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Gillingham boss Steve Evans has his say over the financial crisis hitting League 1 rivals Bury and Bolton Wanderers

Gillingham boss Steve Evans believes the integrity of the division is being damaged by the situations at Bolton and Bury.

Both teams have started the season with a 12 point deduction following their financial problems. Both have entered into administration.

Bury have yet to play a game while the Football League seek clarification over their financial stability while Bolton have been playing youngsters after most of their senior players departed.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham manager Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry

On Monday, Bolton - who lost 5-0 at the weekend - pulled out of their midweek game against Doncaster Rovers, on player welfare grounds, claiming there was too much being asked of a young squad.

“Where are the values in League 1 this season,” said the Gills boss, who had no game to plan this Saturday after their match at Bury was suspended.

“You have Bury not playing a game and you have Bolton turning out playing kids - very good ones it has to be said - and I would suggest when the takeover happens and we play them they will turn up here and have seven or eight new signings.

“Is that not a different team that has been out on the field for the last three weeks? Where is the integrity of the competition.

“I have an idea of seven or eight players that they are going to sign if they come through their problems, and we hope they do, nobody wants to see a football club go.”

Gillingham will play Bolton later this month. The club have been straddled with debt and are currently in negotiations over a takeover.

Bury have until August 23 to prove to the EFL that they can pay off creditors and survive the season financially. They too are reported to have a prospective buyer but don’t have any contracted players at present.

“I think it is an absolute travesty for football,” said Evans, when asked for his opinion on the ongoing crisis with Bury.

“I keep reading and hearing EFL statements, perhaps had they looked a little earlier last year (Bury won promotion from League 2 as runners-up last season) and had they seen the types of contracts given out, then they might have realised they had to step in then.

“I feel for Bury as a town, I feel for the people that go and support that club. We’ve all got favourite clubs and my club (Celtic) went out of Europe on Tuesday night.

“You feel for Bury and the people of Bury and it will be some individuals who have been responsible but in today’s finance in football and the EFL, with the strict guidelines and some brilliant people on the board, shouldn’t we have seen it sooner?

“Should we be getting to three or four games in and suspending games. Should there not be a date in July where they have to make these decisions, whether clubs are good to start the season?”

Evans started at Bolton as an apprentice and has fond memories of the club.

“I love that club dearly,” he said.

“I was there as a kid and everyone wants them to survive, but they are another club that should have been looked at a long time ago.

“I know the Football League are limited in their powers as to what they can do, because they are individual businesses at the end of the day, but we are in 2019, we are not 1999, you would think there would be dates in the summer where clubs are signed off and good for business.”

The Gills didn’t find out until Tuesday that their weekend game was off. Evans subsequently changed his team for their EFL Cup match that evening, mindful that they wouldn’t have a weekend game.

“We changed it,” he said. “We would have probably made several more changes (from the weekend) had the Bury game been on, but when we knew it was off we knew people needed minutes.”

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