In late August, fans of Bury Football Club learnt they may not have a club to support anymore – and the feeling is still raw.
Nevertheless, it’s now more than six months since the club’s expulsion from the English Football League due to financial problems.
And now efforts are being made to get a new fan owned club up and running.
With a gaping hole in their lives, locals have been given hope of filling such a void with news that fan owned phoenix club “Bury A.F.C” have applied for a place in the North West Counties League.
This may be the 11th step of the English footballing pyramid, however, fundraising co-ordinator Jon Wiggans is doing all he can to help raise funds ahead of the new season.
Wiggans said: “We have a target of £100,000, and we are at £40,000 at this moment in time.”
The 36-year-old was speaking at the Rose and Crown – one of many pubs local to Bury FC losing vital revenue.
The community spirit is evident nonetheless, as events have been held at a number of pubs close to Gigg Lane Stadium on Saturday’s throughout the season.
“We’ve had some get togethers, but we’ve also had some proper fundraising events, a few weeks ago we had an evening with an ex-player which 130 people turned up to.” Wiggans added.
It’s not only community spirit keeping the hopes of a new club in Bury alive, as fans of Rotherham United have been on hand to raise over £500.
Supporters buses from Yorkshire descended into Bury last Saturday to help local businesses and collections, before the Millers’ away game at Accrington Stanley.
“It was quite heartwarming to see Rotherham fans come last week because it shows that, even though the footballing organisations might have forgotten about Bury, it’s good to see the footballing family and other fans haven’t,” said Wiggans.
Jon’s love for Bury started 31 years ago when his dad first took him to a game, and it’s the family feel not the footballing love affair that’s held dearest to some.
“My dad took me, his dad took him and it’s the memories that you make with your family.
“The football’s a big part of it, but it’s that connection with your friends and family that means the most.”
It’s been a love-hate relationship with football of late for supporters, and the football has certainly been key in the 26-year marriage of Ian and Katrina Astley.
Ian – who has followed Bury nationwide and internationally – would’nt let his wedding day get in the way of a January home match against Doncaster on the 15 January 1994.
Ian said: “We married in the morning at Radcliffe Borough where we live.
“So we go to the game in our full wedding gear and Bury won 4-0.”
Bury FC recently defaulted on plans to pay back creditors. They were kicked out of the Football League after takeover attempts failed.
As fans look to rekindle their romance with football, the question now is if there will be a fairy tale ending for Bury FC after all?
You can donate towards Bury AFC here.