The exposure I of course refer to is the farcical Bury-Rangers fiasco, which granted fresh life to the already simmering summer rumour mill. Fortunately for Shakers fans, such talk of a ‘Club 12’ takeover was met with repudiation. Rushing to quash such irksome fabrication, Bury directors drew upon the continuity of a club decorated in rich historical success and popularity, notably the FA cup winning sides of 1900 and 1903 as ‘way above and beyond any financial gain’.
It would appear Messrs Barker and Shirtliff treated such meddlesome tales with casual levity, and instead focused their attentions on Shaker recruitment, and the difficult job of keeping Bury competitive in what is largely considered the ‘New Championship’.
After the agonizing, mass exodus of many of Bury’s better players, during last season’s campaign, Bury boss Richie Barker enjoyed a relatively successful first full season at the helm. Apart from two notable runs of devastatingly poor form during the 2011/2012 campaign the Shakers enjoyed a comfortable first season back in League one, with a respectable 14th place finish.
The upcoming campaign however looks every bit as gruelling as last seasons, with notable ‘big boys’ suffering the dreaded drop from the Championship. Although cracking out the flask and sarnies for a trip down to Pompey will leave most hardened Shaker’s fans salivating, the prospect of picking up three points seems less palatable. Without significant investment it would appear Bury will struggle keeping to former Shakers boss, (and now Iron) Alan Knill’s mantra, of ‘competing’.
All is not doom and gloom though, with Barker unloading a host of fresh faces from his untested arsenal. Having recruited the reliable Trevor Carson relatively early, Barker seems to have built on this with three new faces. The pick of the bunch for me, is ex-Donny centre-back Adam Lockwood, who is somewhat of a coup for the Shakers. A proven Championship centre back in Lockwood will surely prove an invaluable asset in assisting the seemingly age-less Efe Sodje in marshalling a young squad – hopefully generating a new stubborn line of defence, less prone to leakages.
The renewal of Lateef Elford-Alliyu’s services on a one-year deal will bring exuberance and character to the Shaker’s front line, which, with the injury stricken frailty of long serving Shaker Andy Bishop, was beginning to look more and more lifeless. The ex-baggy affectionately nicknamed ‘Pan’, will hopefully cause chaos with his pace and raw talent, but Lateef will have to be well managed in order to bring out the best in him.
Barker also seems to have dealt his wild card with the signing of Marcus Marshall. A promising and burgeoning talent originating from the Blackburn Rovers academy, Marshall’s first team opportunities were scarce and after failed spells at Rotherham and Macclesfield respectively, it would appear Barker has gambled with Marcus. Shakers fans will notably cast dubious glances, after ex-rovers and recent Shaker Andy Haworth delivered blunt and frankly dull performances in the same position, after initially showing promise. I do though, implore Shakers’ fans to bide their time with Marcus. With Bury crying out for pace and width, it is important for the team and fans to get behind Marcus and the rest of the new contingency.
With a crop of eager trialists and a fresh campaign, the future certainly seems – for the time being, blue and white.
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