Crawley set sights on Barker

Every football fan knows that Pre-Season is a time for the rumour mill to start churning out stories faster than Usain Bolt.

They also know that most of these rumours are utter nonsense spawned from false social network accounts or drunken conversations down the local. These rumours quickly die down and are usually forgotten about within 48 hours.

You know the sort: Michael Owen on loan to Bristol City confirmed by the man in the queue at the Post Office who mows the chairman’s lawn. Speculation often turns to rumour which soon turns to ‘fact’ and before you know it you’ve got four hours worth of coverage on the sports news channels.

Of course some stories just ring true from the minute you hear them. One of those stories appears to be the departure of Shakers boss Richie Barker to League One new boys Crawley Town. The Red Devils have been looking for someone to take the reins ever since Shaun O’Driscoll left for Notts Forest just two months into his tenure at the Broadfield Stadium. Dean Holdsworth ruled himself out of the job before Sheffield United’s Academy Director John Pemberton also denied his interest leaving Craig Brewster to step in as Caretaker for a second time.

Barker, who guided Bury to promotion just over 12 months ago, seems to be firm favourite with the bookmakers although reports from both clubs would suggest that negotiations are at a very early stage.  The Crawley Observer report that Barker is in talks with the West Sussex outfit and that a deal is almost complete. The Local Press in Lancashire seem to be unsure. The Manchester Evening News published an online article at 2:30pm that carried the headline “Bury FC deny Richie Barker has left to join Crawley” only for it to be replaced shortly after with a contradictory article entitled “Bury FC manager Richie Barker set for Crawley switch”.

Whatever the truth of the matter it can only have a negative effect on Bury F.C. If Barker leaves, the Gigg Lane outfit are likely to be managerless for their first competitive game of the season. If Barker stays, then his already wavering relationship with the fans is likely to take a big hit.

Many Shakers fans seem to know more than the club itself and are already contemplating names for the next appointment, with most of the debate taking place on the Official Bury F.C. messageboard. The general consensus seems to be that of bringing back an ex player with Chris Lucketti, Nicky Daws, Phil Parkinson, Andy Morrell and even MKDons new-boy Ryan Lowe all being mentioned.

Most of those names will be ruled out before this article goes live. However, the one name that may well end up in the Shakers dugout is Andy Morrell. His work at conference side Wrexham has not gone unnoticed in the football world and there are reports that he may already be on his way out of the Racecourse Ground, although these are unconfirmed.  Of course the very likely possibility is that the directors will stick with the rumoured Caretaker duo of Peter Shirtliff and Ben Futcher no matter how unpopular the decision may be.

Any change in manager comes with a change in feeling amongst a clubs supporters. The right appointment could see Shakers fans fully confident of a successful season, whereas if the wrong appointment were to be made supporters would be talking about relegation as if it were a certainty.

All in all the next few days will be a very interesting time to be a Shaker, although I’d prefer a bit more stability at this stage of proceedings.

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