Whilst Andy Welsh is already preparing for the 2023/24 season, we wanted fans to learn more about the man who will be managing the Shakers for this exciting time ahead.
Welsh’s football pedigree goes right back to 2001 when he began his professional playing career at Stockport County. From there he went to progress right up to the top tier, playing in the Premier League for Sunderland. His career saw him play for many other clubs, and even saw him be part of Toronto FC’s inaugural season.
He first became a manager at Ossett United. Welsh then joined Bury AFC in 2020 and the Manchester–born manager achieved promotion in their first full season as Champions of NWCFL Division One North.
Welsh managed 101 games for Bury AFC, amassing 69 wins with a 74.55% win ratio and an eye–watering goal difference of +122. When asked about the footballing philosophies he will be instilling at Gigg Lane, Welsh said, “Wherever I go, I want to win games.” He demands “High–energy entertaining football” and acknowledges the community and town who come to watch the games. “(The fans) don’t pay all their hard–earned money to come and watch a lethargic team that sits behind a ball. We go and get after it, and we make life hard for the opponents.”
Though Welsh has enjoyed success up to date, he is well aware of how the situation has changed. Following the successful amalgamation of Bury FC Supporters’ Society and Bury AFC, Welsh knows that those Bury fans who have not attended AFC games are a big part of this exciting journey.
“It’ll be like Christmas time again. We want all those good feelings to come back for everybody. It’s about everybody coming together now. The history is always going to be there. It’s never going to go, but what we are in charge of now is creating our own future together.”
There are many jobs to do in order to start building for the future. For Welsh, the first on his list is recruitment. While three players (Lewis Gilboy, Jack Atkinson and Connor Comber) carry through their contracts from Bury AFC, Welsh is already in the thick of attracting new players to the club. With his attitude towards winning clear, one of his main priorities is making sure whoever he signs would know the significance of playing for Bury Football Club.
“It’s a privilege. It’s an honour. Any player that pulls that football shirt on has to feel the same, but most of all we have to enjoy it together.”
Working together is something Welsh is passionate about. He will require the same of the squad he assembles. “It’s about making sure that the group of players we bring in work together and gel together. We’ve got to get used to playing together here at Gigg as well. My job as manager, our job as staff, is to get players used to playing at this club as quickly as they can, and to enjoy it as well.”
Playing at Gigg Lane is something Welsh wants his players to go to sleep “dreaming about”. However, he knows the opposition will be no different. “We are everyone’s cup final. Everyone will want to come here and beat us.”
Welsh knows the challenge ahead, but his focus remains on looking upwards. “We go into leagues to win them. We want to get promoted – no doubt about it.”
Above all else, Welsh recognises the club is now fan–owned and the importance of working together is essential to success. From his time managing Bury AFC, he knows the value of creating a collaborative ethos. “One thing we built there was a fantastic family–orientated football club that got behind the players week in, week out.”
With pre–season around the corner, Welsh wants fans to show no hesitation in helping the effort on and off the field.
“Everyone is part of it. Everyone is going to be in a position to do their bit of getting us up the leagues, getting us into a position where we can fight back where the club used to be. It’s not about it starting tomorrow, we need everyone today. Everyone in the community coming together and spreading the word that Bury are back at Gigg Lane.”
As we look forward to Bury back at Gigg Lane in August, Welsh is calling on everyone to be part of it.
“We all now have to work together to get this football club back to where it belongs.”