Outside the Box: No move to the Shakers as bad news is quickly buried

 

The CV must have looked impressive enough for a team struggling near the foot of League One: Champions' League appearances for Club Bruges against Juventus and Bayern Munich (twice), with a goal against the Italians; plus international appearances at every age group for Belgium. But what would he be like on a wet February night in Lancashire?

Not good enough for the Bury manager, Kevin Blackwell, who has confirmed that after playing against local rivals Bolton in the Manchester Senior Cup on the day he joined the Shakers as a non-contract player, the 27-year-old Jeanvion Yulu-Matondo was "on the next flight to Brussels".

Thus ended one of the shortest transfers in football history, Blackwell arguing that, after a three-week trial, the striker's fitness was not good enough. "They haven't played for months so their body has become deconditioned and they keep breaking down," he said of players such as Yulu-Matondo, who has not played since last February. "It's like panning for gold, trying to find someone who fits the bill, is at the right standard, not contracted and, the biggest thing for us is, will play for nothing."

Stags' triumph brings car

Mansfield Town's 8-1 win over Barrow in the Blue Square Bet Premier last weekend was good enough to earn their manager, Paul Cox, the chairman's Aston Martin, but he missed out on a club-record score.

The Stags' chairman, John Radford, rather rashly promised his car to Cox if the team improved on last season's 7-0 win over Barrow, and when the score was 8-1 with 20 minutes left, beating the club record of 9-2 also seemed probable – but the visitors held out.

Coincidentally, last week also saw an interview in the retro magazine Backpass with 80-year-old Colin Askey, who scored the final goal when Mansfield beat the amateurs of Hounslow Town 9-2 in the FA Cup in 1962-63. That tie was a replay and Askey, asked how his team made such hard work of drawing the first game 3-3, offered the candid reply: "We thought it would be easy and went out drinking the night before the game."

Rangers' steel disband

It was a year ago this week that Rangers went into administration, and the fallout continues in some unexpected places.

The latest is the Scottish outpost of Corby, where the official branch of the Rangers Supporters Club has closed down. One reason is the absence of Old Firm fixtures, leading to loss of revenue from trips north, TV screenings and bar takings. Thousands of Scots arrived in the Northamptonshire town in the 1930s to work in the Stewarts & Lloyds steel plant, bringing their football passions with them.

In late 2011, before the financial collapse at Ibrox, Rangers travelled down to play Corby Town at the official opening of their new ground, the aptly named Steel Park. The unofficial Corby Loyal Rangers Supporters Club are still in business and can expect an increase in membership.

Icing on cake for Cherries

This column has occasionally drawn attention to clubs with the worst record against local rivals, such as Fulham's nine wins in 77 games against Chelsea and Charlton's 11 in 65 versus Millwall.

Bournemouth might be regarded as similarly poor relations to Portsmouth, yet last weekend's 2-0 victory at Dean Court meant they trail by only eight wins to six and are unbeaten in this season's three meetings. A superb run under returning manager Eddie Howe has put them more than 20 places ahead of their South Coast neighbours in League One, and on course to finish above them for only the second time ever; the first was in 1988-89 in the old Second Division, with Harry Redknapp in charge.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

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