Bury FC: Anger and tears at League One club before EFL decision

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Fan protests stepped up on Wednesday at Bury’s Gigg Lane stadium

A coffin with ‘RIP Bury FC 1885-?’ painted on it leans against a wall. Just a few metres away, a woman stands handcuffed to a drainpipe.

Bury Football Club is 134 years old. In less than 134 hours, it could be no more.

With the club in financial turmoil, and six successive fixtures cancelled so far this season, the Shakers could be expelled from the English Football League.

It is the nightmare scenario for the club’s fans and the town.

Joy Hart’s father Les was ‘Mr Bury’. He spent 44 years at the club as player, manager, coach and physio, and the club’s south stand bears his name.

On Wednesday afternoon Joy – a former director of the club – handcuffed herself to a drainpipe at the club’s ground in protest at its plight.

“We need everybody’s help, or on Friday we will not be a football club ever again,” she says, with tears in her eyes.

“I am appealing to all the north-west clubs. Please help us. Unless somebody comes in, we are dead on Friday. Forever.

“I cannot even bear to think about how much it will affect me and thousands of other people.”

Just after Joy’s protest begins, a man arrives and offers his support. He then kicks open a door at the stadium and shouts angrily at a member of staff inside before apologising to those around him and walking away. He later returns with two friends. Carrying a coffin.

There is a lot of anger in this town. Anger at how this club, their club, has been allowed to reach this precipice.

“What will annoy me is if 44 years of memories are taken away,” says Tom. “I hope I have got lots more good times to come.

“I have not watched Match of the Day and the past two weeks of EFL, because I cannot stomach watching any football without my team playing.

“The chairman needs to do the right thing, give the club back to the fans and community, and players that will proudly wear the shirt.”

A red rose was laid on the pitch at Gigg Lane on Saturday to symbolise the fans’ love for the club

On 30 April, Bury secured promotion to League One – an achievement made all the more impressive by a series of financial challenges off it.

A week earlier, the club had been put up for sale by owner Steve Dale, who had bought it from Stewart Day for £1 in December 2018.

“Even as we were celebrating, we knew what was coming,” says Tom – one of 6,719 fans who packed out Gigg Lane for Bury’s final game of last season.

“That Port Vale game might be my last memory of being at the stadium.”

Only two of the players in the squad for that match remain, and the first-team page