The revival of Bury FC
Matthew Hatton / Gigg Lane, home of Bury FC / CC BY-SA 2.0
The road has been a long and tumultuous one but for Bury, there finally appears to be an end in sight. A little over two years ago the Shakers found themselves competing at the top of League One. But after a run of 16 games without a win, losing 14 of them (12 in a row) they plummeted down the table and survived by the skin of their teeth, a single point. It was short-lived however with the Gigg Lane side being relegated the following season.
In that time frame, four managers came and went without being able to arrest the slide. David Flitcroft, Chris Brass, Lee Clark and Chris Lucketti all tried and failed to revive the club and the dreams of the then owner, Stewart Day. Yes, Bury have also undergone a change of ownership in that time, with Steve Dale taking over control. But at long last, progress appears to be being made. Saturdays 4-3 win over MK Dons, after being 3-1 down after 53 minutes saw the side leapfrog their opponents to second in League Two. It had been a loss in similar circumstances that began the decline. The comeback was evidence that things had changed.
The appointment of club legend Ryan Lowe as manager in the summer has slowly seen the fortunes turn. The former striker immediately identified a key problem. The goals of James Vaughan had kept Bury up but his departure to Sunderland left a void that Clark and Lucketti were unable to fill. Lowe has done a magnificent job in solving this. The signings of Nicky Maynard and Jay O’Shea have been crucial, with the pair contributing 25 goals between them, with the likes of Dom Telford, Danny Mayor (arguably the best player in the division) and Caolan Lavery all contributing significantly. Bury are currently the division’s top scorers whilst at the other end, the likes of Joe Murphy, Chris Stokes and Will Aimson and captain Neil Danns have made the Shakers a tough nut to crack.
The sale of the club by Day, who saved the club from being wound up, doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact as Lowe and the club continue to progress in the League as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the Checkatrade Trophy (also known as the EFL Trophy) It’s worth noting that the winless run mentioned also included being knocked out of three cups, which makes the win over Accrington Stanley another sign of the turnaround Lowe has enabled.
More significantly Lowe has had to pick the club up from one of its lowest points. He has set about restoring the confidence of both the players and the fans. As events higher up the divisions have shown getting players of the right quality isn’t enough. Lowe has managed to pick the club up from its nadir and start to raise morale amongst the players and, in turn, hope amongst the fans.
Having seen the bad times it would be unrealistic to expect much at this point, with 18 matches still to go in the League as well as least one, if not more in the Checkatrade Trophy the games are set to come thick and fast and how well the side from the BL9 area of Lancashire cope will be a truer measure of how far they have come. But for now this Bury fan wants to enjoy the good times again, they’ve been a while in coming...