Back in 1885 the idea of forming aprofessional football club in Burystarted to gain momentum amongstthe local populace so a public meetingwas arranged at the Waggon andHorses public house on WalmersleyRoad to measure the interest and,hopefully, start the ball rolling.
Bury Football Club was eventually founded on24th April 1885 at the White Horse Hotel. Acommittee was elected and the club very soonbecame sub-tenants of a field on Gigg Lane.They used the nearby Pack Horse Hotel aschanging rooms. The same field has remainedthe clubs home ever since.
He was appointed to lead a Colonel John Hall was Bury twelve man committee along Football Club’s first ever with Mr Barrett, who acted as president treasurer, and Mr Turner, who acted as secretary.A bluff Lancastrian army man One of the committee’s first actsColonel John Hall was appointed was to enter into negotiations forto lead a twelve man committee the use of a field on Thomasalong with Mr Barrett, who acted Barlow’s Bank field farm on Giggas treasurer, and Mr Turner, who Lane, the land itself being ownedacted as secretary. by the Earl of Derby. Rent was set at £25 per year and the committee had a home for their new team.
Following recruitment of mainly The construction of the first standlocal players the club played its on the south side of the groundfirst friendly match drawing a was overseen by the committeegoalless encounter with Little at a cost of just over £50 in 1887.Lever on 5th September 1885. Despite having to manageThe same day the reserves played worrying debts of £100 in theLittle Lever reserves in the first initial seasons the club would gomatch at their Gigg Lane home. on to be one of the founder members, and early winners, of the Lancashire league. Bury Football Club were on their way.
Signed from local club Bury Unitarians,Ross played as a defender and left half forthe Shakers for twenty years clocking up366 league appearances.A highly respected and honest playerRoss played a significant role inhelping Bury move from obscurityinto one of the most successful clubsin the country.His honesty being tested on one occasionwhen he gave up his position in the side toreplace a missing linesman - the Shakers stilllost! By the time he played his last match forthe club against Sunderland in 1905 he hadwon 17 medals including a division twochampionship medal, and two FA Cup medals.
Had the Scottish selectorsconsidered players playing inEngland he would undoubtedlyhave been capped by his country.George sadly died in Rochdale inApril 1928 after a short illness.
The 1894/95 season was a memorable one as the Shakers took tothe league with a relish, beating Manchester City 4 – 2 in the firstever league match at Gigg Lane. They went on to win all 15 homegames and 8 away games to win the league by a massive 9 points.With no automatic promotion in those days Bury had to play a testmatch against the team that had finished bottom of League 1,Liverpool. This was played on April 27th 1895 at Blackburn Roversground with Bury winning 1 – 0 in front of 8,000 fans.
Playing against the ‘Big Guns’ theShakers managed to finish acreditable 11th in their firstseason in League 1, with over10,000 packing into Gigg Lane tosee a thrilling 5 – 3 win overAston Villa. They also won theManchester Senior Cup beatingManchester City in the final 2 – 1.In 1896/97 they yet again wonthe Manchester Senior Cup andfinished 9th in the leaguecompleting the double over bothEverton and Blackburn Rovers
After joining the Shakers fromHeaton Norris in Stockport in1894 Jack Plant played 12 seasonsfor Bury and contributed to someof the finest moments in theclub’s history.His consistency and form for theShakers also earned him aninternational call –up for England Before retiring in 1906 Jackagainst Scotland in Glasgow in clocked up 319 League and 31April 1900. Jack was a member of FA Cup appearances nettingthe victorious FA Cup final teams 66 goals in the process.of 1900 against Southampton and1903 against Derby scoring inboth matches.
Already a member of thecommittee that was controllingBury Football Club in the 1890s,Albert Duckworth took up thepositions of Chairman and TeamManager for the 1892/3 season.Thus began more than a decadein various managerial roles withBury Football Club and almost 30years on the Board of Directors. Under Albert’s leadership Bury During this time the amateur were elected to the Football reserves were replaced by league in 1894 along with newly professionals and first team formed Manchester City who players started to be employed became the Shakers first Football on the condition that they would League opponents in front of over be required to play in both first 4970 paying customers. and reserve team matches.
