First Visit: Bury 0-Rochdale 4 (19/01/2017)
Latest Visit: Bury 5-Oxford United 2 (22/01/2019)
Action from Bury v Portsmouth in February 2019, taken from the Main Stand and looking out towards the southeast corner (left) and the South Stand (centre).
I’ve included this page for Gigg Lane as part of the 92 for the remainder of the 2019-20 season in tribute to its tenants, and the horrible recent events that have happened to them.
Built way back in 1885, it has been the home of Bury Football Club since its opening, and is also one of the oldest professional football stadiums in England.
Swinton Rugby League Club used the ground between 1992 and 2002, whilst FC United of Manchester also called the stadium home between 2005 and 2014, before moving into their own home Broadhurst Park ahead of the 2015-16 season. Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers have also used Gigg Lane for reserve team matches in the past.
On 27th August 2019, just a matter of months after gaining promotion from the English Fourth Tier to the English Third Tier, Bury Football Club were expelled from the Football League after being unable to begin their 2019-20 season. This was as a result of longstanding financial issues.
Bury currently still call Gigg Lane their home but have no League membership at the time of writing, after surviving a HM Revenue and Customs winding-up petition in December 2019. You can still visit the ground and check out its exterior, but you are not able to get inside.
Location and Getting There
Gigg Lane is located in northern Greater Manchester, around 1 mile south of Bury Town Centre. Redvales Playing Fields are due west of the ground, Bury Cemetery is to the southeast, and heading due east eventually brings you to the River Roch.
The stadium is on the edge of a residential estate and finding free parking on matchdays is certainly possible in the network of tight streets nearby. Gigg Lane does have a few parking spaces outside its North Stand, and given the stadium is currently not in use, you should be able to come and park here if you want to take a look at the ground.
Coming by rail is more difficult. Bury does not have a train station and is instead accessible via Manchester’s Metro service as the final station on both the Green and Yellow Lines. To get from the Metro Stop to the stadium can take around 20 minutes on foot, or you can head to the nearby Bury Interchange and take the 135 or 524 services, getting off at the Radcliffe Road stop and walking the final part over to the stadium.
Outside the Stadium
You can walk along the exterior of just one stand, that being the Main Stand on the north side of the ground. All the other stands are surrounded by trees and housing, and you would get to them on a matchday by entering the turnstiles at either end of the Main Stand and making your way round Gigg Lane’s interior to your exact seat.
The outside of the Main Stand is very basic in design, with blue corrugated iron in the upper parts and brickwork at the bottom. Once you head through any of the detached turnstiles you have to walk up a staircase that leads to the inner concourse.
There is a large car park out beyond the Main Stand’s exterior, and Bury’s club shop is out beyond this on the edge of Gigg Lane road. Bury FC Sports and Social Club can also be found alongside the main road.
Supporters have stuck a poster on the entrance to the Social Club that calls out chairman Steve Dale as the man who killed this proud football club.
Inside the Stadium
The Main Stand is made up of a single tier of blue seating with the letters BURY FC spelt out in white across the blocks. The Legends and 1885 Suites can be found right down the front in a rather dull looking white building.
The club’s changing rooms are located in this stand whilst the tunnel and dugouts are off to one side of the suites.
Blue pillars come down from the roof at regular intervals along the front of the seating area, and this guarantees that your view will be restricted to some degree no matter where you are sat in the stand.
The East Stand is known as the Cemetery End. It is a single tier of blue seating with the letters BFC spelt out in white across the three main blocks. The Cemetery End is directly connected to the adjacent South Stand by the southeast corner, which also has blocks of blue seating inside of it. There are no pillars coming down from the roof, ensuring a clear view of the action from any seat, but it is worth noting that there is no windshield over by the open northeast corner. The wind and the rain will come in from the side as a result.
There is an electronic scoreboard up behind the back row in the southeast corner, which also has no pillars coming down from it.
The South Stand has a roof which is the same height as the adjacent Cemetery End and is also single-tiered, with the letters SHAKERS spelt out in white across the blocks of blue. The back row of this stand however goes slightly further back than the Cemetery End. There is a row of disabled seating right down the very front of the South Stand, and about a third of the way up are pillars which run regularly across. Your view may be restricted somewhat if you are sat towards the back of the stand. Over by the southwest corner is a small windshield that protects the back row seats but leaves those down the front open from the side.
The West Stand is known as the Manchester Road End. It is again single-tiered and made up of mostly blue seating but the letters BURY are spelt out in white across the blocks. Pillars run down towards the front of the stand and so most of the seats in the Manchester Road End will have some form of a restricted view. There is a full windshield over by the northwest corner, but the side next to the southwest corner is more exposed.
There is also an electronic scoreboard which hangs down from the roof and can be seen by every fan except for those inside the Manchester Road End itself.
The location of away fans at Gigg Lane varies heavily based on the expected attendance. Larger general attendances have seen away fans given the entirety of the Manchester Road End on the west side of the ground. When home crowds are small but away crowds still fairly large, travelling supporters have been put in the Cemetery End on the east side of the ground. When the general attendance is low from both a home and away perspective, only the Main Stand is open with away fans given a handful of blocks over by the northeast corner. I’ve been to Gigg Lane for a Greater Manchester Derby where every side of the ground was in use, and then other games where only the stadium’s Main Stand was open for fans. It has usually depended on the occasion and the opposition that Bury played.
Bury may have lost their long-standing status as a Football League side, but Gigg Lane still remains a place football supporters can come and see.
Admittedly, it is not the best-looking ground. It’s exterior is very tired in places and the views aren’t great from three out of the four stands, but Gigg Lane has been a part of the English football family for well over a century and it is sad to see such a historic place out of use.
Let’s hope that Bury’s main football stadium can have a club calling this place home again some time soon.