Bury Football Club
The Les Hart Stand, Gigg Lane, Bury Football Club
I have been a Bury fan ever since I was a kid, when I first pestered my dad to start taking me to games. It was a little bit of fate that made me a Shaker though, as I had always wanted to support Manchester United because I adored Brian McClair (don't hurt me!) - but we could never get tickets. In the late 1980s we moved to Hollins, to a house that had a view towards Gigg Lane and the old cast-iron floodlights that used to stick out like a beacon on matchdays when the lights were on. Seeing those lights made me wonder about games there, so my long-suffering dad got pestered to take me to games there! I remember the very first game we went to, we sat in the Main stand, in the old wooden seating, and whilst I can't remember for the life of me the game or the score (I know we were playing Bolton but that's all I remember of the football that evening) but I remember every sight of the stands, the sounds of the fans, the smells from the catering hut of pies and Bovril, the feeling of the wooden seat under me and the shaking of the stand when the Shakers scored! From then on I was addicted, going to games with my friends when my dad wasn't available, and as I got older I did my work experience with the club - two weeks with Brian Taylor's Football In The Community team. It was a dream come true!
Anyway, fast forward 30-odd years, my dad is sadly no longer with us having headbutted a mountain to death (he died whilst paragliding, it was the only way he would have wanted to go!). My love for the Shakers still burns as bright as ever though, and part of my history with the club was to invest into the youth setup - the young are the future of the club, both on and off the pitch, so it made a lot of sense. Whilst my investment was a drop in the ocean compared to the overall running costs of the club, I do feel proud of how our young lads have performed over the past five or six years, led by a fantastic coaching setup with Ryan Kidd and Mark Litherland doing wonders to progress the lads. I thought the club was in a strong place, with some highly-rated players coming through (Matty Foulds who went to Everton, Jacob Bedeau who moved to Villa, amongst others), but in December of last year we were given a rude awakening; Stewart Day had left the club with almost no notice, and sold to Steven Dale, a mysterious character who sounded good in his first few interactions with the club and fans, but that was not to last.
With several games to go at the end of the 2018-19 season, noises started coming from the club that there were problems with player and staff payments. This coincided with a dip in form that could have seen us out of the promotion race altogether. As it transpired, the club seemingly had run out of money and the new owner wasn't covering shortfalls in the club's wage bill. The players and staff pushed through this, doing everything they could to keep the club's promotion hopes on track, despite the staff barely receiving anything and the players only receiving part payments from the PFA player's union. As it became clear just how bad the situation was, I started a fundraiser to help get money into the pockets of the staff, some of whom were on the verge of losing everything. This was a success, raising around £10000 and counting towards giving the people who kept our club running the money they were being denied at the time.
I wish I could do more, but my time is limited and I have to focus on my own business at the same time. That being said, I will do whatever I can to help the club staff, both current and former, to keep going. To aid this, I am now enacting a 50% profit donation to the fundraiser from all products sold through my website. I will also donate 25% of the profit from any photography bookings I take between now and the end of 2020. I need your help though, please buy my products on the store page, and share my details to companies you know, people who may be getting married, anyone who needs a photographer, and I will be happy to offer my services!
Link to the continuing GoFundMe if you would like to donate directly:
My store can be found here:
Thank you so much for your support during this difficult time for the club!