Result: Bury 0-0 Rochdale (SkyBet League 2)
Venue: The JD Stadium (Gigg Lane) (Friday 7th March 2014, 7.45pm)
Att: 6,295 (2,027 away)
Despite living only a matter of 12 miles from Bury’s Gigg Lane, or JD Stadium as it is currently known, I had somehow managed to never attend a Shakers game. This was about to change in the shape of the ‘Hot Pot Derby’ game between Bury and Rochdale.
The two clubs are separated by just six miles, and there is more than a little tension between the two. In fact, I had previously been told on twitter that a helmet would be required if in the away end. Tongue-in-cheek of course. Well, I hope it was!!
I set off at around 5.30 in the afternoon, heading into Manchester, where I was to meet Dan Watkinson for the trip onwards on the 135 bus. After travelling up through Cheetham Hill & Prestwich we soon approached Gigg Lane, but first I was off to the Staff of Life pub, where the darling of the famous Matt Harrison, of the even more well-known ‘Lost Boyos’ blog, was situated. With Matt having just been left by some…colourful, Norwegian friends, he, Dan and myself set off up the small road down the side of the pub and towards the ground. After purchasing a programme, entitled the ‘White & Blue Review’ outside the ground for £3, we approached the turnstiles. Paying the more than decent price of £10, due to the u-23 pricing structure, I was soon traipsing up the steps towards the concourse, and then onwards towards the rear of the Main Stand.
Dating back from 1885, Gigg…oh, sorry the JD Stadium, is an all-seater stadium, with all four stands of a similar size to each other. The Main Stand is the one with the hospitality area situated on the touchline, right next to the players tunnel, and the technical area of the home side. Opposite to this is the ‘Les Hart’ Stand which extends around to connect with the Cemetery Road End, which is where the Rochdale fans were based today. The corner extension houses a small electronic scoreboard. Usually, away fans are put in what appears to be the larger of the stands, the facing Manchester Road end, which today was left almost empty. It has a capacity of 11,840.
Bury F.C. were formed in 1885, playing at their current home of Gigg…JD Stadium, since Day 1. The club was formed following the amalgamation of Bury Wesleyans and Bury Unitarians football clubs, and their first match, a friendly versus Wigan Athletic ended in a 4-3 victory. In 1887, the first ‘shed’ was built at Gigg Lane (it’s this from now on!) at the cost of £50, though this was written off & never paid. During this year, the club recorded their highest defeat a 10-0 reverse to Blackburn Rovers. Their first floodlit game took place back in 1889, when 7,000 people turned up to see them lose 5-4 to Heywood Central.
1892 saw the first silverware won, the Lancashire Challenge Cup (LCC), before Bury joined the Football League Division 2 in 1894, which was won at the first attempt, with Bury going undefeated all season, before beating Liverpool in a play-off at Stoke City to achieve promotion to the Division 1, where they were to remain until 1912. Bury’s Football League membership is the (unbroken) third longest, after founder members Preston North End and Notts County. The LCC was won again in 1899, 1903, 1906 & the Manchester Cup was also won around these in 1894, 1896, 1897, 1900, 1903 and 1905. The Lancashire Junior Cup was won for the only time in 1890 too.
1900 saw the club win the FA Cup, with a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley, and this was won again 3 years later, a Cup Final record win, 6-0 over Derby County, which remains to this day. During this latter run, Bury didn’t concede a goal throughout the competition. In 1906, the South Stand was built, the ground was given to the club as a gift from the Earl of Derby in 1922, and two years later the Main Stand was added.
After their second promotion in 1923, the club achieved their highest ever league position, 4th, in the 1926 Division 1. But two years later the club were relegated again, and have not played top flight football since. After further league decline, despite winning the Third Division in 1961, by 1971 the club found themselves in the Fourth Division for the only time. Further cup successes were attained in the shape of more LCC wins coming in 1926, 1958 1983 & 1987, and Manchester Cups in 1925, 1951,1952, 1962 & 1968.
The club recovered with promotions back to the Second tier but in 1998-’99 they were relegated back to the Third tier on goals scored, only the only side to ever have suffered this fate. In 2001-’02, the club were relegated once more into League Two following a spell in administration. In May 2005, the club became the first club to score 1,000 goals in all four tiers of English Football League. They survived relegation to the Conference in ’06-’07 after a final day 0-0 with Stockport County ensured their place in the league. ’08-’09 saw Bury reach the play-offs but lost on penalties to Shrewsbury Town. In 2009, the club won the pre-season ‘Newsquest Cup’ by beating NPL sides FC United, who groundshare at Gigg Lane, and Radcliffe Borough. In 2011 Bury achieved promotion under Richie Barker to the League 1 via a 3-2 win (and an 87th minute Ryan Lowe goal) at champions Chesterfield.
