Here in Scotland the desperate plight of poor Bury may seem remote but every fan can sympathise. The sight of supporters outside Gigg Lane daubing “RIP” on a coffin would make you greet, especially if you’re old enough to remember collecting the club’s badge – free with a gallon of Esso – and glueing it to the display board.
Imagine doing this on behalf of your club. Imagine going to an undertaker and ordering a wooden box for the team you’ve followed through thick and thin (mostly thin). Assuming you don’t have one handy at home.
But there are Scottish links. Twice Bury have won the FA Cup and both times Scots played leading roles. In 1900 when they beat Southampton 4-0 at Crystal Palace the line-up contained Alexandria-born Jack Darroch and Tommy Davidson, a son of West Calder, in the full-back berths, plus Falkirk’s Jack Pray at wing-half. Two of the goals were scored with a muckle clout of the depth-charge ball by Jasper McLuckie who hailed from Glasgow and went on to play for Aston Villa, finishing his career at Dundee.
Three years later Bury lifted the cup again. That triumph was notable for the team not losing a goal all the way to the final, again at Crystal Palace, where they walloped Derby County 6-0 – a record margin of victory which stood until Manchester City equalled it last season. The custodian behind all those clean sheets was another Scot, Hugh Monteith from New Cumnock, while the stout defence in front of him included Lennoxtown’s John Johnston. Come on you Shakers, you’re no’ deid yet.