English clubs in danger of collapsing early in the season — why?

I can’t claim to be an expert on the “winding-up” of soccer clubs. In my experience, every time it’s imminent, something magic happens to stop it.

Something feels different this time for two clubs, in part because of the timing. We’re just a couple of weeks into the season. Could we really see League One reduced by two, like WPS in 2010 or some indoor soccer teams back in the 2000s?

That’s not supposed to happen in England, is it?

As it stands now, the clubs in question have a combined -23 points. Not -23 goal difference. They’ve each had 12 points deducted. Bolton managed a draw in one of their four matches. Bury have yet to play at all.

Congratulations to Southend United, who have lost all five matches so far and still have an 11-point gap ahead of the bottom two places. AFC Wimbledon, the poster child for phoenix supporter-started clubs, has 1 point and is out of the relegation places.

Bury’s Twitter feed now has a call for volunteers that radiates English charm:

Bury were in trouble last year but were bailed out by Steve Dale, a businessman whose “business record appeared to consist largely of buying failing companies, selling their assets and seeing them liquidated or dissolved,” The Guardian reports.

The EFL suspended Bury’s fixtures to buy them time. We’ll see what happens this week. The club supposedly faces a Tuesday deadline to conclude a sale.

While Bury haven’t been in the top flight since WWII, Bolton’s history is distinguished, having spent most of their history in the top tier and playing in the UEFA Cup twice in the 2000s. But they’re in the same situation today, facing a Tuesday deadline to sort things out.

I’d offer an explanation, but I don’t have one. Are clubs spending wildly in an effort to climb the ladder? Does the Premier League simply take up all the available bandwidth?


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