‘Do I cancel the game Friday night and let everyone know by social media?’ – Danny Cowley desperately unhappy with the EFL

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Danny Cowley launched into a tirade against the situation at Bury and Bolton last night after watching the Imps go down 2-1 to MK Dons.

The post-match interview touched upon the ongoing situation at the two clubs, which has directly affected the Imps on two levels this week. Firstly, MK Dons have played fewer matches this month then us, resulting in supposed better fitness.

Secondly, Bolton’s game with Doncaster was postponed last night due to welfare issues around their young squad. Coming off the back of two five-goal thumpings, the Trotters saw fit to postpone their match, something both Doncaster and the Imps found out via Sky Sports News.

That is a situation that Danny as asked about by Rob Makepeace, resulting in the following comments.

“It’s a huge disadvantage for us, there’s no hiding place. No doubt Darren Moore was here watching us tonight. They’ve had a free week; we’ve now had five games back to back, we play nine games this month and I’ve only got eighteen players myself, two long term injuries,” Danny said.

“So, what do I do Friday? What do I do? Do I cancel the game Friday night and let everyone know by social media? I’m really perplexed and disappointed with the EFL. I genuinely feel really sorry for Bolton and Bury, I feel sorry for them as football clubs, I feel sorry for their staff and players. I feel sorry for the people and the communities because I know how important these football clubs are to the communities. But I’m frustrated and annoyed with the EFL that they’ve allowed it to get to this. They have to do fit and proper tests to ensure that the calibre of the person taking over the club is suitable.

‘It’s all falling apart’ – Imps at Bury last season, courtesy of Graham Burrell

“Anybody that has been in other businesses and asset-stripped them, as the Bury chairman has, can not be allowed to be involved with a football club, not with a football club that holds such importance to the community.”

At that point, it seemed as though someone either wanted the interview cut, or Rob was about to wind up. DC was not having any of that.

“No, keep it running,” he said, before continuing. “The fact that’s been allowed to happen is a disgrace and really unacceptable. The EFL have a lot to answer for that.

“We, as English football, have the best pyramid system in the whole world. The Premier League is the best league in the whole world and the EFL is closely followed, third, fourth, fifth in the world. This situation now is hugely affecting the integrity of the competition. I feel sorry for Doncaster. On the back of Bolton playing Tranmere at the weekend and Tranmere winning 5-0, there is a good chance Doncaster would have won tonight.

“I feel sorry for us; we’ve already been affected by Mk Dons. MK Dons have played 25% less than we have because they didn’t play Bury first game of the season. There are huge issues with the integrity of the division. A league should be a level playing field and there’s not a level playing field here.

“The EFL have not been decisive enough, they weren’t decisive enough with their fit and proper test, they’ve not been decisive enough in terms of how they dealt with Bury and Bolton.

“I don’t want to see either club go, but if they’re not in a position to meet the criteria at the beginning of the season then they can’t start the league. There should be a year’s suspension, and then, once that’s done, it gives them a year to sort their situation out. The last thing I want to see is them lose their membership permanently, but if they got a year’s grace, they’d be able to sort out their situation out in that time, surely? That’s what common sense is.

“We get caught up in a system if the rules don’t fit that, we have to live by the rules even when they don’t work. It’s crazy to me.”

Lenny John-Lewis at Bolton in 2010 – Courtesy Graham Burrell

Rob then asked if he would be speaking to the EFL about the situation, but DC has already been down that route.

“We already have, we found out by Sky Sports like Doncaster did. I’ve got huge respect for both football clubs. I don’t blame them. I don’t blame Bolton or Phil Parkinson who has been magnificent for that football club under challenging circumstances, but I do blame the EFL. I blame the EFL for allowing it to get to this.

“People need to answer questions. This league is just not fair at the moment, we’re competing in a division that’s just not fair. We only have 18 players, the reason we only have 18 players is we are trying to live within our means. It’s putting us in a difficult position because we are trying to live and run our football club in the right way.”

I don’t think the comments need much adding by me; he makes some valuable points. League One is not a level playing field right now; Tranmere have a 5-0 win that Doncaster were possibly denied. Teams are getting breaks when others are hammered by the fixture schedule and across the board, confusion reigns.

It can’t go on.


  1. I wasn’t able to get to MK so I heard Danny’s comments last night following the game on Radio Lincolnshire. What he said is totally bang on, no doubt he will get a huge slap on the wrist from the FA but he is only saying what no doubt 90 other clubs managers are thinking, it makes matters worse that two clubs involved are in League 1.
    I totally agree with what he is saying.
    With regards the game, it sounded great and the best team lost. But what goes around comes around.
    Keep up the good work Gary

  2. What about MKDONS, they prepared to start at day 1, the delay caused issues there too, for one all other clubs that have earned points in their first game of the season have advantage over MKD, We paid the players but never got a game, lost revenue and cashflow, what about the season ticket holders who paid in advance to see those games, what happens to those extra games points the other teams have earned but were denied the MKD ? EFL ? sounds similar to the Brexit mess,

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