The Insider: Plenty wrong at Bury for Pompey to exploit

Bury have been relegated from League One using three different bosses in a season '“ and surely it can't all be their fault.

Saturday, 28th April 2018, 12:00 pm
Bradford player Alex Gilleard, left, is challenged by Greg Leigh. Picture by Simon Hulme

Maybe you could pin it on one person, but when three have been involved then you’d think someone would have pulled their finger out.

Clearly it is not as simple as that.

Chairman Stewart Day and his board wanted promotion, they were ambitious and brought in plenty of players regarded as being capable of achieving that.

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I don’t believe many fans expected promotion, certainly there have been false dawns before. They would have been happy to remain where they have been for a few years.

Yet the board have gone with it – and it has not quite worked out.

Along the way there have been a few winding-up petitions, with one there at present. The chairman dismisses those and talks of how other clubs go through such periods.

But it has happened too often.

Lee Clark was the first manager and brought in a good calibre of player, but probably recruited too many at once for them to gel.

It was too easy for him to keep making changes when perhaps he should have selected the strongest team and then stuck with it.

Chris Lucketti was next and needed to see what the players could do, so also made changes – and it didn’t work for him.

Ryan Lowe then took over in January and it did pick up for a few weeks.

Of course, all managers have been hampered by injury to Jermaine Beckford, the big summer signing who remains eight-goal top scorer despite not playing since October.

Chris Maguire also arrived in the summer, but I don’t think he has started more than three games running.

He has often been employed as an impact player from the bench, but has never really been given a chance.

Meanwhile, Michael Smith arrived from Portsmouth and he was absolutely shocking – but look at him now at Rotherham!

Bury relied on him too much, going very direct and expecting him to knock it down to the midfielder operating behind. He was a player totally out of confidence.

Far and away the player of the season has been Greg Leigh. He could have been given that in October and has been the best of a bad bunch.

Another to catch the eye is George Miller, who joined Middlesbrough in the summer from Bury before loaned backed in January.

The youngster has six goals in 17 appearances and is a very good player.