Bury buried, Bolton cling on by fingertips in a tragedy to focus Sunderland minds

STOP PRESS: from the BBC … Bolton Wanderers: Football Ventures completes takeover to save League One club

We think of Bury and we think of Paul Butler, Chris Maguire and SuperKev’s four promotion-winning goals. Bolton will stir older memories (Nat Lofthouse in Bolton minds, Charlie Hurley in ours). Here are Pete Sixsmith‘s reflections on a social and sporting tragedy …

In their breakthrough hit Letter from America, The Proclaimers charted the destruction of Scottish industrial towns like Methil, Bathgate and Linwood. After the events of yesterday, those towns could well be replaced by the names of old established football clubs on this side of the still invisible border.

Bury are first on that list. They went yesterday after a prolonged period on a deathbed that was created for them by two men with similar names.

Stuart Day was the man who mortgaged the ground, the social club, the historic trophies and memorabilia and who offered contracts to players that were unrealistic.

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Sunderland, Bolton and Bury. Our League One financial ramble has to end somewhere.

I didn’t know when I’d get back to this series but it seems appropriate to visit these three now, though matters aren’t completely resolved. In two of the three clubs I’m not sure when they will be, and it’s possible we’ll get to the start of the season first.

And that introduces a small problem. The origins of the series arose from my curiosity about the finances and solvency of League One clubs in the context of their having the resources and ability to mount a promotion challenge. I never intended to be digging through files in the Companies House website and thought two posts would enable me to cover 20 clubs, with a third to deal with the three where administration was possible plus Sunderland, who were facing a takeover.

It didn’t work out like that. The start went pretty much as planned but my second dip into the League revealed a level of complexity that resulted in fewer clubs being covered in slightly more depth over two posts.

And then, when I got to Blackpool, Bolton and Bury, not to mention Sunderland, not everything was in order and I did have to dig deeper than I really wanted.  I managed to cover Blackpool and got up to speed with Bolton but in Bury’s case I could still be digging. However, everything has to finish somewhere, so here’s the last post in the series:

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Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

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Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

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Just Blackpool and Bolton, the financial ramble continues without Bury or Sunderland.

I expected to be finishing this series with a single post. It’s just not possible. While things have moved ahead with Blackpool, they seems to have stalled at Bolton and Sunderland still have to get out of the starting blocks. And as for Bury, their can has been kicked far down the road in the hope of allowing a solution that it reached the start of next season. Unfortunately, that only seems to have allowed more problems to build up, or at least existing ones to grow.
And with that the word length just kept getting bigger and bigger and the page length longer and longer. So once more I’ve decided to split the page and give you a where we’re at with Bolton and Blackpool and leave Bury and Sunderland to another day.

As ever supporters of both Blackpool and Bolton are welcome to chip in with their corrections, additions, thoughts, observations, even hopes, subject to the rules of decency, libel and so on. You maybe held for moderation but any posts meeting our standards do go up eventually.

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From Morecambe to Blackpool, Blackburn, Bolton and Bury, then Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere. It’s an Historic Lancashire Ramble

WordPress seems happier with Win7 than Win10, and a change of computer has let me add more content and repost the report I did a few hours ago:

It was January 2017 when I last reported on this side of the Pennines, which is not surprising, given the season(s) – and close seasons – we’ve had recently. it’s a bit quieter now, so I thought it a good time to revisit before things get lively again. Some of the clubs I visited have improved their circumstances, others have seen their situations worsen and quite a few of them are now sharing a division with us, not all in the best of circumstances.

Indeed, some will make you wonder why all the fuss about us finishing fifth and missing out on promotion against Charlton, who themselves are not in the best of circumstances, given the owner is looking to sell and appears to have already given up on promotion, although he hadn’t ruled it out completely yesterday.

Charlton fans are welcome to post their thoughts but Charlton are not the issue today, the focus is firmly on the historic County of Lancashire

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