45 YEARS AGO AFTER months of denying they were ready to sell Colin Bell and insisting, specifically, that they would not be doing any business with Manchester City, Bury buckled at the 11th hour and sold Bell . . . to City.

The cash-strapped Shakers managed to hold out until transfer-deadline day when they were also in talks with Blackpool, but when City offered £45,000, their resolve was finally broken.

The Bell deal was sealed after 10 hours of talks at a country club at Heywood and at Gigg Lane, after which Bury manager Bert Head said: “We are sorry to see Colin Bell go.

“It just makes our job a little bit more difficult but you cannot stand in the way of a player’s progress and Colin goes with my own and the good wishes of everyone at Bury.”

The Shakers had already spent £20,000 of the Bell money, signing Paul Aimson from York and George Kerr from Barnsley, which made for a nervous couple of hours before City handed over their cheque.

A somewhat relieved Head admitted: “I suppose I was taking a bit of a risk, for if Bell had said ‘no’ the club would have been financially embarrassed, but we had to make sure of the replacements before the deadline.”

It was all quiet on the transfer front for Wanderers, despite numerous clubs being represented at Burnden Park where Bill Ridding’s side –- including Wyn Davies – lost 3-1 to Preston, who nudged ahead of their Lancashire rivals on the all-time results list between the two sides dating back to the start of the football League in 1888-89 – North End winning 18 of the 45 meetings against Wanderers’ 17.

Davies, who had been the subject of intense transfer speculation for months, headed home a Dennis Butler free kick to give Wanderers a 29th-minute lead but Preston stormed back with a hat-trick from their reserve centre forward Brian Greenhalgh.

D-day was fast approaching for world heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay, who was forced to attend a draft board to find out whether he would be ordered to report for service in the American Forces after defending his title against Canadian George Chuvalo in Toronto.

Clay had initially been exempted from military service because he did not meet minimum intelligence requirements, but, under pressure of the Vietnam crisis, the army lowered its standards.

In the meantime, Clay had joined the Black Muslims and thrown boxing in crisis when declaring “I can fight in wars only declared by Allah himself”.

That prompted legendary former world champion Joe Louis to turn against him and led to promoters having to cancel a proposed title defence against original challenger Ernie Terrell and take the less-attractive Chuvalo fight out of the United States.

30 YEARS AGO STAN Anderson’s future as manager of Bolton Wanderers was in serious doubt after former assistant manager George Mulhall resigned as Bradford City manager and returned to Burnden Park to make up a new-look management team.

Anderson was told his job was safe, at least until the end of the season, but Mulhall’s “second coming” suggested major changes were in the offing with chief coach Tony Dunne under extreme pressure after losing his position as number two.

An angry Anderson, who had reluctantly agreed to the appointment of Mulhall – the man he had replaced as assistant manager to Ian Greaves three years earlier – reacted to the speculation by stressing: “As far as I am concerned there is no question of Tony Dunne leaving this club. George, Tony and I will have to get together and talk over our particular jobs in running the team. George is coming here as my assistant and will be in charge of coaching.”

Something clearly had to be done after Wanderers’ morale hit rock bottom with a 2-0 home defeat by Shrewsbury – a performance the manager described as “a shambles” and which prompted a wave of protests from disillusioned fans. And newly-appointed chief executive, Brian Turnbull, fanned the flames when he made it clear that changes had to be made if Wanderers were not going to be relegated for the second successive season.

There was a crumb of comfort for the new management team when Neil Whatmore and Dusan Nikolic got the goals in a 2-1 win in a friendly against Dutch side, Sparta Rotterdam.

England cricketers, who were already having a torrid time in their Test series in the West Indies, suffered a more serious blow to their morale when Ken Barrington, the assistant manager, died of a heart attack.

If there had been one man doing his utmost to lift the flagging spirits of a side which was being patently outclassed on the tour, it was the unfailingly cheerful Barrington, who was known affectionately as “The Colonel”.

20 YEARS AGO WANDERERS had played better and lost, but no one was complaining after Phil Neal’s team beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 at Burnden Park to get their promotion charge back on track.

That they did it without injured top scorer Tony Philliskirk was all the more satisfying as David Reeves and Julian Darby assumed the scoring responsibilities.

They each netted their ninth goals of the season from two of only four decent scoring chances Wanderers created in the entire 90 minutes while Wigan, who created far more, had to settle for a 79th-minute penalty which Bryan Griffith tucked away after being brought down in full flight by Mark Winstanley, who suffered the double penalty of having to be stretchered off with an ankle injury.

Manchester City were riding high, sixth in Division One, but their supporters weren’t happy.

They voiced their displeasure after a 1-1 home draw with Wimbledon and manager Peter Reid admitted he could not blame them.

“I didn’t think it was a good game to watch and from the reaction of the fans they agreed with me,” Reid said.

“But Wimbledon always make it difficult and all credit to them. It’s up to us to break them down and we had a couple of chances and didn’t take them.”

Both goals came just after half time, John Fashanu putting the Dons in front and Mark Ward equalising form the penalty spot a minute later.

City included Bury full-back Andy Hill, who was at Maine Road on loan in advance of a proposed £200,000 transfer.

England manager Graham Taylor faced a midfield crisis as he mulled over his squad options ahead of the European Championship qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Already without Paul Gascoigne and Steve McMahon and with Stuart Hodge and Neil Webb major doubts, he lost the versatile Trevor Steven when the Rangers midfielder’s season was ended by a knee injury he suffered in the Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic.

Controversial former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson defeated Canadian Donovan “Razor” Ruddock inside seven rounds in Las Vegas.

But the fight ended in chaos when Ruddock’s fans stormed the ring and started a mass brawl with security men in protest at the manner in which the fight was stopped.

The end came shortly after Tyson had landed a solid left hook and a right to the head that sent Ruddock reeling across the ring.

He bounced off the ropes but never hit the canvas but referee Richard Steele immediately ran towards the Canadians waving his arms to stop the contest, setting off the protests.