He took on the Chairman’s roleagain in 1895 and was a Board Duckworth’s work alongsidemember when the club became a Alfred Wardle and Fred Bradley,limited company two years later. therefore, involved Bury’s two FA Cup victories including the recordHis suggestion to dispense with 6-0 win over Derby County inthe team selection committee 1903. As one of the three men inand replace it with a team charge of team affairs, he holds amanaging committee was taken rightful place as one of theup and proved to be a successful masterminds of the largestarrangement, which continued winning margin in a cup final.until 1907 when the club’s firstmanager was appointed.
Herbert Duckworth was alwaysgoing to be involved with BuryFootball Club.His father, Albert, had beenchairman of the club and one ofthe three-man team managingcommittee, which selected theside for both of Bury’s FA Cupfinal victories.When his father died inSeptember 1918, negotiationsbegan to co-opt HerbertDuckworth to the board ofdirectors. His appointment inJanuary 1919 began a 35-yearassociation with the club.
He was appointed chairman in It was also under Herbert1923, which coincided with the Duckworth’s chairmanship thatclub becoming owners of Gigg Bury finished in their highest everLane after 37 years tenancy. league position of 4th in the topAlong with his fellow Directors flight in 1926.Duckworth took the decision tomodernise the ground allowing33,523 supporters to watch thematch against Manchester City ina ground “built for comfort and…one of the finest in thecountry.”
The outbreak of the First World Gunner Teddy Bullen hadWar split opinions on whether already enlisted in theprofessional football should army and, sadly, becamecontinue to be played. The the first Bury player to bedecision initially came down in killed in action on 11thfavour of fulfilling the fixtures but August 1917 whilst servingChairman John Hall had already his country on themade his decision and resumed battlefields of France.his military service. Teddy had joined the clubThe league was finally suspended in 1906 and made justin July 1915 and clubs were left to over 200 appearances fordecide how best to carry on. the Shakers.Some professional footballers enlistedvoluntarily whilst others were called upto serve following the introduction ofcompulsory military service in 1916.
In only 3 seasons with the ShakersJamie Settle was to become Bury’s firstinternational player and set anunfortunate pattern for future risingstars.Signed jointly from Bolton and HalliwellRovers in January 1897, Jamie Settlewas a livewire inside forward whomade an immediate scoring impactthat helped keep Bury in the top flightof English football.Despite missing much of the openingmonths of the following 1897/98season through injury Settle finishedtop scorer in a relegation threatenedseason which also saw the first signsof heavy financial worries.
Jamie’s eye-catching form in thefollowing season was rewarded Despite relative on field successwith a call up to the England falling crowds put substantialteam to play Ireland and he financial pressure on the boardnetted a hat trick in the 13-2 and reluctantly they were forcedvictory. Two more international to offer their star for transfer.games against Scotland (scoring Within days Jamie was snappedagain) and Wales were to follow up for £400 and moved tobefore the season ended with a Evertoncomfortable mid table finish forthe Shakers.
Thanks to the generosity of LordDerby and “a gentleman whowished to remain anonymous”the club acquired the ownershipof the Gigg Lane ground inFebruary 1922.After 37 years as tenants the clubhad secured -at no cost to theclub- Gigg Lane for the future.Herbert Duckworth announcedthe arrangement and it’s only inrecent times that the identity ofthe mystery man came to light,when it was learned that it wasnone other than his close friendJohn Brandwood.
John Brandwood was a very As many of his workers were keensuccessful businessman who Bury fans he wanted to doowned the Elton Cop Dye Works something for the club. Afteron Walshaw Road. During his discussing things with thelifetime he had developed many Chairman, Herbert Duckworth, henew techniques in the dying entered into negotiation withindustry. As he neared retirement Lord Derby and secured thehe was keen to put some of his ownership of Gigg Lane forwealth back into the community £25,000, a considerable sum inand many anonymous donations the early 20’s. He then had thewere made to good causes. deeds transferred into the club’s name.
