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.
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Southampton: Frank Lampard shuns the limelight ahead of his Premier League farewell
Francis Coquelin: The would-be Zinedine Zidane now making an impression as Arsenal’s Claude Makelele
Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Gunners snub that redefined Tim Sherwood
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger sets deadline for Theo Walcott contract talks with Liverpool keeping a close eye on his future
- 1 Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take title from Conchita Wurst
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...