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Football marks the boundary between England’s winners and losers


SATURDAYS AT Gigg Lane stadium are not supposed to be quiet. Since 1885 residents of Bury, a market town of 190,000 people on Manchester’s northern fringe, have gathered at this lump of red brick and corrugated iron to watch their local team. Only ten football grounds anywhere are older. “The Shakers” have twice won the FA Cup, England’s top knockout competition. Last season they were promoted to the third division.

But today the only signs of that history are the shirts and flags draped over Gigg Lane’s gates. A blue banner reads: “Thanks for the memories: one club, one love”. “Bury ’til I die” is scrawled on a Saint George’s Cross. The car park’s sole occupants are a pair of novice motorcyclists, practising turns.

Published: February 29, 2020