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Interview with Bury FC Chairman Stewart Day

The “Bury Revolution” is underway, so we arranged a chat with the man responsible for keeping the club afloat when things looked pretty bleak only a couple of months ago…

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Firstly, you must be one of the Football League’s youngest Chairman? Could you tell our readers briefly about yourself and how you’ve achieved so much at an early age?
I think I am the youngest now. Darragh MacAnthony was 29 when he took over at Peterborough but he’s older than me now! I think age is only a number and you can achieve anything you want to and be as successful as you want. Thankfully I’ve been successful in certain businesses which enabled me to come here, I was passionate about football so I wanted to come in and really make a difference.

What made you want to buy into a football club & why Bury FC?
(A question from one of our junior supporters, Jack Stembridge, 11) Couple of reasons, I wanted to buy into a football club because I’m hugely passionate about football and I wanted to make a difference.

I’m fed up of supporters getting ripped off with the cost of the football being so expensive! Football brings families together and I have great memories of going with my dad and my brother every Saturday to watch a football game. When I got the opportunity to do something with Bury it fitted within the requirements of what I always wanted where I could put my stamp of authority on it. When I met the people behind the scenes and the great staff here it got me more and more enthusiastic and it’s something I just thought was right and it ticked all the boxes I didn’t want to give the opportunity away. It’s a great club with a great tradition and what I couldn’t do is afford to let this club go out of business.

Having brought in over 20 new players, can you remember all their names yet!!?
Yes! Some of them have been called ‘Oi’ but it’s been interesting! I think we’ve done the most transfers this season than any

other club, bringing in 24 players! I know what the manager sounds like when he’s snoring at night because we’ve both been in here working till all hours but it’s what we needed to do. When we took the club over we only had 7 contracted players and 2 of them were long term injuries. We put a plan together with the manager of recruiting the right players, whenever we signed a player I always interviewed them because I wanted to find out what their reason was to play for Bury Football Club because I want them to be passionate about wearing the shirt, and know why they actually sign for us and where they want to go in their career. We also tried to bring competition for places and I think the squad that we’ve put together now is going to be extremely competitive for this season.

Of the new signings, is there one to watch? And any the fans are really excited about?
I think the fans are really excited about Jessy Rindorf (Martin in background ‘oh yes!’). We’ve got a scout over in Belgium who had said the player was becoming available. We believe Man United had also watched him a few times, so we brought him over on a trial and he was as raw as they come. He is a big strong lad and he’s so quick. The fans heard we’d signed Jessy just before the Norwich cup game and there was a real buzz even though they’d never seen him play before. We went down to Norwich and the manager brought him on for 15 minutes and he scored this wonder goal. He’s done really well and then he played against Cheltenham and came off the bench and scored again, but then he came on against Rochdale and he didn’t do as well as we were hoping. That’s where we’ve got to take our time with him but if he develops as he is doing at this moment in time then he could be a great player for Bury – so fingers crossed for him.

A couple of months ago in May, Bury were facing a winding up order and in a short space of time the club appears to have regained a buzz around the place. This must be really pleasing for you?
Yeah massively! I went down to the Norwich game and my dad came with us and he just said its fantastic to know you’ve got 1000 supporters going down to Norwich on a Tuesday night who believe in what you’re doing. Another pleasing thing that happened was when we played Burton Albion, the away fans started singing, “There’s only one Stewart Day”, which was fantastic to see supporters getting that buzz around the place knowing that something special is starting here at Bury and my job is to make it successful.

You’ve reduced ticket prices and I believe you laid on Free coaches to the recent cup game away at Norwich? How have the fans reacted to you and the new board?
The fans have been absolutely superb they’re coming back in the numbers we’d like. We want to get the attendances up here that’s one of my goals. The fans just keep coming up and saying thank you, and they can see where our aspirations are to take this club and to how we want to be successful but we also have to keep those expectations realistic. It’s great to see supporters coming into the club buying tickets and what we really need now is to bring other people to the games and encourage their friends or family to come down to Gigg Lane to support Bury.

