Former Bury boss Ryan Lowe has denied claims he overspent on players during his time at Gigg Lane and says he actually saved the club one million pounds.
Bury's 125-year stay in the English Football League came to an end on Tuesday when the Shakers were expelled from the league – and the club now face the real threat of liquidation.
Lowe guided Bury to promotion from Sky Bet League Two before joining Plymouth in the summer, but the former striker has since been accused of overspending to achieve that success.
"I could blow you away with the figures, they were very low," said Lowe on Sky Sports' The Debate Live show.
"There were players on big money, which I never gave the contracts out to. Previous managers and chairman did.
"I've heard players on £8-9,000 a week, never in a million years no one was on that type of money. Even old contracts, nowhere near.
"What was there beforehand I can't disclose, but I spent around £1.2-£1.3million on 12-13 players and I used the best players I could that were already there.
"That's not a lot of money. Yes, there were players there on decent enough money but that was out of my control.
"I came in as the manager and was told this is what's to spend."
Bury won promotion last season by finishing runners-up to Lincoln, with Lowe's side claiming 79 points from their 46 games.
Asked whether he was angry by the allegation that promotion had been achieved with players earning too much money, Lowe – who was appointed manager in January 2018 – said: "It's an insult, but it's an insult off keyboard warriors. Footballing people know about budgets.
"I'd like to think the budget I had when I first took over the football club was competitive.
"But some people have criticised me and said 'you've done this with big money'. No, I haven't.
"The year before we should have got promoted because we did have a big budget.
"When the previous manager was there we had an outrageous budget and I'd like to say I saved the club a lot of money before the new owner came.
"With the old owner, I slashed a million pounds off the budget straight away by getting rid of a lot of players who I didn't want and didn't fit my criteria."
Lowe says he has been left "distraught" by Bury's demise and plans to support a new club if the decision to expel the Shakers is not overturned.
"We've got plans, myself and my team at Plymouth, to help them as much as we possibly can, maybe raising some cash to get a phoenix club started off," Lowe said.
"We want to help because not having a club in Bury is not right.
"I'm hoping they can form something, get some good players in, get the fans' backing and get up the leagues.
"Chester and Wimbledon have done it, Salford have rose through the leagues with a lot of backers and monies, yes.
"Why can't Bury go and get a backer? It might take five or six years, but if I can help in any sort of way I will."