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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 10:45 GMT
'Shakers' face court's final whistle
Aerial view of Gigg Lane
Bury FC have played at Gigg Lane for 117 years
Bury Football Club could be playing their last match on Saturday, as a crucial court case looms on Monday, 4 March.

The worst financial crisis in the club's history is threatening to put it out of business.

The High Court could order the club to pay back a loan of more than 1m to creditors after a take-over deal collapsed.

It means the away match at Wycombe on Saturday, 2 March, could be the last that Bury, known as the Shakers, play.

I came into work this morning, and there were two lads standing outside the ground in Manchester United football shirts

Gordon Sorfleet, Bury FC

The club has debts of 1.35m secured on the Gigg Lane ground, which has been home for all of its 117 years.

However, the Shakers are finding life difficult in the shadow of their high-flying neighbours Manchester United and Manchester City.

Gates are only 3,500, and there are interest payments of 984 a day on their debts, plus mortgage payments.

Club spokesman Gordon Sorfleet told BBC News Online: "It is a bad situation. Things are as serious as they can be - totally precarious.

"It is so bad that Saturday's match with Wycombe could be the last we ever play.

"We have been trying to raise funds, and there is one fan who says he has millions of pounds to put into the club, but we have yet to see the colour of his money.

"Our problem is a lack of support. There is general apathy in the town, from football fans and from the local community.

'Apathetic community'

"I came into work this morning, and there were two lads standing outside the ground in Manchester United football shirts."

He said the club would be asking for more time at the High Court to pay off its debts.

Bury FC club badge
The club only gets gates of around 3,500

Mr Sorfleet said: "Our aim is to get to the end of the season, and then we will take things from there."

No football league club has gone under since 1992.

The Football League, Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and Supporters Direct have all tried to help Bury FC.

The PFA has lent 170,000, its largest sum, to meet wages, and the Save Our Shakers supporters' campaign has raised 128,000.

One possibility would be for the club to move to Manchester City's Maine Road ground, as City are due to leave the ground and take up residence at Manchester's Commonwealth Games stadium.

But Mr Sorfleet said: "Why should we have to move to Manchester? We have been here since the club was founded."

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