Signed for £2250 from Oldham The blades donated the whole ofAthletic as a replacement for the takings from the rearrangedinjured right back Fred Heap in match to his widow, and withDecember 1926. Sam was to play Bury also setting up a trust fund,only 18 games for Bury before around £1,400 was raised for histragedy struck in the match at dependents.Sheffield United on 30th April1927.After placing the ball for a freekick he collapsed and wasstretchered to the changing roomwhere he was found to have diedprobably after suffering acerebral haemorrhage. The gamewas, understandably, abandoned.
Norman joined Bury in the A prolific scorer Norman’s record1920/1 season as a promising earned him an England capforward from the local against Belgium at Highbury onManchester league. A series of 19th March 1920 where he againInjuries to key players brought scored on his debut.about his first appearance on23rd October against Nottingham The 1925/6 season saw NormanForest and he duly netted twice awarded his second England capand ended the season as top against Wales at Selhurst Parkscorer. He was rewarded with a and also net 31 league goals£5 a week contract and £1 beating the previous best in aappearance bonus to supplement season and setting a record thathis off pitch employment. was to stand for 56 years.
Norman’s final England cap camein the match against Ireland atLiverpool in the 1926/7 season.The versatile Bullock played outhis last few seasons as a centraldefender clocking up 505appearances before retiring andtaking over as team manager in1935.
Les Hart can simply be called‘Mr Bury Football Club.’Born in Ashton-in-Makerfield The records show a playingon 28th February 1917, he career spanning 16 years, insigned for Bury as a player in which Hart made 2911938 and would make his appearances in the leaguedebut against Tottenham and cup, scoring two goalsHotspur in a Division Two from his right back position.fixture that year. It was the But for the Second Worldstart of a remarkable journey War, these figures wouldwith the club. almost certainly have been much, much more as starts in the War League numbered more than 200.
On retirement in 1954, Hart putthe coaching and physiotherapyqualifications gained at Lilleshallto good use as he acted as firstteam coach and trainer at GiggLane.In 1970 he was asked to becomemanager and it was in thisposition that he oversaw Bury’srecord league victory as theyflattened Tranmere Rovers 8-0. The South Stand was renamed After reverting to the role of the Les Hart Stand in January physiotherapist in 1971, Hart 2010 in his honour.retired in 1980, bringing thecurtain down on a 44-yearassociation with the club.
Bob joined the Shakers record-breaking promotion team as acentral defender and captain inFebruary 1961 and was animmediate hit as the team wenton to win the third divisionchampionship, scoring 108 goalsand creating a new record forunbeaten games in the process.The following season saw himappointed Player /Manager –andin the process becoming, at thattime, Bury’s youngest everManager. He also led the Shakersto the semi-finals of the LeagueCup in 1963.
Bob became the full timeManager for one season beforemoving on to manage Charlton,Blackpool, and Sunderlandamongst others.Stokoe returned as Manager inNovember 1977 and helped turnaround a slump in form andcontinue a League Cup run thatsaw the last 20,000 plus crowd atGigg Lane for the visit of BrianClough’s Nottingham Forest. InMay 1979 Bob moved again totake the manager’s position atBlackpool.
Continuing in the club’s military tradition from its first president, Colonel John Hall was Major George Horridge.The son of a major shareholder, he wasrenowned as a terrific all-roundsportsman but one who would only evercompete strictly as an amateur to thepoint where he even refused expensesfor his two appearances for the Shakersin 1919.He would go on to be a successfulbusinessman who joined the board ofdirectors in 1930 and subsequentlybecame chairman of the club for fourseparate spells in 1937 to 1938, 1943 to1955, 1958 to 1964 and 1969 to 1971.
Major Horridge’s final season aschairman ended in relegation toDivision Four. He tendered hisresignation on the morning of thefinal game which Bury needed towin – but didn’t - and, as PeterCullen writes in Bury FC – theOfficial History: “For a man whowas able to recall the FA Cup winsand the days when the club was abread and butter First Divisionclub, it was indeed a very sadday.”The Major passed away in 1987aged 93.
• Factual research by Brian Little• Presentation and image research by Matthew Ferns• Image research and memorial board by Dave Giffard