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Fan Zone 04/08/2023


BURY FC START RETURN TO TOP FLIGHT AT GIGG LANE


SOUTHEND GET GREEN LIGHT TO START NATIONAL LEAGUE


UNITED’S NEW SEASON STARTS AT DOVER



To some, watching football is just a pastime but for true footballing fans a football club is a vital part of the community in which they live and so when a club is in trouble or even goes out of business it’s like losing a friend.

Back in 2019 the EFL decided enough was enough and Bury - The Shakers - were expelled from League 1 following financial mismanagement. There then came a period of further unrest as two groups of fans emerged: Bury FC was formed by one competing in the North West Counties League, the other group wanting to keep the old club and ground secured a £1million Government Levelling Up grant. But only after the two groups finally, in May, after much bickering, merged did the funding become available.

On Saturday all the toil and hard work paid off as competitive football returned to Gigg Lane for the first time since 2019 as Bury FC played in the North West Counties Premier League in front of a league record crowd of 5,451. These loyal fans saw the home side win 5-1 over Glossop North End.

It might only be Step 9 in the football pyramid but it’s the start of a long journey back for Bury towards the Football League.

In the four years without football the stadium had become run down, the pitch had had no attention with the playing surface resembling a field only suitable for grazing cattle. Time and money was spent on digging up the ‘cowfield’ and a brand new playing surface was created.

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Meanwhile, that other football club, Southend United, which has been in the news all close season, has also experienced similar concerns over the state of their ground, Roots Hall.

On Sunday an army of 150 fan volunteers turned up to clean and paint the stadium. The pitch, too, had been unattended with fox holes dotted around.

Their first home National League game, to Oldham Athletic, is this coming Saturday and will go ahead after the local Council granted a safety certificate.

Last week it was reported that the club had paid off the £300,000 owed to its football creditors, so the National League issued, with two conditions, a license for them to compete in this season’s fixtures.

The conditions include a ten point deduction if they fail to pay off the £275,000 tax bill to HMRC by August 23 and should the club fall into further financial difficulties it will be expelled.

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Pre-season friendlies are solely for gaining fitness, ‘putting minutes into legs’ as many managers say, so the results are irrelevant, unless of course you win all these matches and everybody then says promotion is guaranteed.

Many Torquay fans who had been singing the club’s praises after the two Devon derbies, had, rather like the players, these thoughts brought back to reality following Southampton’s Under-21’s 3-1 victory on Saturday.

The general consensus, if comments on social media are anything to go by, suggest that the pairing of Aaron Jarvis and Brad Ash, with ammunition supplied by Lewis Collins and Jack Stobbs, will see United scoring freely.

The concerns, though, centre around the defence where many would like to see an experienced centre-half added. There is still time for at least a couple of loans to be brought in; a couple from that Southampton side for instance.

On Thursday it was announced that ex-QPR player Dillon De Silva who was on loan last season had signed a permanent deal.

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United’s Women had a 3-2 pre-season win over Pucklechurch Sports Ladies thanks to a winning spot kick from Danni Wyatt. England’s Lionesses completed their second 1-0 World Cup win pushing them on to qualification into the next part of the tournament, confirmed after a 6-1 win over China.

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Non-League Crowd Watch: Bury v Glossop North End 5,451, Droyslden v Abbey Hulton Utd 955, Torquay United v Southampton U-21 945, FC Isle of Man v Wythenshawe Town 777.

So, Saturday is the moment of truth as the National South season gets underway with United making the long trek to Dover, hopefully avoiding the traffic queues for the cross Channel ferries from the port. At least they’re going on Friday.

Early favourites for the league are obviously Torquay and Yeovil with Worthing surprisingly in the mix.

There are always a couple of surprise teams, maybe look out for Weymouth.

Who do you think are United’s most dangerous opponents? Send yours to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

COYY








 


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