Wahay! The waiting is over! Hopefully the lines in the bars have been cleaned and the pies have been restocked! And this season is going to be so much better than the rubbish that we’ve experienced in recent years. Raj has supported Hignett. Hignett seems to have recruited well. The fans have bought season tickets in support of both Raj and Hignett. What could go wrong?
And I immediately think of Bury. No game tomorrow. Imagine being a Shakers fan – you’ve been promoted, you suffered financial turmoil and then the EFL, who have clearly been asleep on watch, deliver a hammer blow.
The EFL make my blood boil. But my blood pressure exploded yesterday when I read the views of Carlisle manager Steven Pressley – he says Bolton and Bury should be banished from the Football League.
This is ex-Coventry manager Steven Pressley – and where are Coventry playing this coming season?
Pressley had a long playing career, playing for both halves of the Old Firm and making over 100 league appearances for both Dundee United and Hearts. Pressley captained the Hearts side that won the 2006 Scottish Cup Final, and made 32 appearances for Scotland. As a player, Pressley was described as hard-working and exhibiting leadership. When did he become an expert on issues such as the ownership and economics of EFL clubs?
After retiring as a player, Pressley was assistant manager of Falkirk, before being appointed manager in February 2010. Pressley also served as an assistant manager to George Burley while Burley was manager of Scotland. Now my memory isn’t what it was, but I don’t recall them having much success.
He moved to League One side Coventry City in March 2013, but was dismissed in February 2015. Then, following short spells as manager of Fleetwood Town and Cypriot club Pafos, Pressley was appointed manager of Carlisle United in January 2019. So I guess that he’s had plenty of time to become an expert on matters of finance and so forth.
But how dare he suggest that Bolton and Bury should be banished from the Football League? I so hope that Carlisle get thrashed by Bury in the FA Cup and that Bolton knock them out of the League Cup – before Carlisle become embroiled in some form of financial struggle, caused by some dubious previous owner and Pressley has to then manage a side of unpaid and increasingly frustrated players.
So much for the wider football family sticking together!
Anyway, back to Bury: an EFL statement released on Monday read: “Following continued and comprehensive discussions with the ownership at Bury and other interested parties throughout Monday, the EFL board is not satisfied it has received the necessary evidence in regard to the outstanding information it requires that demonstrates how the club will be funded moving forwards.
“As a result of not meeting Monday’s 5pm deadline, which had been extended on two previous occasions, the EFL board feels it has been placed in an unenviable position and, regrettably, has opted to take the reluctant decision to suspend Saturday’s opening day fixture with MK Dons under the provision of EFL Regulation 28.2.
“In addition, the EFL board, if not in possession of the necessary evidence by 12pm on Friday 2 August 2019, will make a determination as to whether to suspend Bury’s away fixture at Accrington Stanley on Saturday 10 August 2019.”
So the EFL allow Day and Dale to get away with whatever they were up to – by failing to do their job – and now they deliver what could be a terminal kick. Outrageous!
But back to my new Scots mate. Pressley believes that teams who ‘are run properly should benefit’. In an interview with CFM Radio, Pressley said: “I think the current football world is not a fair world. Clubs like us (Carlisle) should get more credit than we get.
“The problem in football is clubs like Bury, clubs like Bolton, who have overspent and not worked within their means and in a way could be described as cheating to gain success, aren’t penalised heavily enough.
“These clubs should be banished from the Football League and clubs that are run properly should benefit.
“What actually happens is supporters get frustrated that we can’t compete with these clubs, but actually we maybe can it’s just that they’re not spending within their means.
“It brings a pressure to clubs that are run properly, like ourselves, clubs like ourselves should be credited for working properly and this is one of the problems in the football game just now.
“It’s about getting the best out of the resources we have but still having the ability to pay the players’ and the staff’s wages every month and that’s a responsibility that the club takes very seriously.”
Now I can’t argue that some clubs overspend; that some owners take risks which don’t deliver the required results; or that some owners should be allowed nowhere near any sort of sporting club. But you should never wish ill of a rival at any level.
So, Professor Pressley, all I can say is:
1. Jimmy Glass
2. You’ll need a new employer at some stage.
3. Fans have long and often unforgiving memories.
4. Michael Knighton. Remember when he reckoned that he’d been visited by aliens in a UFO?
5. Remember when Carlisle United came close to being bought by a bloke who worked as a waiter in an Indian restaurant.
6. Remember when Carlisle finished bottom of the league but escaped relegation because Aldershot were expelled following bankruptcy?
7. Remember the support you got when your ground was flooded?
So, Stevie-Baby, I expect that I’ll be standing near you at some football ground in the future – perhaps at Rift House – and I look forward to having a wee chat with you about this.
Disgraceful behaviour by both the EFL and Pressley.
Back to tomorrow. Welcome to Sutton United – sorry, but you are going to get hammered. Pools are over-due a good start to the season and I confidently expect us to win 6 or 7 of the first 8 games!
And then, next season – we welcome Carlisle United, who will then be managed by someone other than Steven Pressley.
Toodle Pip Stevie-Baby.