A sedate end to a rollercoaster season?
by The Boy Holty
As the season draws to a refreshingly sedate close, we can look back on what has been something of a rollercoaster campaign.
When we were promoted on that wonderful day in Birkenhead last May, people started getting a bit carried away and had us down for a second promotion in the 2015/16 season. Thinking back to the Stan Ternent era and our two successive promotions in 1996 and 1997, we at least can see that it has been done before so many believed we could do that again.
David Flitcroft's Shakers side didn't do anything to quell those hopes and after a shaky start when we scored plenty but conceded a lot, we went on a remarkable run and were 3rd in league one after winning at Colchester in October. We were all dreaming of another great season.
After that the results faded, the performance levels took a nose-dive, the manager came under fire and even the chairman and board started to take some serious criticism.
Despite being one of my favourite groups of people, Bury fans can be fickle, short-sighted, unreasonable and consistently suffer from memory loss. In their (our) defence the manager has made some strange recruitment and selection decisions that has had a lot of Bury fans baffled.
Sometimes bringing in loan players works and sometimes it doesn't. The loan acquisition of Nick Pope and Adam El Abd last season was the catalyst for our final run for promotion, but this season he's been bringing in players who can't get into the teams of clubs below us in the league. On top of that we've used seven goalkeepers which is indicative of God knows what - poor training, bad luck, a ridiculous selection policy?
The youth have barely got a look in at Bury this season, despite DF's insistence that they are an important part of the club's future. The last few weeks, when safety was more or less assured should have been, in my opinion, the perfect time to say to some of these youngsters like Jack Ruddy, Scott Burgess, George Miller and Anthony Dudley that they've got five games (although maybe not all the kids at once) to claim a first team place. But rather than give these lads game-time, he's brought in more loan players. I can't see the sense in it.
A lot of people are requesting DF be sacked and the run of away defeats is a strong argument, including that shocking performance and result at Rochdale in March, but I would keep him for a little longer. Our target at the start of this season was to remain in the league and that has been achieved, with an FA Cup fourth round appearance to go with it so why sack someone when they have achieved their target?
As is often the case, when the chips are down, the fans turn on the owners and Stewart Day's management of the club has been brought under scrutiny. His communication with the fans is poor, and the relationship between club and fans is as distant as I have ever known it. We all wonder about the money. There must be some money coming in from an external source but there's no transparency and the club seem reluctant to let the fans know what is going on. Then there are the high court judgments on our finances and tax situation which was explained to a point, but a feeling of distrust has been permeating around the club for months and this sort of thing does nothing to quell that.
But all relegation fears have now been dispelled, and with five games left we can look forward to a stress-free final few games. Next season we get to play b****n w*******s again in the league for the first time in a long time after their own annus horribillis resulted in relegation to league one on Saturday. So its not all bad.