Bury endured a torrid season, eventually finishing bottom in League One and finding themselves back in the basement division. The yo-yo team have done it again, switching divisions for the fourth time in eight seasons. Will they bounce straight back at the final time of asking? We look at the final ‘new faces’ from League One.
I’ve always felt Bury manage to do relatively well based on their location as much as anything. There’s little between us and them in terms of club size, but being in Greater Manchester affords them a better selection of players, certainly from the lower divisions. Relocation is an issue for us, but Manchester is a big city and an attractive draw for players.
We last met the Shakers as we fell out of the Football League, they finished second and were promoted to League One. Their leading scorer that season, Ryan Lowe, is now in charge. Our leading scorer that season, Ashley Grimes, is now in the bottom Scottish division.
We’ve met Bury on 74 occasions, so we’re no strangers despite not having crossed paths in a fair few seasons now. Of course, that is a by-product of spending six years on your arse in the National League. For every new face like Salisbury or Ebbsfleet, there’s an old foe (or friend) missing out on a once-yearly trip to Sincil Bank.
The last time Bury did come to Sincil Bank, they won 5-0. Yup, that’s right, if you’re one of the 6,000 or so who have joined us since the resurgence, it might surprise you to know we were beyond awful eight years ago. I sat through that Tuesday evening game, four days after my birthday. We were 3-0 down after 21 minutes and in an effort to turn our fortunes around, Drewe Broughton came on for Ben Hutchinson.
We ‘only’ lost 1-0 in our last meeting on April 22nd 2011, but it was a tough defeat to take because as you probably know, a win would have kept us up.
I don’t want to dwell on all that now, so maybe I should mention April 24th 2010, our last win against the Shakers. Davide Somma scored in the 80th minute to all-but ensure Chris Sutton didn’t have a relegation on his CV. Sutton himself did the same next season by jacking it in as soon as the going got tough. Sorry, I said I wasn’t going to look back at all that in the last paragraph. Do excuse me.
We have never done the double in a single season over Bury and in 1996 they thrashed us 7-1 at Gigg Lane. It’s fair to say I’m not over enamoured at the prospect of facing them again, but to settle the nerves here’s some awful stats from them last season.
Bury had what could only be described as a shambolic season, one in which fans could derive little pleasure. Lee Clark’s tenure as manager was a disaster, the mess he handed over to former player Ryan Lowe simply unfathomable at such short notice. Relegation wasn’t confirmed until April but in truth, their fans may well have called it as early as November when Woking hammered them 3-0 in the FA Cup.
On two occasions the club went ten games without a win in all competitions, one another occasion they lost eight on the bounce. They registered back to back wins only once, beating Blackburn in the Checkatrade and then Bradford in the league. They did lose one in eight at one point, but it was never going to be enough to stave off the inevitable.
There’s wasn’t a lack of talent around Gigg Lane, but a lack of desire and passion. Chris Maguire is a striker Sunderland hope to get the most out of this season, but he was nothing more than a bit-part player. He scored twice in 24 outings, Jermaine Beckford hit eight in fifteen and remains with the club this season, although he’s currently injured.
There’s clearly been a lot of work to do this summer, finding some goals has been high on the agenda. The Shakers have landed Chris Dagnall, he bagged seven for Crewe last season. They’ve also recruited Gold Omoyato, a player who must be a headline writers dream. We were linked in a report with him too and I managed to avoid the ‘striking gold’ references. Just.
Former Imp Tom Miller is another League Two player to turn up at Gigg Lane, we know all about his quality a few years ago, but recently he’s struggled to get a game with Carlisle. Miller is versatile though and he has that wicked long throw which could provide a route to goal, especially with flick ons from the big centre forward with the golden touch (sorry, I had to use one).
There’s been plenty heading out too, as well as a lot of promotions from the youth set up. That’s to be expected as Ryan Lowe has worked closely with the players, but an over reliance on them might lead them down the table, rather than up it.
They have added Will Aimson from Blackpool and Chris Stokes from Coventry too, both experienced players at this level.
Ins: Tom Miller & Nicky Adams (Carlisle), Dom Telford (Stoke U23), Will Aimson (Blackpool), Chris Stokes (Coventry), Chris Dagnall (Crewe), Byron Moore (Bristol Rovers), Gold Omoyato (Whitehawk), Jordan Archer (Chester), Matthew Hudson on loan (Preston NE)
Outs: Andrew Tutte (Morecambe), Craig Jones, Chris Humphrey, Nathan Cameron (released), Zeli Ismail (Walsall), Greg Leigh (NAC Breda), Chris Maguire (Sunderland) and Callum Reilly (Gillingham)
Despite the doom and gloom around last season, Bury aren’t in a terrible shape. They seem to be going back to basics, mixing youth with experience and not over stretching themselves too much. Of course, much depends on the new signings performing well, but one or two have some real promise and add value at this level.
Chris Stokes is one who understands the level well having been at Coventry last season and Will Aimson played 17 times in League One for Blackpool last season. Along with Tom Miller (pictured) and Nicky Adams, they should bring a know-how to the side.
Of course, Chris Dagnall up front is as reliable as they come, but he won’t guarantee goals. Crewe created plenty during the latter half of the season but his conversion isn’t great. You know I love a non-league find and in Gold Omoyato they have their hopes resting, at least until Beckford is fit. Regular readers know I bang on about Mo Eisa a lot, but the difference between mid table obscurity and a play off push could be the unknown striker hitting a vein of form.
Either that or Dom Telford, on loan at Bristol Rovers last season, springs a surprise and bangs a hatful in early doors.