As it was placed at the entrance to Gigg Lane, the coffin read “RIP Bury FC 1885-?” Sadly, there’s a question mark no more.

It had just gone 11pm on Tuesday 27th August when Bury were expelled from the EFL, ending 125 years of membership. In doing so, the Shakers became the first side to ever drop out of the third tier of English football and the first FA Cup winners to be expelled by the EFL.

Their plight is one of sadness and anger for fans. Let down by owner Steve Dale, who told the BBC this week that he “didn’t even know there was a football team called Bury”, and by the EFL, whose fit and proper person test is under greater scrutiny than ever after it was revealed that Dale never underwent any part of the process before or after purchasing the club for £1 in December 2018.

For now the club’s future, and that of its players and staff, is unknown. Bury can reapply to join the English football pyramid, but not until the start of the 2020-21 season. The immediate future of Gigg Lane though must be a priority for everyone associated with the club – fans are already petitioning Bury Council to deem the stadium and its land an Asset of Community Value, effectively preventing any future planning applications for alternative use.

UCFB graduate Ryan Booth spent time working at the club in between 2015 and 2016, and saw first-hand what it means to its fans, staff and the community as a whole. He said: “It's a sad day for the sport when one of its most historic clubs dies. Bury FC is so much more than a football club; it's an integral part of the local community which helps provide employment, education and social opportunities for a vast amount of people across the region.”

For players and fans, they were never able to enjoy May’s promotion from League Two. Unpaid wages and the club once again being put up for sale then led to a number of fixtures being postponed at the start of the new term.

Sky Sports’ Gary Taphouse has been left furious by events in the North West. He told UCFB: "It's absolutely devastating for the fans, the local community and the wider football family. Why would a man buy a debt-ridden club when he freely admits he knows nothing about football, has no ties to the area and didn't even realise the town had a football team? It can only be a long term strategy to make money from it by asset-stripping.”

He added: “This raises many wider questions about who the EFL allows to buy its member clubs. Bury fans will feel badly let down by Dale and the EFL. It's genuinely a tragedy and the hope must be that the club can start again, work its way up and regain its league status. But that is a very long road."

Bury’s expulsion from the EFL means they are the first side to drop out since Maidstone in 1992. This season’s League One will now be made up of 23 teams and the number of relegation places reduced to three. Four teams will still be promoted from League Two, with only one now being relegated.

Football fans now wait with baited breath to learn the fate of fellow League One side Bolton Wanderers. Whatever the outcome, the summer of 2019 will be remembered as one of the darkest in the history of English football.