Bury FanZoner Adrian Foster was optimistic for his side this season. Then transfer deadline day came...
Sometimes one day can really shape a season
Throughout this season you will here a lot of fans describing their team's season as a 'Rollercoaster'. Bury's season isn't like a rollercoaster, just the beginning bit of a rollercoaster. The sense of anticipation, the slow steady progress upwards and the terrifying plummet downwards. It's quite easy pinpoint where it began to wrong for us, Wednesday 31st August, transfer deadline day.
Observers of the lower leagues will, I'm sure, be familiar with the name Ryan Lowe. He was last season's League Two player of the year and a cult hero down at Gigg Lane. He'd started the season as he finished the last, scoring goals (7 in 7). Unsurprisingly this had caught the attention of Gary Megson, who'd had a difficult start to life at Sheffield Wednesday.
He used Wednesday's financial muscle to secure our talisman. I can't blame Lowe, he's 32 and spent his career scratching around the lower leagues, and this was his only chance for a big contract. Also departing on that day was Damien Mozika, he'd gone to Scunthorpe to hook up with ex-Bury boss Alan Knill. After a superb start to the season, the heart of our team had been ripped out by bigger clubs, money and injuries. Manager Richie Barker then tried to make himself League 1's Arsene Wenger and set about taking any players that became available.
We travelled to Sheffield United the following Saturday where we were spanked 4-0. Suddenly a solid, entertaining team who looked like they adored playing football with each other, began to look nervous, edgy and most worryingly of all like they didn't want to be here anymore. Ah well, we all thought, Sheff U have had a great start to the season there aren't many teams that will go there and get a result.
It was the week after that really hurt.
Older Bury fans will always look towards Bolton as our main local rivals, but the fact is that the last time ourselves and the Wanderers were in the same division was the 98/99 season.
The younger generation look the other way down the A58, towards Rochdale. They came to Gigg Lane themselves in bad form, they hadn't won a game under new manager Steve Eyre, they were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes. To say Bury didn't turn up would be the understatement of the year, even when we pulled it back to 3-1 we never looked like getting back into it, a calamitous fourth was conceded just after half time, final score Bury 2 Rochdale 4.
Barker panicked further bringing in goalkeeper Trevor Carsson on loan from Sunderland. From the team that had played Sheffield Wednesday off the park in August we'd now lost our Goalkeeper (dropped) one of our Centre backs (injury) club captain Steven Schumacher (injury) as well as Lowe and Mozika. It's hardly any wonder we've lost our way. We lost two more games after the Rochdale debacle, against Chesterfield and Hartlepool, both away from home.
I'm not one to be over critical of the team or the staff, I don't think it's very productive. But it's difficult to see where the next win is coming from. The loan players we've signed haven't settled. The man tasked with filling Lowe's boots, Shaun Harrod is quite clearly not match fit, and keeper Cameron Belford has suffered a catastrophic loss of confidence, even the evergreen Efe Sodje is beginning to show his age.
I don't hold out much hope.