Football: Gray adds a touch of class to Bury
Bury 1 Tranmere Rovers 0
Monday 08 September 1997
Which just shows how wrong you can be. Football might be selling its soul to the highest bidder but Bury are confounding the laws of financial gravity that say the poor will fall. They were supposed to be the First Division's cannon fodder this season, but so far they are holding their own even if they are above their station.
This result gives them nine points from six matches which might not seem a staggering return but on success divided by resources ratio puts them on a par with Wimbledon of the Premiership. Manchester City, the leviathans from nine miles down the A56 who, along with United suck Bury's natural support away, would love such a start.
The secret, according to manager Stan Ternent, who has guided Bury to promotion in successive seasons, would also ring familiar at Wimbledon, too. "From the chairman to the tea lady we work hard," he said. "We all pull in the same direction."
The players certainly do. Paul Butler, a centre-back who has attracted bids from bigger clubs, has lost a stone since moving from Rochdale two seasons ago thanks to Ternent's training regime while yesterday's victory was testament to the labour ethic.
No one embodied it more than Andy Gray, a former England international who at 33 could be expected to take it easy. In the 86th minute he bewitched the Tranmere defence with a lovely dribble down the right wing and when his cross came to nothing he slogged back like his career depended on it.
Gray oozed class. Bury, not surprisingly, are not blessed with an abundance of players who can do things with the ball that make you gasp with admiration but he still can. Ally that to David Johnson's unpredictable dribbling and the more prosaic qualities of his huge colleagues and Bury are a handful. Particularly for Tranmere, whose days of a permanent place in the play- offs seem long ago.
You did not need to wait long to understand Bury's tactics. From the kick-off the ball was launched at the giant features of Peter Swan and the pattern was indelibly set.
Which made the 42nd minute goal something of an exception. Gray began as per script with a long throw but once the ball came back to him he beat two players on the touchline before passing to Butler. The defender hit a shot that was blocked but the rebound fell to Swan, who turned sharply and beat Danny Coyne from 12 yards.
At seventh in the First Division, the have nots have so far confounded expectation. Money may talk in football, but in this part of Manchester they are not listening.
Goal: Swan (42) 1-0.
Bury (4-3-1-2): Kiely; Hughes, Lucketti, Butler, Armstrong; Daws, Gray, Johnrose; Johnson (Jepson, 80); Battersby (Randall, 69), Swan. Substitute not used: Woodward.
Tranmere Rovers (4-4-2): Coyne; Stevens (Morrisey, 72), Thorn, McGreal, Thompson; G. Jones, Irons (Challinor, 72), Cook, L. Jones; Branch, Morgan (O'Brien, h-t).
Referee: R Furnandiz (Doncaster).
Bookings: Bury: Hughes, Johnson; Tranmere: Thompson.
Man of the match: Gray.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
Latest in Sport
David Moyes needs to bring in his own players says Phil Jagielka
Manchester United’s ambitious transfer plans at risk from top-four failure
English clubs ditch Heineken Cup - confirming they will not take part in any ERC run competition in 2014-15
Brazil World Cup 2014 draw: England drawn with holders Spain in official Group Stage rehearsal
Manchester City sign the 'new Lionel Messi' Brahim Abdelkader, and in doing so put one over Barcelona
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Nelson Mandela life story: An unconquerable spirit
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen
£40000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...
£50000 - £60000 Per Annum experience dependent: The Green Recruitment Company:...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Compa...
£18000 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Project Adminis...