ON THE BRINK

It’s been an eventful start to the season for Bury, despite nothing much happening around the club at all. Unbeaten in their first four league games due in no small part to the fact that they haven’t been allowed or able to play any of them, the Shakers will extend that run to five against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday now it’s been announced that particular fixture has become the latest to be postponed. Sadly, by then the club may well have gone the way of the dinosaurs, the dodo and the woolly mammoth, forced into extinction by their owner, Steve Dale, who has until Friday to provide evidence he has enough money in the kitty to keep the club above water or else get cast out of the Football League.

“Further clarity remains outstanding in relation to a number of the club’s financial obligations,” droned a statement from the Football League, whose rules to protect clubs’ viability has been highlighted by this whole sorry saga. “The EFL board continues to be frustrated at the lack of significant progress that has been made by Mr Dale in providing the information required.”

As consistently vocal in his proclamations that EVERYTHING WILL BE OK as he seems consistently reluctant to prove it despite much bluster to the contrary, Dale has pulled off the commendable feat of further enraging Bury’s fans, not to mention an ever-dwindling squad of unpaid senior players numbered at less than 11, by refusing the latest offer for the club. Reportedly made by Norman Smurthwaite, the controversial former Port Vale chairman, it was less than ideal but would at least have secured the Shakers’ survival.

In despair at the fate that looks set to befall her club, former Bury director Joy Hart has launched a lonely one-woman protest by handcuffing herself to a drainpipe outside the club. “Mr Steve Dale, you bought this club for £1, sell it please,” implored the daughter of former club legend Les Hart, after whom Gigg Lane’s south stand is named. “Bury as a town and as a club will die on Friday if you do not.” With the club’s main stand named after their late father, also a former director, there are a couple of former England internationals who might also considering getting involved. If the sight of Phil and Gary Neville holding placards reading “Careful Now!” and “Down With This Sort Of Thing!” doesn’t force prospective new buyers to dig deep, then surely nothing will.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The club has investigated this situation and is more than satisfied there was no hygiene issue. The items should not have been stored here and have now been removed” – a Dundee statement sniffs its response in the wake of a large bed frame and bin bags being spotted on the roof of a Dens Park food kiosk at Sunday’s Skol Lager Cup game against Aberdeen.

Some football scran, earlier.



Some football scran, earlier. Photograph: David Sillitoe/The Guardian

FIVER LETTERS

“Like Dan Webb (yesterday’s Fiver letters), my dearly departed dad and I used to have a competition where we’d guess who wrote the day’s Fiver. I still do it, though worryingly I’m probably still about 50 behind him – even more if he’s managing to read The Fiver somewhere in the afterlife. He’ll be very smug if there’s a celestial version of The Fiver that actually contains the TV and radio listings” – Bettina Vine.

“I second Dan’s recommendation to make The Fiver a little more interesting by ‘scroll(ing) past the name of that day’s author’, but wholeheartedly disagree with the part where he recommends to ‘start reading the first article’. The best way to enjoy The Fiver is to scroll past the author and just keep mashing that down arrow all the way to the bottom” – Kris Nordstrom.

“I hope Pep Guardiola never experiences what poor Dan experienced in yesterday’s Fiver letters and writes in, wins the prizeless letter o’the day, and then doesn’t receive the previously announced reward. I fear for him if yet another triumph slips from his grasp due to an entirely opaque and misunderstood last-second decision” – Seth King.

“Having been ranked at 1,057th twice in last season’s Fantasy Premier League ‘1,057 Pedants’, imagine my surprise to find there are only 950 pedants registered this year. It looks like STOP FOOTBALL is working” – Haydn Pyatt.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Bettina Vine.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Aston Villa youth coach Kevin MacDonald has left the club after an investigation into allegations of bullying made by a number of former young players.

Manchester United and Kick It Out will meet representatives of Social Media Disgrace Twitter regarding concerns over racism and other abuse aimed at footballers.

Ian Holloway is trying to clarify earlier comments which suggested he held the EU responsible for the new handball rules. “I’m not that stupid,” he fumed. “Fifa and Uefa have brought these rules in, they told us we’ve got to use VAR. That I’ve got no problem with, but that handball rule that they’ve made up, that’s nonsensical. It’s just the same way I’m sick and fed up of us in the UK being told what to do by the EU.”

That get-up.



That get-up. Photograph: Barrington Coombs/PA

Franck Ribéry has rocked up in Tuscany and signed for Fiorentina after a snub for TripAdvisor. “[Luca Toni] told me it’s a great club and a beautiful city,” he roared.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has left captain Ashley Williams out of his squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan because he is still without a club, while Paul Dummett isn’t in there either. “I spoke to Paul and he just really wanted to concentrate on club football,” sighed Giggs. “I think that will be it. He wanted to make sure he was fit for Newcastle.”

Jonathan Woodgate is off the mark as Middlesbrough boss after a 1-0 Championship win over Wigan. “I have said numerous times now, this is a work in progress and I have said to the fans, it is going to be a rocky road,” he warned.

Carli Lloyd: good at football.

And Clyde manager Danny Lennon, 50 [actually 50 – Fiver Ed] may well be aching a bit after bringing himself off the bench in his side’s 3-1 Glasgow Cup win over a Queen’s Celtic colts team. “I still have the physicality and the health to grace the pitch,” he tooted. “I felt that I handled it no problem … I’m actually going to go and look and negotiate a contract in the mirror with myself.”

STILL WANT MORE?

Already loving VAR? Wait until the Premier League finds a sponsor for it, cheers Marina Hyde.

Which team had the first away following in football? Even if Nasty Leeds would have taken more, the Knowledge has the answer.

Why Wales Women’s manager Jayne Ludlow is one of the busiest in the business. By Suzanne Wrack.

Wales’s Jayne Ludlow there.



Wales’s Jayne Ludlow there. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

West Brom’s Filip Krovinovic gets his chat on with Ben Fisher about the Baggies and Harry Potter.

Important words from Reading’s Yakou Méïté on the absolute state of things.

MLS and Antifa: Graham Ruthven reports on the political signage ban.

Paul Wilson takes a long-range view of Liverpool v Arsenal.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!





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