from next season, while the Football Association has said it will review its decision to only use it in the cup at current Premier League grounds at the end of this year’s tournament.

The EFL has consistently said it is not yet ready to roll out VAR for league competition, as it does not have enough referees with the required training to operate the system and not all of its 72 clubs have enough camera positions to make it work.

Rangers transfer news: Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam ‘absolutely’ interested in Rangers return and reuniting with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard

2 Jan

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam has admitted he’s “absolutely” interested in returning to former side Rangers in this transfer window.

The Ibrox side were Adam’s first professional club, before he made the move to Blackpool in 2009, where he won promotion to the Premier League and later sealed a move to Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard, now Rangers manager, played alongside Charlie Adam at Liverpool

Adam’s former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard is now managing the Scottish giants, and speaking at a William Hill media event, the experienced midfielder says he would be interested in rejoining his former side – who are joint top of the SPL after beating arch rivals Celtic 1-0 in their final game of 2018.

However, he revealed he has had no contact with any club, including Hearts, who are reportedly keen to land him.

He told Press Association Sport: “At the moment I am still contracted to Stoke but I want to play and hopefully there are opportunities during the window to play somewhere.

“The Rangers thing is something that it would interest me. Absolutely.

“I have been back more times this season than in the last four or five years. I can see it is going in the right direction.

“Steven has obviously put his authority on the club. The players are playing well, playing with an unbelievable amount of confidence.

Gerrard got the better of his old boss on Merseyside, Brendan Rodgers as Rangers won the Old Firm derby 1-0 thanks to a first-half strike from Ryan Jack

“The manager has got it on a playing field where it is competitive and what a hell of a result against Celtic in the last game.

“The tails are up, they have momentum but they know it is going to be a big challenge from now until the end of the season

As it stands, the Rangers squad has a very youthful vibe with the likes of Ryan Kent (22), Connor Goldson (26) and Jack (26) just a few of the youngsters on the Gers’ team sheet.

But in a season where it appears the Glasgow outfit will bid to take Celtic all the way for the title, Gerrard is experienced enough himself to know the importance of having some level headed and well-versed squad members to get over the line.

“But at the moment there is nothing to it. We are talking up something that is not there but everyone knows I started my career at Rangers, I played in front of 50,000 with the pressure.
“It is something I’d relish and enjoy. I want to play.”

Adam, now 33, has only appeared a handful of times for the Potters in the Championship this season, and admits he is ready to move on a temporary or permanent basis this month in a search for first-team football.

Adam has made a total of five appearances this season for Stoke this season, with two of these coming in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup

He added: “I have played three games for Stoke so it has been frustrating so whoever it may be, I am ready to go and want to contribute.”

Adam, capped 26 times by Scotland, has heard nothing from Hearts, but revealed he is a big fan of boss Craig Levein, whom he worked under during his time with the national team.

He revealed: “I woke up on Tuesday and I had loads of texts about Hearts.

“I have had no contact with any club in Scotland.

“I don’t know where it has come from, speaking to people I know, supposedly there is an interest but there has been no contact with me or my agent.

Craig Levein worked with Adam during his time as Scotland manager from 2009 to 2012

“I had a good relationship with Craig at Scotland and I like Craig as a manager and as a person.

“He is straight, honest, says it how it is, like me, and sometimes he upsets people.

“He is a good guy, he has done terrifically well but at the moment there is nothing there.

“I’ve had a good career. I have enjoyed it. I have a lot to go and I still have a lot to learn, I like to learn every day.

“Hopefully I go to a place where I will enjoy it and hopefully they enjoy me being there.”


How the Championship table would look based on every club’s home form only

11 Oct

The 2018/19 Championship season is looking nicely poised going into the international break.

It looks like we’re in for a tight title race and incredible battle to avoid relegation to League One.

West Brom striker Dwight Gayle has been in the goals this season.

Currently just three points separate the top four, while the bottom six are split by the same amount as we charged towards the busy festive period.

Obviously the league table is built using results from both home and away matches throughout the campaign, but how would it look if only the away results were factored in? Find out below.

1. West Brom
Played 6 | Won 5 | Drawn 0 | Lost 1 | Goals For 20 | Goals against 7 | Goal difference +13 | Points 15
2. Brentford
P 6 | W 4 | D 2 | L 0 | GF 14 | GA 5 | GD +9 | Points 14

Brentford have just lost manager Dean Smith to Aston Villa.

