by | Mar 18, 2024

Manchester Optical

The game has again been postponed due to the pitch at Gigg Lane being unplayable following overnight rain. A new date will be announced in due course.

Checks the forecast – it’s dry. Checks the temperature – warm enough. Surely there can not be anything that will get in the way of our third attempt to make the six mile journey down the M66 to Gigg Lane for the fixture that has been pencilled in to the diaries since June last year – even though the local stationers has run out of erasers!

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Bury v Ramsbottom United
VENUE: Gigg Lane, Bury, BL9 9HR
COMPETITION: North West Counties League Premier Division
DATE: Tuesday 19th March 2024
KICK-OFF: 7:45pm

Tickets can be purchased in advance (see below). Or the admission charges on the gate are Adults – £10, 16-18 year olds – £5, Under 16s – £3 (expect children under 12 to be accompanied by an adult), Under 5s – FREE.

You can pre-purchase a ticket from the Bury FC website at

Around the stadium there is street parking available. Please check road signs as some of the streets are residents only and need a permit. Ground parking is for players, officials and committee only. Further information is available here

Bury FC have requested that supporters enter the ground via the Cemetary End (East Stand) even if they have tickets for the South Stand.

Commentary of the game will be available via Roch Valley Radio and the game will also be streamed live – details will appear on Bury FC’s website on the day of the game.

It’s The Shakers v The Rams. The ‘Black Pudding’ Derby – Bury makes them, Rammy lobs ’em! The M66 Derby! The East Lancashire Railway Derby – although no trains will be running ahead of the game, of course! Call it what you will but it is a game that many, you would think, have been looking forward to for a long time.

For even mentioning Bury and Ramsbottom United playing each other at the same level is almost surreal in itself. Bury, the town’s team who, when they were a football league club, used to pop up and play us in a pre-season friendly, now taking us on, via the reformed club after the events of 2019 and the formation of the phoenix AFC, in the North West Counties League. And the Rammy faithful make their way to Gigg Lane for the first time since Boxing Day 2006 when the hosts were FC United of Manchester who were sharing the ground with the then League Two club.

Some 18 years later, we make the short hop down the road once more to face a faltering Bury side. The Rams have 11 games to play and two of them are against this Bury team. And, given the results of late for both teams, they are becoming as vital as each other.

In just one month and one day’s time, the East Lancashire Railway will be full of supporters making the short trip up the valley on the steam train (or catching the bus or just driving, who knows!) – whether that will be for the title for the visitors is still certainly to be decided. All that the home supporters hope is that there is no fear of anything sliding the other way.

Saturday was … well, it was a mindblower! Comfortably 3-0 up at the break at Burscough, the Rams managed to contrive a 3-3 draw with a second half sending off, a sin-binning and another goalkeeper being forced off through injury, forcing the unfortunate Kayle Power into the net once more.

It did break a run of four defeats in a row but Steve Wilkes’ charges have collected only eight points in the last 13 games and sit in 18th place, tentatively peering over their shoulder.

But it hasn’t been plain sailing for Bury of late either and they have been knocked off the top of the table and down into third, having been overtaken by the Wythenshawe duo. Back-to-back defeats at Irlam and at home to Barnoldswick Town and a 2-2 draw in front of empty stands against Charnock Richard on Saturday have seen them slip and they have six games left to play … with all to play for.

Two sides low of confidence. Two sides with plenty still to play for. And a ground reopened after a couple of games behind closed doors. It will surely make for a great atmosphere but both sides in dire need of a pick-me-up, a boost for very different reasons!

The first ever league fixture between the Rams and the Shakers. The second meeting between the Rams and this incarnation of Bury FC.

Tony Cunningham’s match report from the league cup game is here to remind you of what happened when nearly 1,700 packed into the HWRS in November.


It is certainly not the Rams first trip down the valley to Gigg Lane … we did it in our first ever season in the Bury Amateur League Parks Cup Final agaisnt Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School Old Boys in 1967.

Have a read of the report from that evening.


“The game every fan would have looked at when the fixtures came out has finally arrived.

“We obviously go into the game on a poor run of form but the players won’t need any motivation for this one.

“Saturday saw us produce our best 45 minutes this season and if we can take that into the game then we’ll give ourselves a good chance of getting something from it”