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League Two Lowdown: Bury

8 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's opponents continues with the Shakers

Meetings with Pompey
The sides met for the first time on Boxing Day 1927 – with a second clash occurring just a few hours later.

Pompey had to make the long trip back from Gigg Lane following a 4-0 drubbing, but got their own back the following day, with David Watson scoring in a 1-0 victory at Fratton Park.

Interestingly, despite the long-distance travelling, there were only two Blues changes for the second fixtures.

Meetings since have been sparse, but the sides are evenly matched with 10 victories each, as well as seven draws.

The last clash occurred at Fratton Park back in March, when two David Connolly goals sunk a Bury side who, by this time, were as resigned as Pompey were about their League One fate.

There was a 35 year gap between league meetings. Following a goalless draw at Gigg Lane in March 1929, there was only a 1957 FA Cup clash at Gigg Lane – which the Blues won 3-1 – before the sides met again in the 1962/63 campaign.

Bury have not had much to cheer on the south coast in recent years, failing to win at Fratton Park in 45 years.

Bury history
Bury have a long and distinguished history – as does their Gigg Lane ground. The first match played there was a friendly against Wigan on September 12 1885, which the home side won 4-3.

The club joined the Football League second division in 1894, four years before Pompey were formed. The length of their league membership is only exceeded by Notts County and Preston.

Bury made light work of the second tier, remaining unbeaten at home as they won the title at the first attempt to move into the top-flight, where they stayed until 1912.

Those early years saw another string added to their bow as they beat Southampton 4-0 to lift the FA Cup at Crystal Palace in 1900.

The Shakers returned to the same venue three years later and beat Derby 6-0 – still the highest margin of victory in an FA Cup final.

Gigg Lane was considered one of the best grounds in the country in those days. A south stand was built in 1906 before a new main stand was added in 1924, by which time the club had restored their first division status.

In 1926, Bury achieved their highest ever league position of fourth, but relegation two years later signalled a decline and they have not resided in the top-flight since.

By 1971 they had plummeted to the basement league – then Division Four – for the first time in their history and have occupied the bottom two tiers almost exclusively since, although they did spend two seasons in what is now the Championship between 1997 and 1999.

In fact, their final season there saw them finish on the same number of points as Pompey, but scoring 22 fewer goals ultimately cost them.

QPR and Port Vale also obtained 47 points, but also finished higher than Bury on goals scored. If goal difference had been used – as it is today – then the Shakers would have been spared the drop.

The collapse of ITV Digital in 2002 saw Bury return to the basement and enter administration and in 2006 they became the first club to be thrown out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player.

A year earlier, however, they became the first club to score 1,000 goals in each of the top four tiers of English football.

Bury present
The club’s long membership of the Football League has been threatened by events both on and off the pitch.

In 2007, only a final day goalless draw against Stockport prevented them from dropping into the Conference.

Bury were denied promotion into League One following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Shrewsbury in the play-offs, but they eventually made it back there in 2011.

However, the Shakers were 10 points shy of safety last term and spent much of the season under a transfer embargo because of financial difficulties.

They released 16 players at end of the campaign, but a takeover has since seen Stewart Day installed as chairman.

Information for Pompey fans
Pompey supporters visited Gigg Lane last November, so many will need reminding about the stadium and its surroundings. Just over 2,000 visiting fans can be housed in the Manchester Road End.

The Sir Robert Peel (Wetherspoon’s) is situated outside Bury Metro Station, as are a few more pubs and food outlets. The station is approximately a 20-minute walk from the ground.

The walk takes you down Manchester Road, where the Swan & Cemetery and Staff of Life can also be found.

Travelling by road
Postcode: BL9 9HR
Distance from Fratton Park: 255 miles
Estimated drive time: 4 hours, 27 minutes

Exit the M60 at Junction 17. At the roundabout follow signs to Whitfield A56, Radcliffe (A665), Bury A56 onto the A56. After 0.3 miles go straight over double traffic lights. After 0.8 miles (just after Bull’s Head pub) bear right at traffic lights. After one mile go straight on at lights, then after a further mile turn right into Gigg Lane.

Travelling by train
Trains from Portsmouth to Manchester Piccadilly via London Euston take approximately four hours and 55 minutes, including the underground. A standard adult fare is £101.90.

Bury Metrolink is served by trams from Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations. From here, it is a 20-minute walk to Gigg Lane.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Bury: Saturday, October 19 (3pm kick-off)
Bury v Pompey: Saturday, April 26 (3pm kick-off)

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