Bringing Football Back to Bury
Saturday the 3rd of October proved to be a landmark day for Bury AFC as the club kicked off their first league game against Steeton AFC.
After over 12 months of uncertainty around the future of Bury FC due to looming insolvency, Bury AFC was formed by fans. In July, Bury AFC was accepted into the 10th tier North West Counties League Division One North, ahead of the season starting this month.
Mike has been a Bury fan all his life and in August he joined the Shakers Community Board for Bury AFC where he is involved in and advises on several areas including fundraising and sponsorships.
The newly formed club celebrated a triumphant return to Bury’s football scene on the 3rd of October and despite the non-stop rain, spirits were high. Mike enjoyed his new duties as a board member, stewarding and supporting the running of the match and assisting the turnstile operators.
In line with new Covid regulations, the enthusiastic maximum crowd of 300 fans gathered at Radcliffe Borough to support the team. Mike said the atmosphere was incredible as fans were able to watch live sport once again.
The tense match began, and Bury AFC were first to score followed by Steeton taking the lead 2-1. However, Bury AFC were not going to go down without a fight, and showed great character to score 2 goals in injury time to win the game 3-2!
Granada Reports followed the game and as you can see from Chris Hall’s report below, the scenes of celebration are unbelievable. Take a look at the highlights here or below. You might even spot Mike in his high-vis a few times!
A landmark day for @officialBuryAFC – the club launched by the fans after Bury FC were expelled from the Football League for financial irregularities last year. @chrishallitv went to see them begin life in the 10th tier of English football. #BuryAFC #Bury #Football pic.twitter.com/HcHsUrod3q— ITV Granada Reports (@GranadaReports) October 5, 2020
Lots of familiar faces attended the match, with fans feeling understandably emotional about their new club achieving such a brilliant result during their first game. The newly formed club is supported by over 500 volunteers and fans, just like Mike, who have rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in, helping to get things off the ground and bring football back to Bury.
14 months in the wilderness
There’s a sense of community returning to the area with fans taking to Twitter to share their thoughts;
“The crowd as one was bouncing as we left the ground. I felt like I’ve rediscovered what it is to be a football fan after more than a year in the wilderness, marooned like a rudderless boat. We’ve got something back in our lives that was wrenched from us through no fault of our own.” James Bentley
“It is fantastic to be back, to win like that couldn’t have been any better. There was so much excitement, it was an epic come back game and it’s only the beginning”. Mike Bailey
Bury AFC will also be live streaming some of their games, which you can find out more about on their news page. The next match is next Wednesday at Pilkington FC , here’s to hoping the weather holds off for this one!
Attending the match got me thinking about how despite the adversity we are facing this year, there’s still a chance to come back with a bang.
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