- Bury FC
League Two v Bradford City
Tuesday January 21st 2008, 7.45pm
I was looking forward to a trip to Bury as I have been threatening to go a watch some lower league football of a local side for quite sometime, Bury is the closest to where I live so decided that when my team (Manchester United - I am from Salford) aren't playing I would go down and watch The Shakers.
This was the first game I have attended at Gigg Lane and was against Bradford City - it was a night match. The only thing I was apprehensive about was the fact it was a Tuesday night, cold, wet league two match so I wasn't expecting much of a crowd, in fact there were 2776 people in attendance 1023 of which were Bradford fans! I was well impressed with Bradford's away support on a midweek night!
Bury's ground is extremely easy to find, although it is nestled in between an area of Terraced housing it is really well signposted from the M66 motorway. The M66 is easily accessible from M60 and M62, follow sign for Bury town centre, come off the motorway and follow the 'football ground' signs - couldn' t be easier. Arrived 15 minutes prior to kick off and had to spend about 10 minutes driving round local streets looking for a good parking spot. Apparently there are car parks a short walk away but I didn't see them.
Most people who can't park in the street park down back alleyways which were dark and, I didn't think, a very good place to leave your car. This is in no way intended to disrespect the area of Bury but if anyone was going to break into a car I get the feeling it would be in these alleys and not in the well lit terrace street. I managed to get a parking spot not too far from the ground.
I had a quick look in the club shop, as I had heard that they stock some FC United gear - they don't! But the Bury merchandise seemed very good quality and prices were reasonable - when your used to the MUFC megastore any prices seem reasonable!!!
There were two quite large queues outside the ground and I found myself praying that this wasn't the queue to get in with the rain, it turns out they were queues for Family Stand Tickets - if this is where you will be sitting I advise you get your tickets early.
Myself (21) and my girlfriend (20) paid £16 each to get into the Main Stand (we later found out that anyone under 21 is classed as a Junior and gets in for £10!!!!! I thought this was great price but we did not mind putting the extra £6 towards a club that needs it. Not to wish to sound condescending but I thought £16 was a good price anyway)
My first impression inside the ground was how modern it all looked, it is a very nice little all seater stadium. The facilities downstairs from the stand were quite basic, but the actual stand was really nice.
We spent about 5 minutes trying to find a seat as they all had named stickers on them, I presumed that this was some sort of Season Ticket thing*, but in the end I decided that all these people wouldn't be turning up so, being a United fan, we chose to sit in Wilf McGuiness' seats (Cheers Wilf!)
The view from this stand was really good, a nice height so you could see everything but still feeling close to the action on the pitch. There were however a small number of supporting pillars but they did not really cause obstruction to the view.
I would say our stand was fairly full (maybe about 70% full) the South Stand opposite had a spattering of Shakers fans spread across it.
The Manchester Road Stand to our right had a few hundred Bury fans to the back of the stand, this was a shame as the numbers in this stand were the amount that I thought Bradford would bring, but in sharp contrast the away (Cemetery End) stand was full, over 1000 travelling supporters really getting behind there team. In fairness the small number of Bury fans at the back of the Manchester Road End more than made up for a lack of numbers with how loud they were!! Really giving the vast travelling support a run for their money singing and thus making it a really good atmosphere!!
There was one small serving hatch downstairs from the stand that served a really good selection of pies, they also had the Pizza Pods - I highly recommend these, Pasties with tomato, mozarella, onion and mushrooms inside.
No alcohol on sale inside the ground, but Kenco coffee, PG Tips and Bovril and selection of bottled soft drinks - staff friendly and really efficient. Quite a large queue for food but went down really quick!
The toilets were the only problem - they were by far not the worse I had seen but as soon as you got close to them the smell was quite bad. I could tell my girlfriend wasn't really looking forward to seeing the inside of the toilets from the smell, but I just joked "ahh the joys of lower league football" ha
Last point I would like to make.....although the travelling fans were penned in by police, and there was the typical goading when either team scored, the atmosphere of the game was actually really friendly.
Fans of both teams left the ground together with colours showing and there wasn't a hint that there could be trouble! I actually saw two people in the Bury stand with Bradford City tops on and they wandered and mingled between Bury fans without issue. The game ended as an entertaining 2-2 draw and on the whole I enjoyed the experience.
I was worried about traffic getting out of the side streets and onto the main road. My advice would be try and get a close down to Manchester Road as you can before leaving the terrace streets as there was a bit of traffic outside the club shop.
Police directed traffic flow onto Manchester Road so getting away was quick and easy.
* Guy Mallinson informs me; 'They aren't the names of season ticket holders but are names of people who paid £10 to have their name on the seat in a fund raising drive a few years ago that helped us to stay in business. It wasn't limited to just Bury fans as I've sat in a seat bought by 'A Seagull'. I assume it was a Brighton fan!'
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