HOLD the back page ... bye bye Bury but bravo Bolton Wanderers.

Two famous football clubs at the heart of the communities they serve were reluctantly transferred to the front pages.

English football is awash with cash so why have we lost one of the founding members of the English football league – a structure that was once the envy of the world?

Surely the big players could have helped those lower than themselves in the pecking order.

Much closer to home and personal why have generations of passionate fans been kicked shamelessly into touch?

It was raw reality television to see crest-fallen fans cope with the expulsion of Bury and the last-gasp reprieve for Bolton replayed on our screens.

Football is the backdrop to many lives.

It is the glue that keeps our communities in towns and cities together.

When a club becomes unstuck there are tears on the terraces of the cruellest kind because it's not their fault.

Here on Merseyside we live and breathe soccer – imagine if we didn't have Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere.

The TV comedy series Ripping Yarns once highlighted the passion of Golden Gordon - a fan who loved Barnestoneworth United.

He takes on and beats the money-grabbing board who want to sell his club for scrap.

Bolton were eventually saved in injury time.

Yet Bury's financial own goals did not warrant a financial VAR.

Now Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham (life-long Evertonian) is campaigning that Bury - nicknamed The Shakers - are invited to join the EFL 2 next year.

He has a September 20 deadline.

In this column I have called for a minister for social media.

Now I whistle-blow for a minister for soccer to deal with such unfair punishments and penalties for lower league clubs.

Surely, the Premiership could get involved more to prevent such debacles happening again.

There should be a provident fund – a football kitty set up with money raised in pre-season friendlies for those clubs who find themselves in financial difficulties allowing them breathing space to find a new buyer with their heart and bank account in the right place.

The great Bill Shankly said: "some people think football is a matter of life and death.

"I assure you it is much more serious than that." 

Shanks was a fan first and foremost.

His words should be etched on every soccer club’s boardroom wall.


FIFTY years ago I swapped short kecks for long trousers leaving primary education for five years at Cardinal Godfrey High School.

On Monday, I returned for a first in my life ... a reunion.

And in a city centre pub – my life's video tape was re-wound back to 1969.

Nicknames, favourite teachers and even the rickety school bus were all remembered with unabashed nostalgic fondness and pints that we were too young to drink way back then.

Man had landed on the moon, the UK hadn't even entered the European Community and our individual and collective dreams lay ahead.

As Brexit bulletins played on the TV screen behind us, it was a blessed escape to go on a mental magical history tour to halcyon days.

They say school days are the best years of our lives.

We didn't think so at the time but, as Beatle George Harrison once said of the carefree sixties, they didn't analyse the magic because they were busy living it.

"Roll on four o'clock" me, Jonesy and Yosser used to say 50 years ago.

Now ... roll on the next reunion.


HALLOWEEN has more horrific significance as the Brexit witching hour approaches on October 31.

To take our minds off politics our local theatres are offering supernatural dramas.

Liverpool Playhouse is bound to have a monster sell-out with Frankenstein – that's a no-brainer.

But I am in two minds about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the Chester Storyhouse.

Our PM is already giving a five-star performance in the role.



We Brits aren't the only ones feeling down under.

Australia has avoided recession for 28 years, but now its economy is in dire straits (cue Money for Nothing).

Economists say they need urgent fiscal magic from the financial wizards of Oz.

It's looking bleak on Bondi Beach as they try like King Canute to hold back the tide of global trade wars.

Maybe they should cut down on imports.

According to researchers at TV's QI, Britain exports 50,000 boomerangs to Australia each year.

Don't they realise they always come straight back here ... as souvenirs.


FRIDAY is 'Read a Book Day.' 

As I scan the internet for a copy of The Ladybird Book of Snap General Elections (with a foreword by Brenda from Bristol) there is one paperback that combines fact and fiction on every page.

I can't put down The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson. The star of Parliament's prorogues gallery has morphed from gag-cracking maverick to surly risk-taking politician.

Here's a tasty morsel from BJ back in 2006 at the Tory Party conference: "My policy on cake is pro having it - and pro eating it." 

What a pro.


And finally ...

Channel 4 are avidly encouraging complaints from viewers.

Here's my advice for Channel 5 ... DON'T.

We can't have the national electricity grid crashing.

Peter Grant