JACK ROSS claims the financial crisis that has dragged Bury to the brink of liquidation underlines why Sunderland were right to make the kind of difficult decisions that have been taken since Stewart Donald took over from Ellis Short.

Bury’s 134-year spell as a Football League club could come to an end today, with the EFL having imposed a deadline for controversial owner Steve Dale to provide proof that the funds are in place to pay off creditors and ensure adequate operational funding for the rest of the season.

The EFL have expressed their repeated dissatisfaction with Dale’s plan to solve the club’s financial problems, meaning they could be stripped of their Football League share if they do not meet the requirements of their insolvency policy.

Dale, who bought Bury for £1 last year, claims he is owed £7.1m by the club, a significant amount when compared to the average annual income of a club in League One, but a relative pittance compared to the £140m debt that Sunderland racked up under Short.

Short’s willingness to write off the majority of that sum effectively saved the Black Cats from administration last summer, but Donald still inherited a financial mess when he assumed control at the Stadium of Light last May.

The Black Cats owner was forced to oversee an immediate programme of redundancies, and has subsequently helped usher a succession of high-earning players through the exit door. Lee Cattermole, who signed a one-year contract with Dutch side VVV Venlo yesterday, and Bryan Oviedo were the latest senior figures to depart this summer, and while Ross would have liked to keep both players in his squad, he understands why the long-term stability of the club had to come first.

“I think Stewart knows I have an interest in the all-round wellbeing of the club,” said the Sunderland boss, who will lead his side back into action against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow. “I don’t just view my role as being about winning games, although I’m always going to be judged on that. I do see it as my responsibility to help take the club forward in a sensible manner.

“I know there are some managers who will spend and spent because their mantra is, ‘If they don’t, the next manager will come along and do it’. I’m not saying my way is right and others are wrong, there are different approaches, but that’s the way I manage.

“Take this summer for example. Stewart and the guys that own the club would tell you that I put forward the reasoning behind it (letting Cattermole and Oviedo go). It was a lot to do with the equilibrium of the club and how we balanced out everything, both within the changing room and for them as well.

“Right from day one, I’ve always understood where we were when we all came in, where we potentially would be, where we need to try to get to, and the ramifications of not getting there.

“I’m kept reasonably abreast of things. They don’t tell me everything, and rightly so because I don't own the club and don't carry the burden of making sure it runs properly financially. But, I’m interested enough for them to tell me, and hopefully understand it as well.”

Ross has sympathy for everyone involved with Bury, especially the club’s manager, Paul Wilkinson, and the five remaining registered players who went unpaid for more than five months.

If the Shakers are expelled from the Football League, the impact on the club’s supporters and the wider community will be massive, and having watched from close quarters when Gretna imploded and were thrown out of the Scottish League – the Sunderland boss was in the Falkirk side that played against Gretna in the border club’s first game in the SPL – Ross feels immense sympathy for Bury’s plight.

However, with the League One season now four matches old, and with Bury still to play a single fixture, he accepts the EFL cannot allow the continue uncertainty to drag on too much longer.

“I’m surprised it’s been allowed to drift for as long as it has given the degree of professionalism that’s involved in football in England,” he said. “It’s a big industry and right from the top level through the leagues, there’s a lot of money involved in it and a lot of big crowds, so for it to drift is unhealthy.

“If you're running the EFL, you have to show leadership and governance and you've got to make decisions. If you're Prime Minister, you've got to make decisions – people might not like them, but you've still got to make them.

“If you've got make a decision some people disagree with or which will make you unpopular, well, you've got to do it, or you shouldn't be in the job. I don’t think it's unhealthy for it to continue much longer.”

Ross has wished Cattermole well after the former skipper signed a one-year deal with VVV Venlo, who are currently 12th in the Dutch Eridivisie after picking up three points from their opening three games.

“I’m delighted for him,” he said. “It’s a new challenge, and I think he was always keen to explore something different. That certainly gives him that. I think he’ll be an asset to them, as he was to me during my time at the club.

“I wish him well, and I’ll hopefully catch up with him later. It’s a good move for him, an exciting move, and although it’s a different challenge, I’m sure it’s one he’ll embrace.”