Last season, Bury were relegated from League One after losing 1-0 to near neighbours Oldham Athletic, finishing 22nd in the league table.
In front of the SkySports cameras, the teams came out to a rapturous welcome, with Bury’s players throwing scarves into the crowd in front of us. Throughout the early stages, not much happened on the pitch, but off it there was a fair amount of action, as a few fans from the Bury end were ejected, and even more moved from one area to another.
Back to the on-pitch exploits, and Dale were dealt a blow as the influential Scott Hogan was forced off with a knee injury after around 15 minutes, and George Donnelly replaced him. Little happened in a tight, hard fought game until just before the break, when Ian Henderson received a second booking and the inevitable red followed and Dale were down to 10 men for more than a half. Rochdale manager Keith Hill wasn’t too happy and apportioned the blame to the home fans by applauding them in their perceived efforts to get the Dale man sent off.
AT half-time, my plan to get food was ruined by the high attendance meaning that queues were twice as long as usual, meaning this was out of the question, however I did discover whilst reading the programme that Rochdale’s George Porter is the tender age of 5-weeks-old. Get him on the plane to Rio. Wonderkid!
The second half was an improvement of sorts, with Bury’s half-time substitute Tom Soares twice going close early on, before Peter Cavanagh shaved the post with a free-kick. Cavanagh then fizzed a low daisy-cutter narrowly wide form 25 yards as 10-man Dale began to look dangerous, but they were almost caught aping as Soares broke clear only to be denied by the advancing Dale goalkeeper Josh Lillis. Down the other end, Brian Jensen had to be alert to tip over Matty Done’s effort, before with a little over 5 minutes left Lillis pulled off a Schmeichel-esque save to deny Daniel Nardiello as the Welshman broke into the box, but Lillis spread himself and his limbs as wide as possible to thwart him. This was bettered with almost the last touch of the game. With smoke billowing from the Rochdale end thanks to a flare, Bury won a corner on the right-flank. The ball was pinpoint, and Carroll met it with a bullet header which Lillis acrobatically tipped onto the bar and over. Wonderful save!
The final whistle blew not long after, and Matt decided that this game could be christened as the Keith Hill clapping derby, due to the lack of truly memorable moments. Keith did like a clap, as does happened on a number of occasions! After bidding goodbye to Matt in the chaos of the concourse, which I am sure hadn’t seen this volume of people for a fair while, me & Dan finally made our way to the steps and outwards past the SkySports trucks, where I heard the comment ‘Their keeper didn’t have a save to make’ from a Bury fan. Oh, the biased mind!
My Bury M.o.M.- Pablo Mills
My Rochdale M.o.M.- Josh Lillis
Game: 5- Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the greatest
Ground: 8- I like Gigg Lane, so it gets a good rating.
Programme: 9- A good read, and well worth buying, not sure about Porter’s age though!
Fans: 7- It was very quiet, for the most part until the latter stages, and they liked an argument between themselves! Sit down!
Food: N/A- Too many people, so little time.
Value For Money: 7- Can’t complain for a league game at the same price as an NPL game. £10, plus £3 for the programme.
Referee: 6- Darren Drysdale, my Football Manager nemesis. Not his greatest game forme, red card was wrong too in my opinion.
BURY: 21.Brian Jensen, 24.Frederic Veseli, 3.Jim McNulty(c), 34.Pablo Mills, 24.Jake Carroll, 18.Daniel Nardiello, 12.Chris Sedgwick, 8.Tommy Miller, 15.Danny Mayor, 17.Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, 22.Clive Platt. SUBS: 30.Reice Charles-Cook, 4.Richard Hinds, 33.James Burke, 19.Tom Soares(p) 14.Lewis Young(p), 9.Anton Forrester, 10.Ashley Grimes(p).
ROCHDALE: 1.Josh Lillis, 2.Joe Rafferty, 6.Oliver Lancashire, 22.Jack O’Connell, 25.Michael Rose, 7.Peter Vincenti, 4.Peter Cavanagh(c), 24.Jamie Allen, 16.Matty Done, 40.Ian Henderson(sent-off), 11.Scott Hogan SUBS: 21.Robbie Thomson, 6.Ashley Eastham, 8.Jason Kennedy, 15.George Porter(p), 10.Reece Gray, 9.George Donnelly(p), 39.Joe Bunney.
OFFICIALS: REFEREE: Mr. Darren Drysdale. ASSISTANTS: Mr. Steven Copeland & Mr. Michael Salisbury. 4TH OFFICIAL: Mr. Andy Haines.