Steve Bruce has called on Premier League clubs to fund a rescue package for their struggling EFL counterparts amid a brewing financial crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sky Bet Championship Wigan became the latest club to go into administration last week just a month after being taken over, and Newcastle head coach Bruce, who learned his trade as a player in the lower leagues with Gillingham, fears they may not be the last.
The 59-year-old said: “A million or two million quid in the Premier League these days seems to be nothing. In the lower leagues, that would probably keep them all going for a season.
“I remember having a conversation with the chairman of Gillingham about how hard it is now with no income, no revenue from the stadium and no supporters.
“They’re finding it very, very difficult and I believe if we are not careful, we could see the collapse of lots and lots of teams, which for me will be sad.
“I learned my trade in the lower divisions – I was at Gillingham a long, long time and I will be forever thankful that a small club gave me the chance.
“Can we find a couple of million quid and put it to the football clubs who badly need it? Because if we are not careful, we are not going to have a structure like we had.
“It’s on the verge of, probably, collapse from what I am hearing from different managers and different chairman. It’s been very difficult, especially for those lower league ones.”
Bruce’s Magpies, like the rest of their top-flight colleagues, returned to action last month – they head for Manchester City on Wednesday evening – protected to an extent by the riches of the Premier League’s lucrative broadcast deal.
But he has not forgotten his football roots and he hopes the big boys will play their part in bailing out the struggling clubs below them.
Asked if it was imperative to keep every league club going, he replied: “Absolutely. Unfortunately in the last few years, we’ve seen clubs collapse and they’ve been going for a hundred years, some of these clubs.
“People in the lower divisions work tirelessly to keep their club going, the players, the staff, the chairman in these places. What happens to them if we don’t do something about this?”