Out with the old, in with the new; that’s what it’s starting to be about. The end of the season is nigh, and we’ve long since had nowt to play for. So, we might as well begin looking at who’s clearing off our list of tour dates in 2018-9. Now we’re going to be finally rid of Accrington and Luton, someone has to take their places regardless if they (and us) like it or not. So, who is first through the League One trapdoor? Why, it’s Mary Bury innit…
Bury: Who Are They?
Three terms in the third tier are at an end for the Shakers; a club now into its 133rd year. It all started for them in the Lancashire League; a founder member of the competition and two-time champions before they received a Football League place. It was a good time for ’em. After winning the Second Division title at the first attempt, being in the First Division is nothing compared to two FA Cup wins in four years at the turn of the century.
The 20th century, obviously.
The good times didn’t last, however. Relegated in 1912, Bury had one last hurrah in the top flight in the 1920s (and even finished 4th on one occasion). After the Second World War Two, though, the yo-yoing was no longer between levels one and two, but levels two and three. Then, in the early 70s, level four too. And it’s pretty much the case ever since that the Shakers have spent their time towards the lower end of the Football League.
Us And Them…
Now, that’s an over-simplification of things before any Shakers start shakin’ like a Polaroid picture. But it’s true to say that we first met Bury in one of their recent trips to the fourth tier – and our first season at this level. To be fair, they were on a charge that season; making simple work of us at Gigg Lane in February 2011. The return fixture indoors came on the last day of term; an epic 3-3 draw nabbing us a playoff spot and them second.
Epic if only for Ben May coming on, scoring his only goal for us and then going off injured.
So, up we both went to League One. And, in a flip-reverse of the previous season, it was us who were upwardly mobile. Boro’ defeated Bury 2-1 away and 3-0 at home (again on the last day of the season) as we stormed into the playoffs. The Shakers, meanwhile, languished in 14th. It would be as good as it got for us; both in terms of our progress up the charts and our fortunes against our northern counterparts.
Bury arrived at the Lamex the next season and were confronted by a Boro’ side yet to lose in League One. This was at the end of September and the match finished 2-2. Things were a lot different by the time we turned up at their gaff in mid-March 2013, however. Despite us thrashing Sheffield United on the Saturday, a limp display midweek at Gigg Lane saw us go down 2-0. And, with it, went Gary Smith’s job as gaffer.
To add minor insult to injury, Bury went on to be relegated that season.
And Then What?
One season on, and it was our turn to return to League Two. Our fortunes against Bury did not improve in the 2014-5 League Two campaign. First up, it was another midweek defeat at their place. Then, later that season, there was a goalless draw at our place. If we’d have won that, the Shakers would’ve finished on 84 points; not 85. It ended up being the difference between automatic promotion for them, and a playoff date with us.
So, more promotion-chasing shenanigans for us both next season? Let’s hope so…
Bury: Boro’s Record
P8 W2 D3 L3 F11 A13 – League Points: 9, Cup Meetings: n/a, Win Rate: 25%
• BoroGuide’s Bury club profile – for old time’s sake…