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Bury v Bolton; battle of yesteryear.

The Monday night game (thanks Sky) is Bolton’s first visit to Gigg Lane for a competitive league match in the third tier for pretty much bang on 25 years. So whilst we twiddle or thumbs waiting for our ‘weekend’ match to take place, let’s have a quick look back at what happened last time round.

Phil Parkinson. Bolton manager who played for Bury
Phil Parkinson. Bolton manager who played for Bury

Back on 9th Nov 1991, Bury hosted Bolton for, what was then, a familiar league local derby. Apart from one year, Bolton’s solitary season in Division Four, these two teams had been playing each other regularly in Division Three since 1985. If mention was made then, that these teams wouldn’t play each other again at this level for a quarter of a century, few would’ve believed it.

For Bolton, their resurgence under Phil Neal had run out of steam. Losing the previous season’s playoff final against Tranmere, had hit the squad hard. Despite Neal assembly a strong team containing players such as Dave Felgate, Andy Dibble, Phil Brown,  Mark Seagraves, Mark Winstanley, Mark Came, Barry Cowdrill, Mark Patterson, Tony Kelly, Julian Darby, Scott Green, Stuart Storer, Tony Philliskirk, David Reeves and a certain Andy Walker, he couldn’t quite get them to knit together successfully. Oh, I forgot to mention a couple of up and coming youngsters that you may have heard of, Jason McAteer and Alan Stubbs. For a manager that is unfairly maligned by Bolton fans of that period in my eyes, you can’t deny that Neal had an eye for a good player.

As for Bury, well their world was collapsing. Years of trying to spend their way out of Division Three had come back to haunt them. In early 1991, Bury had to put up their full squad for transfer, hoping that a fire sale could generate enough cash to keep them going, once their owner said enough was enough. Players such as John McGinley, Mark Patterson and David Lee, left for a song and a once formidable team at this level was now a shadow of its former self. They still had some great players in their squad though, from the goalie Gary Kelly, to midfielders Gary Flitcroft and of course Phil Parkinson.

Bolton have an awful record at Gigg Lane, as has been mentioned over the past week. For this game, 5885 fans witnessed both teams came off the pitch with a respectable 1-1 draw. Bolton’s goal was scored by striker Mickey Brown (nope, me neither) who went on to become a legend for Shrewsbury Town...

I’d love to tell you more about the game but can’t for two reasons. One was that I wasn’t in attendance thanks to the RAF posting me overseas and secondly, sweet fuck all came back from a Google search for the match report. 25 years ago is a long time for Intelweb records on a bygone run of the mill football match it seems.

Bolton went on to finish the season in a miserly 13thplace, beating Bury 2-1 at Burnden Park along the way, thanks to a brace from Andy Walker. Perhaps the most important event of this season though was Bruce Rioch taking over the reins from Phil Neal in May 1992. The White Hot glory days were about to start.

Bury finished the season occupying the final relegation place and had the joy of playing in the bottom professional league to look forward to.

As for tonight's game, I'm going for another 1-1 draw but it's safe to say that we're well overdue for a win. COYWM.