3. Wigan
P 6 | W 4 | D 2 | L 0 | GF 9 | GA 5 | GD +4 | Points 14
4. Sheffield Utd
P 6 | W 4 | D 1 | L 1 | GF 11 | GA 6 | GD +5 | Points 13
5. Middlesbrough
P 6 | W 4 | D 1 | L 1 | GF 7 | GA 2 | GD +5 | Points 13
6. Nottingham Forest
P 6 | W 3 | D 3 | L 0 | GF 9 | GA 6 | GD +3 | Points 12
7. Leeds United
P 6 | W 3 | D 2 | L 1 | GF 10 | GA 4 | GD +6 | Points 11

Leeds United are competing for the title and a return to the Premier League.

8. Derby County
P 6 | W 3 | D 2 | L 1 | GF 9 | GA 6 | GD +3 | Points 11
9. Rotherham
P 6 | W 3 | D 2 | L 1 | GF 7 | GA 5 | GD +2 | Points 11
10. Sheffield Wednesday
P 6 | W 2 | D 4 | L 0 | GF 10 | GA 8 | GD +2 | Points 10
11. Stoke City
P 6 | W 3 | D 1 | L 2 | GF 8 | GA 7 | GD +1 | Points 10
12. Aston Villa
P 6 | W 2 | D 3 | L 1 | GF 12 | GA 10 | GD +2 | Points 9

Aston Villa players haven’t always been smiling this season.

13. Norwich City
P 6 | W 3 | D 0 | L 3 | GF 7 | GA 8 | GD -1 | Points 9
14. Preston North End
P 6 | W 2 | D 2 | L 2 | GF 13 | GA 10 | GD +3 | Points 8
15. Birmingham
P 6 | W 1 | D 5 | L 0 | GF 8 | GA 6 | GD +2 | Points 8
16. Swansea City
P 6 | W 2 | D 2 | L 2 | GF 8 | GA 6 | GD +2 | Points 8
17. Bristol City
P 6 | W 2 | D 2 | L 2 | GF 8 | GA 7 | GD +1 | Points 8

Bristol City aren’t quite hitting the heights of last season.

18. Millwall
P 6 | W 2 | D 2 | L 2 | GF 10 | GA 10 | GD 0 | Points 8
19. Blackburn
P 6 | W 1 | D 4 | L 1 | GF 6 | GA 7 | GD -1 | Points 7
20. Queens Park Rangers
P 6 | W 2 | D 1 | L 3 | GF 5 | GA 7 | GD -2 | Points 7
21. Bolton
P 6 | W 2 | D 1 | L 3 | GF 5 | GA 8 | GD -3 | Points 7

Will Bolton fans be celebrating come the end of the season?

22. Ipswich
P 6 | W 0 | D 5 | L 1 | GF 5 | GA 7 | GD -2 | Points 5
23. Hull City
P 6 | W 1 | D 1 | L 4 | GF 5 | GA 8 | GD -3 | Points 4
24. Reading
P 6 | W 1 | D 0 | L 5 | GF 6 | GA 8 | GD -2 | Points 3

Championship 2018/19: Super computer predicts final table – *October update*

9 Oct

The 2018/19 Championship season has had a brilliant beginning and after 12 matches it’s Sheffield United who are currently leading the way.

For all of the talk about Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United, it’s the Blades who are currently setting the pace and they are sitting one point ahead of the division’s top scorers West Bromwich Albion at the top, while Middlesbrough are also in the top four.

Sheffield United star Leon Clarke

At the other end of the table we’re shaping up for another tight battle against relegation with three points separating the bottom six teams, although Hull City are side currently propping up the rest of the league.

We now have to take a two week break as international football returns, but make sure you tune in to the talkSPORT network when the Championship returns on Saturday, October 20, when Leeds United travel to Blackburn LIVE on talkSPORT 2.

With the table taking shape everyone is having their say on who will win the league, secure promotion, and be relegated this season, and’s famous Super Computer has been wheeled out to make it’s own predictions.

But what does the Super Computer say? Find out below…

24. Ipswich Town (relegated)
23. Rotherham United (relegated)
22. Hull City (relegated)

Hull City boss Nigel Adkins reckons his team can turn things around.

21. Queens Park Rangers
20. Reading
19. Millwall
18. Birmingham City
17. Preston North End 
16. Bolton Wanderers

Bristol City players react during their match with Sheffield Wednesday.

15. Bristol City

14. Blackburn Rovers
13. Wigan Athletic
12. Stoke City
11. Sheffield Wednesday
10. Aston Villa
9. Norwich City
8. Swansea City

Derby County boss Frank Lampard has had a decent start to the season.

7. Derby County
6. Brentford (play-offs)
5. Nottingham Forest (play-offs)
4. Sheffield United (play-offs)
3. Middlesbrough (play-offs)

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis

2. Leeds United (automatic promotion)
1. West Bromwich Albion (champions)