So, this is it. Gigg Lane. Back from it’s slumber and ready to stage men’s footballing contests again after a four-year hiatus. A lot can, and has, been said about the situation Bury fans found themselves in the summer of 2019, when the home of football in this great town was left dormant and silent.
Fingers were pointed, blame was apportioned and tears were shed. Lots of tears were shed.
Blood, sweat and even more of those tears have led us back home and just in time for the start of the 2023-24 season. And aren’t we just pleased as punch to be able to shout that from the top of the Lenny Johnrose Stand this weekend, as we welcome some familiar names to help us pick up where we left off.
First up, the Bantams of Bradford City hop down the M62 this Saturday to be the first side to take to the Gigg Lane turf as we continue our pre-season schedule which is already two-games old. Mark Hughes (pictured left) brings his League Two play-off semi-final side from last season, down to Gigg and such has been the anticipation within the fan base, all of the 2,275 available tickets (reduced capacity) have been snapped up well ahead of game day.
Then, within 24 hours, the lads return to the field to take on Ryan Lowe’s Preston North End who tip into town on Sunday and complete an EFL double-header which will really celebrate our return home after such a long-time away.
‘Lowey’ is no stranger to the Bury faithful, having played over 160 games in three spells for the Shakers, scoring 66 goals along the way and securing three promotions for the club. Twice as a player in 2011 and 2015, before seizing the helm as manager permanently in 2018 and guiding the club back into League One at the first attempt during the ill-fated 2018-19 season.
A 1-1 draw at home to Port Vale in May 2019 led to celebrations on the pitch, but desolation for the fans across the remainder of the summer and ultimately expulsion and an exodus of players, as the entire squad left for pastures new when promises for the new season could not be fulfiled.
Lowe has forged a successful managerial career since, at first Plymouth Argyle with another promotion in his first season, and now in the Championship at Deepdale where he has been at the helm since December 2021.
We wish to place on record our thanks to both clubs for including us as part of their pre-season schedule and being accommodating in staging such a special set of fixtures as our first games back at Gigg Lane.
Andy Welsh’s side have shown promising signs in the first two pre-season encounters, away at Thackley last Saturday winning 3-0 and taking the lead twice at Ewan Fields on Tuesday night before sharing the spoils against Northern Premier League side, Hyde United.
Bury fans are becoming accustomed to another ‘Lowe’ of their own, with former-Wythenshawe Town forward Benito Lowe breaking his Bury duck on Tuesday night when he slotted home coolly from close range midway through the first-half. This was after striking both post and bar during the early exchanges. You can catch highlights of this game below:
This was first of many for the 25-year-old no doubt, with Shakers fans no doubt hoping he can follow in the footsteps of the esteemed company in the away dugout this Sunday.
Take in the match information below for this weekend’s fixtures, whether you are lucky enough to be at ‘Glorious’ Gigg Lane for our historic return, or not.
In Opposition – Bradford City
Bradford City will visit Gigg Lane on Saturday, making it the first men’s game at Gigg Lane since the club was expelled from the EFL in August 2019.
It’s the first visit for the Bantams in just under six years, Saturday 14th October 2017 was their last, in a 3-1 defeat. Goals that day from Chris Maguire, Jermaine Beckford & Jay O’Shea cancelled out Charlie Wyke’s 9th minute opener.
This will be the opening pre-season fixture for Mark Hughes’ side before they jet out to Spain for their pre-season tour, a week later. They were just a game away from promotion to League One after losing out in the play-off semi-finals against Carlisle 3-2 on aggregate back in May.
In Opposition – Preston North End
It’s the complete opposite for Preston, they will be facing Andy Welsh’s side off the back of their pre-season tour to Spain. Former Bury player & manager Ryan Lowe will bring his North End side to Gigg on Sunday, for their second pre-season game on British soil after they beat Bamber Bridge 7-0 on July 1st.
His side finished 12th in the Championship last season, despite only being six points off the play-offs.
