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Dozens of English football clubs vulnerable to collapse

One of Britain’s top football finance analysts warns there are dozens of clubs at risk of encountering severe financial trouble if they produce a poor season.

Bury FC is on the verge of collapse, after a takeover bid failed and the club was expelled from the English third division.

Another third-tier side, 145-year-old Bolton Wanderers, narrowly avoided expulsion after finding a new owner less than two weeks out from the league-imposed deadline.

Dr Rob Wilson from Sheffield Hallam University told Macquarie Sports Radio Bury’s greatest error was its failure to keep a lid on the club’s spending.

“It’s difficult not to be really brutal – they spent more money than they were earning. It’s as simple as that,” Dr Wilson told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“Bury simply have spent more than they earned… as are many clubs up and down the English Football League system,” he said.

Dr Wilson estimates as many as a quarter of all professional football clubs in England could be financially exposed if their owners’ investments do not produce adequate returns. He warns one or two bad seasons could spell disaster for a number of clubs.

“I’d say 20-25 percent of the English Football League are living a genuine hand-to-mouth existance, which is fairly harrowing,” Dr Wilson said.

“That’s not to say the other 75-80 percent are fine. They’re not”.

“Short term, you’ve probably got 15-16 clubs that could be right on the edge… then another 20 or so clubs that if they don’t start sorting their own houses out, they’ll be facing difficulties too,” Dr Wilson said.

Hear the full interview below. Listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin – 6am-8am Sundays