Lets Get Ready to Grumble
by The Boy Holty
It doesn't seem like five minutes since that marvellous day out in Birkenhead last May but it all kicks off again this Saturday. Bury's first third tier football match in four years will take place at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium on August 8th so let's have a look at how the Shakers are shaping up for the coming season.
Of last season's heroes, Adam El-Abd and Nick Pope have gone back to their parent clubs and Nicky Adams, Jim McNulty and Pablo Mills have been released. Everyone else is still present, all the good ones anyway.
New additions to the Shakers family are goalkeeper Christian Walton, defenders Peter Clarke and Danny Pugh, midfielder Jacob Mellis and strikers Leon Clarke and Tom Pope.
It was my view last season that if we made the step up to league one, we'd need a more capable central midfielder, a Schumacher or a Dawson type of player who could dominate the centre of the pitch, break up play and drive the ball forward, as I don't see Tutte, Soares or Etuhu being able to fulfil that role, although I don't know much about Mellis or Pugh so maybe one of those is the man for that function.
It was the arrival of goalkeeper Nick Pope on loan from Charlton that helped spark the record breaking run to promotion last season so we're hopeful that young Christian Walton, on a season long loan from Brighton & Hove Albion can make that position his own as we'll need to be settled at the back from day one.
Another impressive and influential loanee last term was Adam El-Abd in central defence. He's not coming back but with Peter Clarke and Danny Pugh coming in (Pugh described as a 'versatile defender who can play in midfield') we should have the ability and experience to cope although Flitcroft has openly admitted that his search for further defensive cover has so far been fruitless.
Danny Mayor will no doubt be hoping for another opportunity to impress and this time at a higher level so we'll be expecting great things from him this year. You would also hope that the scoring of goals shouldn't be an issue for Bury this year as we have more strikers than the British Coal Industry in the 1980's in Hallam Hope, Danny Rose, Ryan Lowe, Daniel Nardiello, Tom Pope and Leon Clarke.
With a club record eight consecutive away wins acrued in the final run-in of last season, we're now potentially three more away wins from beating a football league record of 10 currently held by Tottenham Hotspur (although Arsenal have 12 in the Premier League). Its Doncaster, Crewe and Walsall that stand between Bury and that record. Unlikely, but possible.
With such a good number of local derbies against Rochdale, Oldham, Wigan and Blackpool, plus the likes of Crewe, Port Vale, Sheffield United, Bradford and Barnsley that are fairly close and some of whom will bring big crowds its all set up for a significant season for Bury. Stewie D wants us in the Championship within four years so we could be in for a treat.
So here we go. Its bigger, its better, its more expensive, but its still Bury. Up the Shakers.