Bolton Wanderers and Bury - Neighbours - Separated by about five miles of road. Both have their proud traditions:
Bolton has a fine football club, Bury has......FC United of Manchester.
Bolton has Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe, Bury has any number of Cash Generators.
Bolton has Mario's Breakfast Challenge, Westhoughton, Bury has....Greggs.
Lofty the Lion, Robbie the Bobbie.....comparisons are endless.
There is one universal truth however. Bolton Wanderers will always be a superior football club to lil'ol'Bury. I say this as someone who happened to be born in the town, but it's true.
Our first meeting can be traced back to 1895. Naturally, Wanderers won, 1-0, thanks to a Cassidy goal. Since then, we have had regular meetings with our pals at Gigg Lane - to date we have faced them on 75 occasions. What is surprising however, is that the Shakers (snigger) have the slightly better record, with 30 wins to our 28 victories.
This evening's contest is the first meeting of the clubs since 2002 (a match referred by a young Howard Webb), when Bury shocked a crowd of 12,621 when captain and former Liverpool striker Jon Newby fired in a cross which was bundled into his own net by Bernard Mendy under pressure from Colin Woodthorpe.
The Bolton side comprised of names both familiar and unfamiliar, including Kevin Poole, Bernard Mendy, Danny Livesey, Ivan Campo, David Holdsworth, Jeff Smith, Jermaine Johnson, Stig Tofting, Akin Bulent, Jonathan Walters and ex-Spurs striker Chris Armstrong.
Not a bad little feather in the cap of our pals from down the road.
Since then of course, life at both clubs has been wildly different. Bolton Wanderers, under the leadership of inspirational manager Sam Allardyce, saw their stock rise and rise to the point where we became an established top eight Premier League company, with regular excursions abroad in the UEFA Cup.
I have no idea what happened to Bury. Probably lost a game to Stockport or something like that.
I jest of course, but they a tinpot organisation. Bigger than Wigan Athletic though.
Bury are, of course, presently residing in League Two, which is one level above non-league football. They are currently under new ownership in the form of local property nerd Stewart Day who is trying to spend his way out of the division. He is paying former Barnsley manager David Flitcroft a small fortune to dip his toes into League Two, whilst also giving him the biggest transfer and playing budget in the division.
They have re-signed former 'stars' Nicky Adams and a 43 year old Ryan Lowe on mega money, which when you think about it is pretty obscene.
It's going to be an old fashioned slobberknocker of a game tonight at the Reebok and I for one cannot wait to see how many goals we pump them by.
Last Five Meetings
17.08.1993 - Bolton Wanderers 0 v 2 Bury
24.08.1993 - Bury 0 v 2 Bolton Wanderers - (Owen Coyle, John McGinlay) - Wanderers win on pens
28.11.1998 - Bolton Wanderers 4 v 0 Bury - (Michael Johansen 2, Arnar Gunnlaugsson 2)
23.04.1999 - Bury 2 v 1 Bolton Wanderers - (Neil Cox)
02.10.2002 - Bolton Wanderers 0 v 1 Bury