STEVE Dale has turned down an 11th-hour rescue bid for Bury Football Club from a former Football League chairman.

The Shakers stand to lose their league membership tomorrow if they do not satisfy the EFL they can pay creditors and bills for the season ahead.

The Bury Times has learned that former Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite made an offer to Dale this week which included the payment of all creditors on the CVA agreed last month with the exception of a director’s loan of £3.6million.

Under the terms of the CVA, which paid back 25 pence in the pound for unsecured creditors, Dale stood to draw £900,000, which is believed to have been a sticking point.

The EFL are “frustrated at the lack of progress” being made by Dale, who took over from Stewart Day as owner at Gigg Lane in December.

Dale announced he would be open to selling the club earlier this month, telling The Sun: “I’ve decided it’s my intention to sell Bury FC due to the continued battle with the EFL and recent events which have affected my health.

“I’m a sensible man. I want the club to survive.”

Smurthwaite left Vale Park in May after selling the club and ground to new owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan im a deal worth more than £4m.

The 59-year-old had bought the club with then business partner Paul Wildes back in 2012, paying £1.25m to take the club out of administration. 

According to the Stoke Sentinel,  Smurthwaite still retains a financial interest in Vale relating to a payment plan he has with the Shanahans for them to buy the freehold at Vale Park. 

That is something that would need clearing up with the EFL should Dale have a change of heart, their rules preventing anyone having a stake in two member clubs.

It is understood however that the league would be minded to approve Smurthwaite's bid. 

Staff at Gigg Lane issued a joint statement last week “imploring” him to sell the club.

The 134-year-old club joined the old Football League in 1894 and after gaining promotion from League Two last season have seen the first six matches of the season suspended while also being turfed out of the Carabao Cup.