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After the Norwich game, I believe you told the famous Delia Smith that you’d see her again in a few years in a league match! Do you believe Bury could ever go all the way to the Premiership?
Well you can never say never if you look at Norwich, they were league 2 and look at how they’ve progressed. It would take a lot of hard work to get us into the Premiership but what I believe we can certainly look at achieving is getting us into the championship and I set myself that target. Obviously it’s down to the results on the pitch I think we can eventually get to the Championship and then obviously you never know from there, you just get that little bit of luck and who knows what could happen?

What would be a realistic target for Bury FC this season and going forward, how far ULTIMATELY and realistically should our “small town” club aim?
I think the problem is thinking that this is just a small town Club, we need to be thinking that if its good enough for Manchester United its good enough for Bury Football Club and that’s the mentality I’m trying to bring in here. I want supporters to be proud of Bury and the players have got to be proud to wear the shirt so that “small town club” mentality is eradicated. We’ve tried to make sure that the club is run as professionally as a championship club off the pitch and the manager who’s been at championship clubs has said we are now run as good if not better than most championship clubs. We travel in a top of the range coach for the players they always stay in the top of the range hotels when we’re travelling away because I want them to feel that they are at a big club. With a squad of players that we’ve got here there’s no reason why we can’t be in the top 7 by the end of the year and hopefully either a day out at Wembley and get promotion or even better in that top 3!
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You’ve already done quite a lot for the existing Bury fans. In terms of numbers, Bury haven’t in recent years enjoyed the highest attendances for home games in the League. Is there anything else that can be done to attract more local residents (especially youngsters) to support Bury FC as opposed to supporting the bigger premiership clubs?
I want to try and attract the next generation of supporters to come down here and I think the population in the borough of Bury is about 180,000 people, so if we can get 10% of that number coming here then were going to have a decent crowd. I’ve got plans to re develop the stadium and get us to better capacity but I’m only going to do that once I know we’ve got the right sort of attendances coming through. It’s our job as a club to get out to the schools, the local parks and promote Bury Football Club. What I don’t want to happen is Man United and Man City taking supporters from Bury. We want local schools supporting Bury Football Club and we want the kids wearing Bury FC shirts. We’re going to present talks in schools about Bury FC and its history and get the players out working with the community.
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We’ve got to do a lot of hard work as a club to promote ourselves and encourage people to come and support us and certainly the younger generation is what we need to have as our future fans.

We’ve had a few messages from Bury fans who are really excited about the “Revolution” currently taking place and would like to say thank you for what you and all your backroom team have achieved so far! Is there a message you’d like to give to the loyal Bury fans?
Yes I’d like to say thank you to them because without their supportand backing this wouldn’t have been as an easy transition as it has been but their support has been superb and from the first game against Chesterfield when I went out on the pitch I got a standing ovation from the supporters to the game at Burton where they started singing my name. They’ve been tremendous and this is only the start of the revolution in terms of where we want it to go. We’ve now been here for just over 3 and a half months there’s a lot more that we want to do. I want people to be proud to say “This is Bury Football Club”.

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2 Comments
  1. Would just like to say a big Thankyou to stewart day!! My 15 year old son who is a man utd fan got up this morning at 06.00 am to go to carington training ground hoping to get some autographs which I’ve got to say was not very successful although few players did stop not many did….hence one disappointed lad!!! The lads then travelled to burys training ground, stewart day the chairman was lovely chatting and inviting the lads to a match.. Even bringing the lads a drink out!!!! So elbow not the only good thing to come from bury…. Good on ya stewart day!!!!!

  2. Great article and interesting read by our chairman Mr Stewart Day.
    I think some if not all of these players at Bury fc are too much in the comfort zone which explains why our performances have been so poor away from Gigg lane this season.

    Laying on nice accomodation for the players in away games is a nice gesture but are these players paying back the kindness showed by our chairman?.

    Some of the player acquisitions have not been up to standard during a hectic summer recruitment drive and questions need to be asked are the right personnel being brought in to the club and what are these players motivations for being at our club?.

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