Interview With A Bury Supporter
We talked to the editor of Bury fan site mannyroadend.co.uk about Saturday's game.
Here's what was said:
1) How's things going so far this season?
Not bad. About seven or eight of our regular first teamers left in the summer so its more or less a new team. We had a good pre-season, thrashing a full strength Leeds side 4-0 and beating Rochdale 3-0 so when Port Vale came to visit on the opening day we were disappointed to lose but most fans agreed that this team is very much a work in progress and that they'll take time to get used to each other and the early signs are promising. It's funny, because expectation levels were sky high this time last year after just missing out on automatic promotion and in the end we finished ninth so we're being a little more realistic this time round and are thankful that we've got a decent side, a quality manager and no injuries.
2) Amazing result last weekend, 5-4 win against Gillingham. What on earth happened there? A case of two very good teams or two very poor teams?
It was brilliant and a bit mental. You don't see many of those. I remember a 4-4 against Huddersfield about 18 years ago and a 5-3 win over Hereford a few years earlier but often we trudge away from the ground bemoaning a lack of entertainment. On Saturday, though, it wasn't so much an awesome display of attacking football as a lesson on how not to defend. Our first goal had an element of comedy about it and our keeper may have well have played blindfolded as we gifted Gillingham two goals but their fourth goal and our fifth were of the highest quality. It was truly a privilege to have been there and witnessed it even if it was a bit 'jumpers for goalposts' at times.
3) How do you see your season going from here?
I think we'll do okay. The team this season seems to have a lot of the qualities of previous seasons. i.e. quite hard to beat and with a fair bit of attacking potential. We're capable of going long periods unbeaten but it'll all boil down to one or two key players. If Andy Bishop gets his thumb out, stops whining and starts looking like he gives a damn, he could get us 20 goals as could Ryan Lowe and we could go up in the automatic spots. Failing that, its the play offs at least.
4) From the outside Alan Knill seems to have done a fantastic job with what he's had. Everyone happy with him?
You're not kidding. We've had some right clowns managing this club over the years. None more so than Knill's predecessor Chris Casper. AK talks so much sense in his interviews and clearly the players are very happy with him. He's committed to developing players to such an extent that when we're a goal up and under pressure, he'll leave the young lads on to gain from the experience rather than stick experienced lads in defence to shut up shop.
He's had no money whatsoever, and has built his teams from loans and free transfers. He always pledges to make players better when they join Bury and seems to pull it off too picking up discarded players like Mike Jones, David Worrall and Elliot Bennett and developing them into top players. He's a top man and we'd be in a mess without him.
He is ginger though - but you can't have it all can you?
5) Efe Sodje, Steve Schumacher and Ryan Lowe are no strangers to ourselves. How are they all getting on these days?
Sodje is a hero and is fast becoming a Bury legend. He's the sort of player fans love and in terms of team spirit is clearly the heartbeat of the side. Schumacher has only been at the club since the summer but has made the central midfield position his own - aswell as the captain's armband. He looks to have a lot of quality about him. Ryan Lowe is a goal machine with four already this season and although he is playing a deeper role this season is our main goal threat so far. He's taken to grabbing the badge on his shirt when he scores. Fans always like that sort of thing. In the past most of our players have been more interested in waving to the scouts in the stand and mouthing 'get me out of here'.
6) On to Saturday. Who are your star players, the ones we should look out for on Saturday?
We've got a left midfielder from Blackburn called Andy Howarth who's obviously watched a few too many clips of Cristiano Ronaldo. He likes his step overs and silly white boots. Underneath the showboating he's actually very good and can put in a devastating cross when given space. We've a very good centre half on loan from Leeds called Tom Lees who's struck up a good partnership with Sodje and up front there's our main man Ryan Lowe. Right wing will probably be Mike Jones who can be very effective and the two wingers will often swap wings just to confuse the opposition.
7) And where does it start to fall apart? Any players you'd drive to their next club free of charge?
Shoot on target on Saturday and you've probably scored. Cameron Belford has been patiently waiting for his chance in goal for about four years and when Wayne Brown was sent off last April he got it. To be fair he did very well at first and on the whole he's not too bad but we've been spoilt for goalies over the years with the likes of Dean Keily, Paddy Kenny, Neville Southall to name just a few and Belford isn't of the same calibre of any of these, or their wives probably. He's pretty small too, for a keeper and he was put under enormous pressure on Saturday by the gargantuan Gillingham striker Ade Akinfenwa and he crumbled. I'd happily give him a lift to Rochdale. Other than that, Knill got rid of all the dead wood from last season during the summer.
8) What's your knowledge/views of Crewe Alexandra? Be honest, we won't be offended!
Well I've been watching Bury for 20 years and Crewe have always been synonymous with passing football, an excellent youth system and Dario Gradi. One of my best football memories is of beating you at your place in the FA Cup with two late goals. Allegedly, on the final whistle, a Crewe fan stood up and shouted 'If that's what you call football, you can keep it!' True, that side was a bit erm 'robust' but we did call it football and we did keep it and within a year or two were in the first division. That said, Crewe have always been a club which are a great example of how to survive at lower levels and with small crowds and the general respect in which they are held is well deserved.
9) How do you see Saturday going?
We're a solid team but can be quite cautious when up against a team that can score goals. I think it will be 1-1.
A big thanks to mannyroadend.co.uk for providing the answers this week.