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    Come On Come On Let the Good Times Roll

    by The Boy Holty

    Well here we are once again on the eve of a new season, and all the lads and lassies with smiles upon their little faces will be making their way to Gigg Lane today hoping to see the Shakers begin their second season back in League One with a home win.

    Its been an interesting summer, and not just considering news from Gigg. We've had the delight of Olympic success in that London, the predictable English failure in the Euros, a decent summer of cricket (current test against South Africa notwithstanding) and then matters closer to home have been worthy of comment too.

    The biggest news came just over a week ago when one-time Shakers hero Richie Barker decided to up sticks and move down south to Crawley where he's 'closer to his family'. Its always a good one isn't it to throw something like that at the media, because no-one can criticise him for buggering off when we needed him most.

    You often get managers who will get a bigger and better job on the basis of just one or two seasons of relative success, who then fall on their arses at their new clubs. Paul Ince at Blackburn (after a few decent seasons at MK Dons) and Andre Villas Boas at Chelsea (after one successful season with Porto) are recent examples and for all such managers, you can't help feeling that they would have been better staying at their club for a few more years (I can see Brendan Rodgers having a tough time at Liverpool this season). Richie Barker has had one full season, plus two months of football management, and whilst Crawley Town aren't exactly a high-profile big money club, the expectation will be on him like he could never imagine. I don't necessarily want him to fail, I just want him to look back in 12 months and regret leaving Bury.

    Anyway, unlike Alan Knill, he hasn't taken any of his backroom staff with him so its Peter Shirtlifter who's the man in charge now. I have confidence in 'blue' Peter. He could do well, but he needs to be given the job on a permanent basis just as soon as the club establish that he's not a complete tool and that he's up to the job.

    So to our forecasts for the next 9 months. Its going to be tough, that's for sure, and I can't help feeling that we're going to follow Rochdale's lead (get promoted, have a good first season, change the manager then get relegated) but if the club manages to see it through to the close of the transfer window without anyone (Crawley) pinching our best players, then we have a decent chance of having another good season. Sadly I think we'll be ransacked by Barker and he'll take a few of his favourites because that's what good managers do, they sign good players who they know they can trust, and players sign for managers who they can trust and for clubs who will pay them more money.

    I think we'll go down this season, but the bookies have us just on the brink:

    Sheff U 11/2 13/8
    MK Dons 13/2 9/4
    Swindon 8/1 5/2
    Coventry 10/1 10/3
    Preston 12/1 4/1
    Brentford 12/1 4/1
    Bournemouth 12/1 9/2
    Doncaster 14/1 9/2
    Notts 14/1 9/2
    Crawley 20/1 11/2
    Stevenage 28/1 9/1
    Scunthorpe 28/1 9/1
    Carlisle 28/1 9/1
    Colchester 33/1 10/1
    Portsmouth 40/1 11/1
    Tranmere 40/1 12/1
    Shrewsbury 50/1 14/1
    Crewe 50/1 14/1
    Hartlepool 66/1 14/1
    Bury 66/1 20/1
    Oldham 66/1 20/1
    Leyton Orient 66/1 20/1
    Yeovil 66/1 22/1
    Walsall 150/1 33/1

    Four years ago, under Alan Knill, we started the season with three wins over Brentford, Chesterfield and Morecambe and this set the scene for a good campaign. This season we have a very difficult start where we play Brentford, Doncaster, Coventry, Notts, Preston and Sheffield and we could quite feasibly complete the first six games having gained no points, certainly I doubt we'll get more than five or six. If this happens, we as supporters need to get a grip, be realistic and get right behind the team and the new manager, because a poor start (results wise, irrespective of whom we've had to play) could lead to a bad season and we will need to be the 12th man for Bury this season.

    So there we go. Its 5 and a half hours to kick off. Let's get ready to grumble. Up the Shakers.