Bury 1 Hull City 3
by The Boy Holty
Considering the relative positions of these two clubs, Bury equipped themselves well on Saturday and can perhaps count ourselves unlucky not to have got something from the tie. For an hour or so we were at least as good as Hull. We had created an excellent chance in the first few minutes but Danny Rose's shot was well saved. We had other chances too as we took the game to our opponents. They opened us up only once in the first half and then when Ian Lawler made a good save, the rebound fell straight to their striker who made it one nil. It wasn't a lucky goal as such, but we still felt like it hadn't gone our way.
In the second half, and with all three subs on the pitch, we carried on as in the first half and then the game turned. We thought we had scored when Ryan Lowe put the ball in the net only for the linesman to put his flag up for offside. A minute later and they had a penalty and then it was two nil and game over.
I couldn't see from where I was whether Lowe was offside but Flitcroft said it wasn't. I had a decent view of the penalty decision and although Flicker denied its validity, I thought it was a foul. That said, my mates either side of me were incensed, but maybe they were just getting into the spirit of things.
A little while later and it was three nil, and towards the end Craig Jones scored a consolation to make it 1-3 and at least to give us a reason to leap up on a freezing cold day.
The weather was interesting. We had rain, snow and hail and in between those, bouts of sunshine. It was cold though. The Hull fans were there in numbers, although not great enough to merit giving them the South Stand (which was about two thirds full) and the Manny Road End (which was nearly empty). Their fans disgraced themselves a bit by throwing flares into the Bury fans, and the Bury fans in the Cemetery end did themselves no favours by throwing them back. There was a bit of trouble between the two sets of supporters and this highlighted a problem at the club which needs to be addressed.
Bury Football Club cannot handle large crowds. There was only 7000 there on Saturday but the club utterly failed to deal with the situation. The ticketing policy in some recent games - notably Bradford and Hull in the FA Cup have been poorly handled. It is fair enough that the club should want to maximise the potential earnings from these matches and that is what the FA Cup is all about for clubs like ours, but it was done at the expense of the home supporters and that is something that should not be underestimated.
The atmosphere on Saturday was crap, and this is in a very large part because we had been turfed out of our normal seats. I was stuck up in the Main Stand at the end nearest to the Cemy End. It was full, but there was no bounce in the home support. There was talk a few weeks ago of Hull bringing 5000 fans, whereas I suspect they actually brought just over half that amount. They could have gone in the Cemetery End and that end of the Main Stand. Of course, once the tickets have been issued, the club can't start making changes like that but they need to look at these two FA Cup games and start learning, and learning fast because if we have ambitions of getting in the Championship, this is going to happen much more often and the fans are not going to take lightly to being moved every other week because one club is expected to bring a few more fans.
Can you imagine next season when we're playing B****n in League One? It already scares me as to how badly that one is going to be handled. If they start giving the away support the South Stand, or both ends, it is going to ruin the already fragile relationship between fans and club and also hand the away team a better chance of victory because it is they who will be able to control the atmosphere of the occasion.
The positioning of the home and away fans, and the division between the two was a source of aggravation. The club did separate the fans, but not well enough and the stewarding and policing of the events that unfolded was atrocious.
Also I noticed that there is a section of about 100 seats between the South Stand and the Cemetery End which is inaccessible from anywhere, aside from cutting a hole in the roof and abseiling down. This is due to the barriers erected around it and it is ludicrous.
Another thing is that not only can the club not handle crowds, but neither can our fans. We've got too used to playing small clubs with small and sedate groups of supporters and now we've started mixing it with bigger boys, there has been trouble between the fans. Remember Blackpool a few months back? There was almost a riot. Saturday was similar, and next time B****n come to visit, well I'm not sure I even want to be there. We as a group of supporters need to grow up, and the club needs to learn how to manage the anticipated rise up the football ladder.
Up the Shakers.