December 2012 was the last time PNE travelled to Gigg Lane for an EFL Trophy tie, in which they won 5-4 on penalties after it was level at 3-3 after 90 minutes. Steven Schumacher got the late equaliser for the Shakers that night to take the game to deciding spot-kicks.
Saturday’s fixture with Bradford City is SOLD OUT, please do not attend Gigg Lane without a ticket.
Tickets are still available for Sunday’s fixture with Preston North End, and will be ALL-TICKET only with no cash turnstiles in operation.
Click here to purchase.
On the Day & In the Ground
Travel: Gigg Lane is accessible by car and is well served by public transport, please see our page on the TfGM website, which advises best travel routes to the stadium. Directions can be sourced via Google Maps below.
SatNav Postcode: BL9 9HR
Parking: The car park at Gigg Lane are available for players and officials ONLY, with spaces also made available for blue badge holders. Car park operatives are under strict instructions to apply this policy, if your car is not on the list, you won’t be let on the car park. Contact email@example.com for further details.
There is on-street parking in the residential areas surrounding Gigg Lane, with supporters reminded to be respectful and considerate of the local residents at all times, as well as being mindful of and adhering to the parking permit measures in place in close proximity to the ground.
Stadium Entry: Gates will open at 1.30pm. Home fans will be seated in the South Stand (access round the back of the Manchester Road End), whilst away fans will be in the East Stand and will head to the left as you enter the club car park area.
Our matchday volunteers will be on hand, both outside the turnstiles and inside the ground, to guide supporters to where they need to be. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask those who are there to help the day.
Food / Drink: Kiosks are accessible for supporters under the stands following the gates opening at 1.30pm. A selection of hot and cold snacks will be available. Alcohol will be sold, but has to be consumed away from sight of the pitch in line with EFL regulations. Please respect the advice from stewards on managing this process on the day.
The team who compile the award-winning programmes, have been at it again with a fresh look for 2023-24. This is the first release of ‘The Shakers‘ programme.
This first edition which covers both games over the weekend, and marks the occasion by including match reports from the final three games of the 2018-19 promotion-winning season, which never made publication.
Make sure you don’t miss out on this special edition, and grab a copy online for just £3 plus booking fee when you buy your ticket (available until 1pm, Friday 7th) or from the sellers in and around the ground ahead of the game.
Pound for the Ground: Our ‘Pound for the Ground’ half-time raffle tickets will be on sale in and around the ground, £1 per entry. Sellers accept cash or card, with 40% of the total pot going to the winning ticket with results announced over the tannoy and on the scoreboard.
Keep #GiggGleaming: With so much work gone into Gigg Lane to get us to this point, we want to keep it that way and a lot of work is going into turning the ground around between games this weekend. We have a team of volunteers lined up to clean the stands following Saturday’s game.
With this in mind, we urge all supporters to make sure any rubbish is processed in the correct manner, using the available bins where necessary, or if possible please take any rubbish away with you.
#NonLeagueDogs: For now, dogs are NOT permitted in the ground.
Match Coverage & Live Stream
If you are unable to make it to the action at Gigg Lane this weekend, we’ll have all the live coverage across our media platforms.
Live Stream: For such a momentous occasion with the return to Gigg Lane and considering the capacity restrictions in place for this weekend, the Bradford City game will be made available LIVE and FREE to all, via the website on ‘Bury FC TV’ and via the club YouTube Channel. Click to subscribe and never miss highlights and match reaction across the season.
Audio Commentary: Roch Valley Radio will be providing commentary on both Bury FC TV this weekend, as well as across their audio website platform. Click here ahead of kick-off to listen live. Audio commentary will be provided for every game of the season, so you will never miss a piece of the action.
Social Media: Our team will also bring you in-depth text commentary via the club ‘MatchDay Live‘ Twitter feed, with team news and score-line updates available also on Facebook and feel like you are there with our match galleries and imagery available over on Instagram.
Whatever the weather, wherever you are across the globe, we have you covered. Join the community and make Saturday afternoon’s great again!
We hope you enjoy what is set to be a very special weekend. Up the Shakers!