Chairman speaks to Bury Times calling for support
BURY chairman Brian Fenton has appealed to fans not to turn their back on the club in its hour of need.
Less than 1,400 supporters – the lowest home league gate since 1984 – saw Bury beat Stevenage 2-0 at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night, while fewer than 2,000 home fans attended the crunch relegation clash with Colchester at the weekend.
The poor attendances are part of a downward trend that has seen average gates fall by more than 1,000 from last season, compounding the club’s already precarious financial situation.
The supporters who did turn up on Saturday vented their anger at Kevin Blackwell, calling for the manager to be sacked after the 2-1 defeat left Bury rock bottom of League One.
Even though Tuesday’s win saw Bury jump two places in the table, Fenton says fans forums and message boards remain awash with calls for a revolt.
And he has urged Shakers’ followers not to let their frustrations damage the long-term future of the club.
“I have heard talk of a boycott of matches, or calls for people not to renew their season tickets,” said Fenton.
“And I just want to urge fans not to go down that road.
“The board have set a budget for up to the end of March and I can tell you that we are way short of where we need to be.
“Season ticket sales are so far down that we are facing a major problem. It is a very serious situation.”
Bury have already had to go to the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) for two loans this season to help cover players’ wages, which has left the club struggling under a transfer embargo.
As a result, Blackwell, who replaced caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff as Shakers boss at the end of September, has found it difficult to assemble and maintain a competitive squad.
And difficulties on the pitch have created a vicious cycle off it.
“I am sure that if Kevin had been here at the start of the season and had his own budget to spend things would have been different,” said Fenton.
“But this is not about me trying to protect Kevin – this is about the future of this club.
“In the past, Bury fans have rallied around this club in times of difficulty and that is what I am asking them to do again.
“They have every right to vent their frustrations at me, the board, the manager and the players – that’s totally understandable.
“But I am asking them not to vote with their feet as that could very well put the future of their club in jeopardy.
“And while the board are actively seeking new investment, we’d like fans to continue to support the club in as many ways as they can, through season tickets, bonds and coming to the four remaining home games.”
Bury travel to Bournemouth on Saturday before a home match with Crewe on Good Friday (Mar 29). They also entertain Oldham (Apr 13), Scunthorpe (Apr 16) and Yeovil (Apr 27) before the end of the season.