WINDOWS were smashed, walls and nail doors were smashed with stones, damaged furniture was scattered all over the place and memorabilia was ripped off the walls.
But the vandalism caused by yobs, who broke into Bury’s Gigg Lane stadium while it lay dormant, only reinforced his determination to herald a bright new dawn for the famously old club.
The two-time FA Cup winner Shaker was outraged when he was expelled from the EFL two and a half years ago after tough bosses who cared little for the club or the proud community it represented had put it on the list.
As I stepped onto the now undulating pitch with former club director Ian Pickup and fan group members Est.1885, sons Math Pickup, Antony Popadic and Dan Bowerbank, it became clear that they were going to offer a Trending political slogan, Build back better.
The club and stadium founded in 1885 is now owned by the fan-led group following their successful acquisition from the executive management company, The Bury Football Club Limited (1892), which is expected to will be liquidated.
Because the club and intellectual property rights were released from the parent company prior to the liquidation, Bury FC will be allowed to continue in their original form as long as they satisfy the football creditors.
It is the same complicated process as Bolton went through three years ago to prevent oblivion.
But now the real work begins before they can start the 2022-23 season in August with the FA expected to announce the league in which they will be drawn in July.
And it started with a £600,000 project to install an all-weather 3G projection field, which will be rented out to the public.
Popavic, 58, said: “After talking to other clubs that have or have 3G pitches, they generate around £300,000 to £400,000 a year.
“The 3G pitch is central to our business plan. No wisdom. There is an upfront cost but it pays off on its own soon – and the top surface doesn’t have to be replaced in 10 years.”
The club hopes to open a public gym and have NHS facilities.
Just last month, the Shakers succeeded in securing £1m from the government’s upgrade department – and they are working to receive up to £450,000 from council, as well as bank accounts. Various support from organizations such as the Football Foundation.
Ian Pickup, 76, said: “The government funding is based on the fact that Gigg Lane is a community project.
“The council is glad we don’t have these facilities in Bury.
“Part of how we want the club to get back up and running is in the interest of the people and the local economy, which has already suffered as a result of our expulsion from the EFL and the pandemic.”
The cleanup and refurbishment of Gigg Lane will also be a community effort.
As we toured the once thriving 1885 hotel and executive lounge, surveying broken glass and up and down windows, Popavic revealed around £70,000 needed to be spent on repairs to the facilities. .
But some costs are being avoided because of the generosity of local businesses.
“Pino Liotti, a fan of over 40 years, owns the family window business Trident,” he said. They offered free glass replacement.
“A flash of light got us back on in the stadium – although we haven’t turned on the floodlights as they cost £600 to run A GAME!
“We called in an army of volunteers to help us clean up the stadium. We’ve received so many offers of support, which is incredible.”
While there are areas of the ground that will need repair, there are many that feel as though the past 29 months haven’t happened.
Outside, the stands are in good condition and there’s nothing as good as licking paint here and there that can’t be resolved.
The referee’s room has a broken window, but the home and away dressing rooms are in good use. The medical room and what used to be the gym look good too.
While I was at the stadium, lifelong fan and all-season ticket holder Peter Whitnall, 75, showed up so he could take his regular reserved seat.
He said: “I’m hospitalized for knee surgery and don’t know how long I’ll be lying down so I want to experience sitting here again.
“It is great that the club is about to reopen. I believe we will get a larger audience than we did last season at the EFL! ”
The club will use the German model with 51% fan ownership, so it will never be possible for an owner to pay off huge debts and scars like Stewart Day did in 2018. .
California-based Bury fan, Peter Alexander is one of Est.1885’s main benefactors. But rather than wanting a return on his investment, one idea he suggested was to name one of the stands after his late grandfather and lifelong Shaker Arthur Ashworth.
Bury also wants to build bridges with local companies who have had their fingers burned by previous regimes – while also restoring relationships with other football clubs and governing bodies including including EFLs.
There is still much bitterness around town about how the EFL has allowed their club to be ruined.
I don’t care which team the FA puts us in as long as I can sit back in my seat at Gigg Lane, watch Bury and eat my pie! “
Fans Buried Antony Popavic
Math Pickup, 36, said: “Traditionally we had a good reputation throughout the EFL and with the bigger clubs but that has been lost.
“It’s time to draw a line. This is a new era. We want to build positive relationships, including with the EFL. ”
Another group of Shakers fans formed a new supporters-owned club called Bury AFC, playing at nearby Radcliffe because they feared they could not save Bury FC.
They are currently top of the table and unbeaten in the North West Counties League First Division North, the 10th tier of English football.
Because Bury FC will remain in its original entity, the FA has scope to place it in a higher league because of their history and standing.
A working group from both clubs is in dialogue to bring the two groups together under one banner.
Math Pickup added: “It’s important that we have a united fan base and that’s what most people want. We are not miles apart in terms of what we want to achieve so hopefully the negotiations will have a positive outcome.”
Popavic added: “Having a whole drawer full of all the wrong things we want to put right – but frustrating as it is, we feel it doesn’t give us any rights.
“Personally, I don’t care what division the FA puts us in as long as I can sit back in my chair at Gigg Lane again, watch Bury and eat my pie! We have to be humble, embrace the challenges. unrelated things and enjoy the trip without spending beyond our means.”
Despite the crippling damage Day did to the club, he was still unknowing TO SAVE US Gigg Lane.
“He sold off 300 parking spaces in front of the stadium under a 25-year lease, as part of a Ponzi scheme a decade ago,” Popavic explains. That ultimately deterred interested housing developers from buying and leveling.
“Even though you can build the stadium, you won’t be able to access the houses because the land in front is already leased.”
So maybe the gods are smiling at Bury after all.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17462068/17462068/ Bury’s Gigg Lane may have been smashed by yobs