Ground: Gigg Lane
Date: 13th April 2017
Match: Bury - Rochdale 0-1 (League 1)
Attendance: 4 850
I arrived back home from Germany on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon I set off again, it was time for the annual Easter trip to England. With the exception of 2012 I have been to England every Easter since 2006. This time around I had three games planned: Bury v Rochdale on Thursday evening and the Shrewsbury v Walsall and Stockport v Telford on Good Friday. My flight arrived at Manchester airport at 17.40 and 10 minutes later Umeå´s finest(?), Stefan and Jocke, arrived as well. They have eight games planned but since I had to be home on Easter Saturday I would only join them for the first three games. Our hotel was a 10-minute walk from Piccadilly station and after checking-in we headed towards a Thai restaurant for dinner. We finished off the day with a visit to a pub where we watched CL-football over a drink.
Having done 83 of the 92 grounds I need a bit of luck with fixtures being moved. Bury v Rochdale, a local derby in Greater Manchester, being from from Good Friday to Thursday evening was of course good news for me. Kick-off was at 19.45 so a few hours to kill on Thursday. After a late breakfast Stefan and Jocke wanted to visit a golf shop in Salford and I joined them. Tram was the easiest option to visit the golf shop and going by tram to Bury in the evening we bought, for the reasonable price of £5, a Day Travelcard for the trams. On our way to the golf shop we passed Old Trafford and it has now been nine years since my last visit to the Theatre of Dreams. Anyway, after returning to central Manchester we had lunch at a café before returning to our hotel for a few hours rest. This time of the year there are many Scandinavians in England and three Sweden based Bristol City supporters also stayed at our hotel. At 16.15 the six of us headed towards Bury. The tram journey took around 40 minutes and we then went to the Swan & Cemetery pub in Bury to have something to eat and drink. The pub was a 25-minute walk from the tram station but was quite close to the ground. At the pub I met up with my Scottish friend Jonathan who was actually born in Bury!
Bury FC was founded in 1885 and has actually played at Gigg Lane throughout their history. In recent years the club has been going up and down between League 1 and League 2. In 1900 and 1903 Bury won the FA-Cup but living in the shadows of the big clubs from Manchester it is difficult to attract lots of fans. Capacity at Gigg Lane is 11 600 but last year the average attendance was 3 700 so not difficult to get tickets for Bury games. As Jonathan and I were standing outside the ground I suddenly heard someone saying my name. As I looked up I could see Stephan and Christoph standing in front of me. I have met these two Kaiserslautern-supporting groundhoppers several times before but didn´t know they were going to this game. It was unreserved seating in the South Stand but the six Swedes, two Germans and the Scot manged to find seats next to each other. Rochdale are mid-table in League 1 but Bury are in danger of relegation and needed the three points tonight and I was hoping for an entertaining evening at Gigg Lane. This turned out to be an awful game though with very few chances. In the 45th minute Rochdale scored from the free-kick but the goal was more down to poor goalkeeping. Rochdale brought 1 361 fans to Gigg Lane for this game and since Bury couldn´t find an equalizer it was those visiting fans who could celebrate victory. Only three games left now and Bury are now above the relegation zone on goal-difference only. We had no problems catching a tram back to Manchester at 23.00 I was back at my hotel.
Swan & Cemetery pub
Gigg Lane? Turn left!
Rear of the Main Stand
Rear of the Manchester Road Stand
Manchester Road Stand
Main Stand (Neville Neville Stand)
Manchester Road Stand
View of play
Neville Neville Stand
View of play
Gigg Lane under floodlights