by TONYRIGBY on August 7, 2011
We all love to reminisce about the great times to pick us up when we're feeling low, but what do we do when we feel we need to be brought down a peg or two? Well guest writer 'TONYRIGBY', picks out his five worst derby memories, so stop smiling and let the bad times roll. . .
1. Bury 0-1 Stockport: 7th March 2006
The reason I included this at number 1 is because of the sheer patheticness that Bury showed on the night. We were playing a team sitting a place below us in the league and both County and Bury had found themselves locked in a relegation battle involving us both and about 4 other teams. Despite the game not having the same pull as the Dale fixture it was still a local derby (not to mention a relegation 6 pointer) and despite it being on a Tuesday night I still expected some effort from our support & the Bury public. But of course not, how silly of me. I remember getting to Gigg Lane to see huge queues outside the away end and started to fear the worst. I got in to the Manny Road End and looked up at what must have been no more than 50 fans in the home end. I then scanned round the ground all the Bury stands looked to be practically empty but the County end was packed to the rafters. There was blatantly about 2000 County fans there and barely 1500 Bury fans. (Though the next day the club tried to claim the attendence as being 3116 and gave the figure of away fans as just over 1300. Never in a million years).
Anyway the reason I picked this one is that it summed up the club at the time - we were s***e and in a relegation dogfight and not even for a derby against a local club could the Bury public bother to turn up. Whilst on the other hand County were a team that recently had been through terrible times and had had an awful season could still bring a tremendous vocal support. The home end had an awful atmosphere as per usual and we were battered all game before they scored near the end with a crisp finish from non league signing Liam Dickinson. The travelling support went mad whilst I sat slumped in my seat mortified at the state of the club and its very sparse fan base.
That same night I returned to Castle Irwell in Salford which was my student accommodation. I lived with 2 Carlisle fans and on the night they had just clinched a place in the JPT Final and they returned from Macclesfield bouncing. When the enquired how the Bury game had gone I found myself too embarrased to talk about the game to them. It should never get to that point you should always be proud of your team. On this night Bury FC took it down to a new level. Unfortunately it was something I was to get all too used to during the Casper era.
2. Oldham 4-0 Bury: 25th September 2001
At the time this saw 2 teams in 2 contrasting positions this was when Bury were rock bottom of the then Division 2 (now League 1) having played 9 games, won one and lost 8. Not to mention at the time the club was skint and on the verge of administration. Oldham on the other hand were near the top of the division and spending money willy nilly. For some reason I decided to make it as my first proper away game without the parents etc and went with my brother and cousin. For some reason I had it in my head that we would win despite being attrocious and bottom of the league. Anyway by half time we were 2-0 down and only a host of excellent saves from Paddy Kenny had kept the score almost respectable.
The second half things got worse, firstly there was a reign of abuse directed at Bury manager Andy Preece from our sparse away following over a substitution that they did not agree with. This was followed by us going down to 10 men because Gareth Seddon argued with the referee and got red carded for it and to round it all off by full time Oldham had scored four. Throughout the second half the sound of "Bury's going down" rung out from Oldham's Chaddy End just to rub our noses in it that bit more. Its also worth mentioning that the score would have been much much worse had it not been for the heroics of Kenny.
The final piss take for the night came with Oldham's fourth goal in the 90th minute and some of the Bury fans decided to celebrate for a joke. Joking or not it was embarrasing. I think it all finally opened my eyes as to the fact the club was in the s***e and would really struggle to stay up. I thought things could not have got any worse at that early point in the 2001/2002 season, but of course they did. We made a fight of staying up in the end and we were relegated in the penultimate game despite being in administration and I was very proud of the club's efforts to stay up in such circumstances but the manner of the Oldham defeat and everything about it really tested the faith.
3. Rochdale 3-0 Bury: 29th August 2009
Well we are due to visit our lovely neighbours from the other side of Heywood for the first time as a League 1 fixture. However the last League 2 fixture is one to forget.
I already had a really bad feeling about this game due to the fact everyone I spoke to came out with the old "we never lose at spotland" line, which is what worried me as I new we were due a defeat there. The first half passed without much happening whilst the large travelling Bury contingent made plenty of noise and outsung the home crowd like we usually do at Spotland. That being the only plus point of the 90 minutes. The second half started and Dale with their quick attack started to up the tempo and forced Brown into several key saves, it was clear to see it was only a matter of time before Dale took the lead and they duly did so on the hour mark. 3 Sides of Spotland erupted in particular the WMG all seater stand to the left of the away stand where their collection of not rights and chavs bounced around rubbing it in our faces. The Bury fans stood there trying their upmost trying to rally their team and get a reaction but you would have got more response out of a brick wall.
Dale's pressure continued and with 15 minutes to go Chris Dagnall delivered the killer blow all but ending the contest and yet again Spotland's home stands erupted as the realisation of 3 home points over Bury for the first time since November 1993 finally started to dawn on them.
