From death threats to parcels of POO… Bury owner Steve Dale reveals toxic inside track at League One crisis club
BURY owner Steve Dale claims he has received death threats from fans, while his daughter received a gift-wrapped box containing POO.
Dale, 64, was supposed to be watching the Shakers host MK Dons at Gigg Lane on Saturday.
But instead, he says, he was entertaining police at his home.
The EFL had already postponed that League One opener before also calling off this Saturday’s trip to Accrington on Friday.
They insist they have not received enough evidence to satisfy them Bury can immediately settle all football debts, meet obligations to unsecured creditors and ensure they have the resources to complete the season.
But Dale, who took over the club in December from Stewart Day, disputes that and believes he is getting the blame for things that happened before he took over.
He told me: “Someone sent me a death threat on social media, saying they were going to come to my house and there was nowhere to hide. So I had the police around.
“I’ve had 17 abusive texts and calls and loads more on social media. I’ve had stuff like, ‘I hope your kids die’ or ‘I hope you get cancer’.”
As it happens, Dale says he is suffering from terminal leukaemia, which requires regular treatment to contain it or, at best, slow down its growth.
But the biggest shock he has had was being told by his daughter Cassandra, 31, about the sinister package she received at her beauty salon business.
Dale said: “She got a gift box with a pretty bow on it and inside was faeces.
“And there was some vile stuff written online in reviews about her business.
“This is seriously affecting not only me but my family. The police are dealing with it.”
During a pre- season friendly at Nantwich, Dale had to be escorted away after a fracas with fans in the clubhouse.
He said: “Dave Jones, the ex-Southampton and Cardiff manager, is helping me in a consultancy role and while we were sat together some fans came up to me, screaming and shouting, during the game. They had to be restrained by stewards.
“But worst of all was when I went into the clubhouse and had about 20 fans surround me. They had been boozing all afternoon and started on me.
“One got a bit close and went to shove me, so I pushed him away. Yet the local Granada TV, who filmed some of it, only showed the segment of me pushing the guy away, making me out to be the bad guy.
“In the end, the stewards suggested it might be easier for them if I left as they would struggle to control them, so I did.”
Dale claims that, after taking over the club, he discovered fraud had been committed, reported it to the police’s fraud team and told former EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey that Bury was a “toxic wasteland”.
He has entered the club into a CVA arrangement with creditors and the EFL have hit them with a 12-point deduction as per their rules.
But Dale insists he will seek legal action to have the points REINSTATED as some debts were caused by wrongdoing outside of the club’s control.
He said: “I can’t talk at the moment about what had happened because it would prejudice the police investigation but I was able to tell Shaun Harvey. I said, ‘The club is a toxic wasteland, Shaun’. And he asked, ‘Can you keep it going?’ I replied, ‘I wouldn’t let the old girl die but if I couldn’t get to the bottom of all the irregularities, I’d have to enter into a CVA to draw a line in the sand’.
“Shaun explained that although a CVA would mean 12 deducted points, if there were illegal irregularities happening out of the club’s control, the EFL catches such incidences under another clause in their rules. And in that case, we’d not lose the 12 points.
“However, the EFL have decided to deduct the points and although we’ve appealed they are not having it.
“We will go down a legal route to try to get those 12 points back.” Dale issued an angry statement after the EFL announced that Bury’s second game would also be postponed.
The Shakers owner says the EFL wanted to verify some figures that had been handed to them by Dale’s lawyers.
But he claims when the EFL were asked what figures they wanted clarifying, the club were simply told the League would have to get back to them after the weekend as they “were at football matches”.
Dale said: “We’d have liked to have been at a football match ourselves.
“Why could they not have just waited until Monday to thrash out whatever it was they wanted verifying before deciding to cancel our second game?” Meanwhile, the club cannot sign any players until the EFL gives them the green light.
Dale said: “I spoke to acting chief executive Debbie Jevons on Friday and she just said, ‘You’ll have to play the kids!’ Unbelievable.
“Do you know something — we had 23 players training in pre-season and there was a real good atmosphere and it’s been destroyed by the EFL.
“When they say they are doing everything to work with us in bringing this to a conclusion, they’re working against us.”
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Dale admits that in hindsight he wishes he never took charge of the club.
He added: “I just inherited this and all I’m trying to do is sort this out.
“Fans want Russian oligarchs and sheikhs who just squirt money at it.
“Yet those sort of people don’t tend to go for a club like Bury with 3,000 fans.
“But we’ve rescued this club and it will eventually thrive despite the toxic wasteland we inherited.”