BURY FC 5, GLOSSOP NORTH END 1
Former Premier League star Andy Welsh described it as one of the proudest moments of his career after managing part-timers Bury FC on their long-awaited return to Gigg Lane.
Four years and 1,545 often long and painful days after the Shakers were expelled from the EFL for financial mismanagement they were back at the ground, home since 1885, which makes it one of the oldest grounds in professional football.
It was the moment many Bury FC fans feared may never happen when the club was heading for oblivion back in 2019.
Welsh, once a star with Sunderland, took charge as Bury FC kicked off their season in North Werst Counties League, Premier Division, tier nine of the pyramid, with a 5-1 win against Glossop North End.
“I won the Championship with Sunderland and played in the Premier League and MLS, but this was up there alongside the big moments in my career,” said Welsh.
Welsh has been at the club since its rebirth when supporters formed Bury AFC which played at neighbours Radcliffe FC, but the dream was an eventual return to their spiritual home which came a reality when they merged with the group which had bought Gigg Lane.
Almost 5,500 fans turned up – nearly double the average for their last 20 years as a EFL club – and such were the queues that kick off was delayed for 15 minutes.
It was a day of huge celebrations as Bury FC, who banked an estimated £50,000 gate receipts, thumped a Glossop side they met in the top division of English football in 1899/1900 season when they were both among football’s elite.
Bury FC, with dreams of again becoming a full-time professional club in the future, took control with two goals in the opening 11 minutes from summer signing Benito Lowe.
Striker Lowe, captured from Wythenshawe Town, almost lifted the roof of Gigg Lane when he opened the scoring with a clinical finish after being put clean through on goal before adding the second from the penalty spot.
Bury made it 3-0 inside half an hour when Andrew Briggs, top scorer at Steeton for each of the last three seasons, swept home Jack Tinning’s corner at the far post.
Left-back Jordi Nsala scored the fourth, the goal of the game with an unstoppable drive from 30 yards following a barnstorming run from deep.
Substitute Bevan Burey scored a consolation for Glossop, a club once bankrolled by Sir Samuel Hill-Wood who later began Arsenal chairman, before Bury added a fifth in the dying minutes from Jack Lenahan.