DAVID Flitcroft says he pleaded with ex-Shakers chairman Stewart Day to curb his spending plans years before the worst problems hit the club.

Now appointed as assistant to Keith Hill at neighbouring Bolton Wanderers, Flitcroft left Gigg Lane in November 2016 with the team struggling for consistency following their promotion from League Two.

At that stage, Flitcroft says the wage bill had yet to be inflated to the unsustainable levels it reached on Day’s watch – but nevertheless, the desire to push Bury higher in the football pyramid was always a red flag.

“When I look back at my time there, we invested in two players – Leon Clarke, who we sold for a good price, and James Vaughan, who went for really good money,” he said.

“George Miller went for £400,000, Matty Foulds built a great youth system there. We are talking about a lot of money which has come into the club and it’s just sad when you see the spending which went on and on.

“Holding the reins back was the key. We wanted to be an outstanding League One club and then a Championship club with aspirations of becoming a Premier League club – and those stories were there when I left.

“The five-year plan. I told the chairman ‘the five-year plan, you’ve stated it, now change it, it can’t be achieved.’

“We put a free game on and I think we got 7.500 – we couldn’t fill the stadium against Southend.

“When I left the spend doubled. Football will be better regulated but it might have taken a travesty to make it happen – and it might be too late for Bury.”

Flitcroft feels for long-serving employees who have been coming to terms this week with the possibility of looking for new jobs.

“People have lost their livelihoods, great people who never even get a mention,” he said.

“Look at the community as a whole. It has lost a football club, a common cause, there are folk who have lost the opportunity to take their grandson or daughter. We always get hung up on the players but that’s not what it is about.”