As you may or may not know, I don’t tend to do friendlies. It’s why you’ve read very little from me on the Stoke game, or any of the others.
I think my faith in friendlies was lost the year I watched us go down 2-1 to Championship side Watford having won all our other pre-season matches. Full of hope I championed the side and a week later we lost 4-0 to Shrewsbury in the first game of the season. Last year, I left at half time of the Norwich game. Why? I’ve seen enough matches at a half-empty stadium in which the result really doesn’t matter; almost every single game between August 2007 and May 2016.
Still, the pages of the Stacey West won’t fill themselves and football doesn’t stop just because this miserable sod wants to stay at home with his dog. The world keeps turning, the gates of hell have opened and as a ginger, I’m confined indoors in this heat. That’s your good fortune though because it means I round up all of the stuff that’s happened today in our division.
Let’s start with the bad news, shall we?
I don’t have a fondness for Bury beyond the usual camaraderie between lower league fans, but what has happened at their club this summer is an utter disgrace. They’ve been warned today that they could face expulsion from the Football League.
By ‘warned’ what the EFL mean is they’ve given them 24 hours to provide certain financial assurances about their future otherwise they’re out. Gone. Game over.
The whole situation is a shambles. Steve Dale took over without proper ratification, he’s contributed to driving them through the summer with no direction at all; seriously, their new manager got Truro City relegated from the National League South last season and his previous experience includes assistant to Russell Slade as he tried to get Grimsby relegated, along with a nine-year stint in charge of Cardiff reserves where, in the grand scheme of things, relegation isn’t an issue.
I’m not sure they’re going to make it through the next few weeks I’m afraid. It’s a sad state of affairs all around.
Sunderland bag a striker
As if buying Charlie Wyke for £1m last summer, then following it up with a £4m purchase of Will Grigg wasn’t enough, Sunderland have now secured £1m striker Marc McNulty on loan from Reading.
It really does expose the difference in budgets in this division when one of the sides we’ll face will have £6m of strikers to pick from, albeit one of them on loan. You could probably buy Accrington Stanley for that. Twice.
Sunderland have an odd transfer policy this summer. basically, if you were part of Coventry’s promotion from League Two then you’re fair game. They’ve taken Jordan Willis, Lee Burge and now McNulty. There was a bit of bad blood between the sides last season but this is just taking things to the extreme.
They’ve also signed Walsall midfielder George Dobson. He was Walsall captain last campaign and is only 21. He’s a former West ham trainee and a really useful midfielder. He’ll have cost a few quid too; the haves and have nots contrast starkly in the third tier.
After a slow summer, the Black Cats have started to awaken. Maybe scoring no goals on their pre-season tour of Portugal, despite trying a new adventurous formation, had something to do with it.
We’re after Krystian Pearce
Seriously, the Mansfield Chad wrote this article today as if it were new news. Wow.