Bury directors reject Rangers link
Bury have responded strongly to reports that Rangers plan to buy the club and play their English League One fixtures while keeping home games at Ibrox.
The business and assets of Rangers, who were liquidated with huge debts, were bought by Charles Green after he failed to gain the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) needed for the club to exit administration.
But it is unclear whether the "newco" Rangers set up following liquidation will be allowed to play in the Scottish Premier League. SPL clubs will vote on the issue on July 4, with an 8-4 majority needed. If they say no, Rangers are likely to have to kick off next season in the third tier of Scottish football.
Reports say that possibility has led Green to examine options including buying Bury and moving them around 200 miles north to Glasgow.
But the Bury chairman Brian Fenton said nobody from Ibrox had been in contact with his club to clarify the situation. "There's been no contact whatsoever,'' he told the Press Association. "I got a call off a journalist yesterday asking whether I'd had contact with Rangers.
"Then this morning I got a call off one of my fellow directors about it being all over the back page of The Sun and The Mirror. I turned the television on and it was all over Sky Sports."
Bury's directors issued a strongly-worded statement denying the reports - a move Fenton said he believed was essential to reassure the cub's supporters.
"I didn't want anybody thinking that we'd sold them down the river to somebody who's north of the border," he explained. "Every football club is looking for investment, and we wouldn't turn anyone away if they were realistic investors.
"But this isn't realistic. This is basically, I'm led to believe, a takeover to get into the Football League and take Bury Football Club away from Bury. We've got the fans, and don't want to leave Bury without a football club."
He urged Ibrox officials to contact him and clarify how the reports had begun to circulate, saying: "We don't know, at our end, where all these rumours have come from. It would be nice to have some sort of communication with Rangers."
The earlier statement from the Bury board of directors said: "The directors of Bury FC place the integrity and morality of the club, and football as a whole, way above and beyond any possible financial gain and, as such, wish to reassure all Shakers fans of this fact."
It remains to be seen what the reaction of football authorities both north and south of the border would be were Rangers to attempt to push their reported plan through.
But it could be argued that a precedent for the relocation of a club and its league place, and the changing of its identity, was set when an FA consortium allowed Wimbledon to be moved to Milton Keynes in 2003, leading to the creation of MK Dons. Wimbledon fans reacted by setting up AFC Wimbledon - now a league club only one division below the MK entity.
Welsh clubs Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham play in the English leagues, and English club Berwick play in Scotland.
A Rangers source told The Sun: "Rangers really are thinking about this. They are in a position at the moment where they have no idea what the future holds. They don't know whether they will be in the SPL next season and do not want to go to the bottom of the ladder. Acquiring an English club would get them the foothold they have always wanted down south."
But as the confusion surrounding Rangers continued, reports also said the Scottish Football League could be willing to accept Rangers into the First Division rather than the Third in return for a revamped league structure eventually leading to a merger between the SPL and the SFL.