League One Season About to Get Underway
by The Boy Holty
After nine seasons in the basement division of English football, Bury make a welcome return to the third tier. Last season was a memorable one (aren't all promotion seasons memorable?) and not without incident. Alan Knill (plus Chris Brass and Neil Cutler) defected accross the penines to take up the reins at Championship side Scunthorpe and whilst moving up two divisions might have seemed like a good career move at the time, both his old club and his new employers will be lining up in the same division for the new season.
Taking over mangerial duties for the remaining eight games of the season was youth team manager Richie Barker who had only retired from his days as a prolific lower league striker in the last couple of years. Richie guided his new team to six consecutive wins, culminating in an incredible 3-2 win at Champions elect Chesterfield on Easter Monday. At the time we had the league title in our sights but just one point from the last two games left us with the runners up spot, and I think most of you will agree that that's not too shabby, especially after years of watching duffers like Chris Casper and Graham Barrow try and fail to make any sort of impact at Gigg Lane. On the back of his success as caretaker manager, he was rewarded with the full time manager's position in June.
Having returned Nicky Ajose and Tom Lees to their parent clubs and sold Kyle Bennett to Doncaster Rovers in the summer, and having signed just one player in Mark Hughes, our squad doesn't look any stronger than last season. But in Richie we trust and he and Peter Shirtliff, his new assistant have certainly been working hard over the summer to get us ready for league one.
Pre-season has been pretty much as expected, thrashing Radcliffe (5-1) and Prestatyn (8-1) and narrrowly beating FC United 1-0. We lost to the higher league teams in Everton (1-4), Burnley (0-3) and Bolton (0-2). The players used in these games has been a good mixture of the existing ones, the new signing, triallists and youth players. I hope we get to see more of the likes of Ritchie Branagan, Max Harropp and Luke McCarthy this season as these boys look to have a lot of potential.
So we start at Huddersfield this coming Saturday. The Terriers were the beaten play-off finalists in May and are rightly tipped as the favourites for the league one title so its a case of getting the hardest game out of the way first. Then the games come thick and fast after that with Coventry City the visitors in the league cup then Carlisle at Gigg the following Saturday.
Let's get right behind the team, they need our support. We're bound to receive some hammerings this season but if we expect them to bounce back, we need to do our part. Come on the whites, up the Shakers and all that sort of thing.
WE ARE BURY.