The Sound of Football: Bury (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Bury

Nickname: The Shakers

Ground: Gigg Lane

Stadium Capacity: 11,313

Song: Bury Aces

The summer of 2013 saw Bury become the busiest team for transfers in/out of the club. The club had been relegated to League Two the previous season and had released a statement saying it needed £1 million to survive. To cut costs, it let 16 players leave the club. The financial situation was so bad that the club couldn’t afford a lawyer to transfer the deeds from the old regime to the new one when it was taken over.

The move out of administration was led by supporters, spearheaded by Neville Neville, the father of former England internationals Gary and Phil.

This financial boost gave the club a fresh start, but Bury had no squad. The manager Kevin Blackwell had to sign over twenty players, and with so many new signings, he struggled to remember all of their names. Kevin is quoted as saying:

One of the players had a word with me because I’d forgotten his name, and I said, ‘listen son, I don’t know anybody’s name – never mind yours‘.”

However, soon everyone would know one player’s name: striker Lenell John-Lewis. Sadly, not for his goal-scoring exploits but for the chant the fans would sing to remind them who he was.

His name is a shop!

His name is a shoooooopppppp!

Lenell John-Lewis!

His name is a shop!

While most players go through their careers without winning a medal, most clubs go through their existence without winning a significant trophy. Lower league Bury has the distinction of not just one major win but two.

In 1900 it won the FA Cup by beating Southampton 4 – 0. The Shakers returned in 1903 and did even better – it didn’t concede a single goal in any round and then beat Derby County 6 – 0, still the biggest win in the FA Cup final. It inspired Bury Aces:

Oh, the lads, should have seen us coming,

Fastest team in all the land, you should have seen us coming,

All the lads and lasses, with the smiles on their faces,

Walking down the Manny Road to see the Bury Aces!

(Source: unknown)

Nowadays clubs complain about a congested fixture list, but at least it doesn’t have multiple FA Cup replays to contend with. In the 1954/55 season, the FA Cup match between Stoke City and Bury was replayed four times.

The teams first met in Bury and played out a 1 – 1 draw. The replay also finished 1 – 1 (after extra time). The next match was a 3 – 3 draw (after extra time). Bury then played out a 2 – 2 draw just days later. Finally, Stoke won the last match 3 – 2, scoring the winning goal in the last minute of extra time just as everybody was preparing for a sixth game. The tie lasted 9 hours and 22 minutes.

Since 1903, Bury’s FA Cup success has been limited. However, in 2006/7, Bury managed to go through the whole tournament unbeaten, well, kind of… It became the first professional side to be thrown out of the FA Cup after the club had fielded an illegible player. And, sadly, it’s not just the FA Cup that has expelled Bury. In 2019, after falling into financial difficulties, the club was removed from the football league too.

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