• Can only imagine how it feels' Jeff Stelling opens Soccer Saturday by bemoaning Bury saga
  • JEFF STELLING opened this weekend's Soccer Saturday with a stirring plea for football to prevent another scandal like the one inflicted upon Bury.
    Salary caps, regionalisation and greater scrutiny on club finances were all part of the presenter's manifesto for securing the future of lower league teams.
    The League 1 side were expelled from the Football League in the week after months of financial distress surrounding the team.
    Stelling noted the tragic effect the club's demise will have on the town and urged fans not to give up hope.
    He told viewers: "Sadly there won't be any [football] at Gigg Lane, not today not for the foreseeable future, I can only imagine how it feels to be a Bury fan today.
    "The football club is the heartbeat of the town and that heartbeat has been stopped.
    "And look it could be your club and it could certainly be my club - and it could be any one of 10 or 15 clubs. It just happens to be Bury.
    "So we need to, as much as we possibly can, ensure that in the future there are safeguards against this sort of thing happening.
    "What can we do? Well in my view, maybe we look at salary caps, on a sliding scale in the lower divisions which will stop a League Two player earning £5,000-a-week.
    "Maybe we look at regionalisation of the lower leagues, which will stop the humongous costs involved in staying overnight, not to mention the huge distance we have to travel - save the planet as well.
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    "I think that individuals interested in buying clubs should be made to put down a significant bond. I know they put down bonds now but I mean a significant bond, and that would stop people with no interest in football paying £1 for a football club.
    "And the Football League I think also should have regular checks of club accounts, given early warning of any club that could be in jeopardy.
    "And one final thing. When Bury, assuming this current model goes out of business, are reformed as I'm sure they will be. Let me tell you, there is life outside the Football League and Bury fans you still have a lot to look forward to."
    Stelling's passion was well received online with the vast majority of fans agreeing with the need for reform - however a number pointed out the potentially negative effects his Sky Sports employer have had in leading football down this path.
    WELL SAID JEFF! 👏 To open today's show, Jeff has his say on the tragic situation at Bury. pic.twitter.com/MTzI3o8aDt — Soccer Saturday (@SoccerSaturday) August 31, 2019
    Saracen tweeted: "Totally agree Jeff, league two player getting 5k a week is ridiculous. Wage cap, maybe regionalise league too."
    Another viewer, Stephen, commented: "Don’t like the regionalise idea. Messes with it too much. But the rest I agree."
    And Twitter user Craig wrote: "His heart is in the right place that's for sure but there's a small hint or irony in that his employer are quite possibly part of this problem when looking at the bigger picture."

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