‘How’s it got to this stage?’ Bury FC legend Craig Madden devastated former club is staring into abyss

Exclusive by Mark Shales

Bury FC legend Craig Madden believes it would be a travesty if his former club went under, following their plea for £1million of investment.

The retired striker, now assistant coach at Fleetwood Town, scored 43 goals in the 1981-82 season – no other player has scored more for the Shakers in a single campaign since.

Some quarters have blamed Bury’s financial woes on poor attendance but Madden – who began his career at Gigg Lane – insists the fans are not responsible.

“My initial reaction was shock,” he told MM.

“It was a shock that they needed that amount of money to survive – I had to ask myself ‘how’s it got to that stage?’

“It would be an absolute travesty if the club folded. It was my first club and I’ve got a lot of happy memories from my time there.

“I saw people on the news questioning the fans but I don’t think that’s really the case.

“The fans have been going in their droves all the time to try and help out but I don’t know what the situation’s going to end up like.”

Madden made 297 appearances over nine years for Bury before going on to play for West Bromwich Albion, Blackpool and Fleetwood Town.

On Wednesday his former club made a plea for people to invest £1m as part of a consortium, as the financial problems at Gigg Lane came to a head.

And with rumours circulating about similar problems at Preston North End, Madden believes the richer top-flight teams should be made to contribute towards the lower leagues.

“The Premier League is just going to get stronger and stronger with the money that’s pumped in from the TV deal next season,” he added.

“Maybe the Premier League have got to look at things and maybe filter some of that money down and help clubs out.

“The PFA have obviously helped them out but it’s not a bottomless pit, they can’t keep going back asking for money.”

The Shakers face Oldham on Saturday knowing a loss would see them plummet to League Two, but the 54-year-old admitted a drop could potentially aid the club.

“The relegation situation they’re in could help them,” he explained. “If they go down it could stabilise them a little bit and give them the opportunity to mount a title charge the season after.

“But it’s a question of whether they’re still going to have the players and be able to pay wages, it’s a tough division, League Two.”

Picture courtesy of yellow book, via Flickr, with thanks.

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