It was bad enough going down with a whimper but ther was to be one final grain of salt in the already gaping wound. In the last 5 minutes a Dale player went down in the area and the ref gave a penalty. Up stepped ex Bury left back Tom Kennedy released by the clown Chris Casper on a free transfer who duly stepped up and dispatched the penalty goalwards and he turned and celebrated in front of the Bury fans nearly causing a riot in the away end. It was at this point that me and my disgusted companions decided enough was enough and we left thoroughly revolted by what we had witnessed.
That Bury performance had everything that you should never see from your team in a derby game no guts, no passion, no drive and lastly folding like a piece of cardboard.
4. Bury 1-2 Rochdale. FA Cup 1st Round: 8th November 2003
We were both in around mid table of league 2 Bury seemed to be finding some form whilst Dale were dropping down the table. We had won at Spotland the previous April and Bury's support had taken Dale and their support down a peg or two.
Anyway back then I knew a couple of Dale fans at college and being 16 neither me or the Dale fans were familiar with banter so every time we sat with each other it would always result in heated argument not light hearted banter as it is today. (Note I am now very good friends with said Dale fan).
On the day I turned up at Gigg Lane nice and early and all ready the away end was filling up. By KO the away end was packed but the Dale fans were making lots of noise and making the classic digs at Bury about our embarrassing bucket collecting which it was fair to say were infuriating me.
They took the lead just before half time through Kiwi Leo Bertos (a player I should point out I massively rated) they then scored again just after the break. I remember seeing ther fans invade the pitch and was furious and was desperate for us to get back in the game. Time ticked away with Dale fans singing and gloating whilst the Bury end sat deflated but trying to muster some voice to encourage the players to launch some sort of come back. We did manage to get ourselves back into the game with a Chris Porter goal and exerted some heavy pressure on the Dale goal but you sort of new that we would not equalise. And at full time the away end erupted and from the cemetary end I could see their fans waving good bye and gloating to the Bury fans. I new full well I'd have to take some digs at college on the Monday morning but the Dale fans took it to a new level, it was gut wrenching.
5. Bury 1-1 Oldham: 5th March 2002
By the time these 2 sides met after the 4-0 defeat earlier in the season that I had already mentioned things had changed Bury had improved massively and fought ther way to the edge of the relegation zone (we were either outside or just inside at this point) Oldham had changed management and dropped from 1st down to 8th but had re-discovered their form and were a point of the playoffs. Despite it being a Tuesday night both sets of supporters came out in ther masses and Bury now in administration were fighting tooth and nail to save the club.
Oldham fans packed out the Manny Road End and filled the end section of the main stand whilst the Cemmy End and South Stand were rammed with Bury fans.
It was a cold night and a great atmosphere sat in the cemmy end ther were nearly a thousand Oldham fans in the main stand to our right so as you can guess that was bit of an intimidating atmosphere, anyway on the night I was desperate for a Bury win as I was still smarting from that 4-0 defeat at Boundary Park earlier in the season and we started really well and took the lead through Martin Forrest we all went mad in the cemmy end gloating to the Oldham fans in the main stand who then proceeded to shut up and sit down. We carried on outsinging them for the rest of the game and thngs looked even better when an Oldham striker missed an open goal from 5 yards out. The ball was played across to him and with the keeper beaten the entire Bury end went silent only for the ball to be blasted over the bar. Obviously the roars of relief and hysterics over such a bad miss were loud and satisfying.
As the game reached injury time I was sensing victory Burys threadbare injury ravaged squad made up of free transfers, loans and YTS players were nearly beating a team who had spent aload of cash on their squad and who were much higher up in the league.
In injury time Oldham were awarded a free kick and it was swung into the box an Oldham player hooked it goalwards. We watched in silence as the packed away end rose "WOAAAAAAH....YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS". I remember the feeling of utter deflation hoping that a flag for offside or foul would appear from somewhere which of course it didn't. The Oldham fans in the Manny Road End went mad and as you can imagine after the celebrations died down the Oldham fans in the main stand turned on us to avenge all the piss taking we'd given them all game by gloating ther late equaliser, it was literally a case of 1000 oldham fans turning to look at us and directing obuse at us "Going bust....going down" etc and there was nothing we could say in response.
It was so deflating to conceed that late on but 2 more things rubbed me up the wrong way. Walking past the away fans' coach, the Oldham fans were banging on the windows gloating and making cash gestures with their hands. Then on the radio an Oldham fan rung GMR claiming that there had been 5000 away fans at the game (from a crowd of 8200) and criticising Bury's fan base saying it was clear that we did not want the club to survive.
Now just to do the maths the Oldham away support had filled the Manny Road End (that's just over 2000 fans) and stuck 900/1000 in the end 2 blocks of the main stand. That would give them about 3000 fans from a crowd of 8200 so how an Oldham fan had the cheek to speak about Bury and our support in that way really wound me up. Needless to say Jimmy Wagg quickly dismissed his claim of more Oldham fans being there than Bury. And also when Oldham hit financial problems in the next couple of seasons, I laughed especially when I thought about the mug who rung the radio and the gloating fans on the coach.