I very nearly stopped short of writing about football in this week’s column. My plans to dedicate 450 words to Bury Town were almost ended by the grotesque amounts handed out to Premier League sides for television rights on Tuesday – £5.14 billion according to reports.
In a world where health and education is facing some of its toughest battles of all time, let that disgusting figure sink in for a while.
Football, I do love you but you make it very hard at times to like you. While the professional game battles to stay with the common man, our very own town team face a battle of their own.
Just 48 hours after the thriving Bury Rugby Club announced it was going semi-professional, Bury Town FC were losing 3-0 at Margate. With our town’s rugby men looking to achieve a landmark promotion, their footballing counterparts are simply battling to preserve their Ryman League Premier Division status.
Off-the-pitch, the contrasts are equally stark. Full-house vice-president lunches against a clubhouse that has seen better days. Bold plans to expand against a failed bid to relocate.
I am a huge sports fan and I love seeing the rugby club thrive, equally cricket and hockey is on the up. But football is my first love.
Moving away from Ram Meadow remains a priority for Bury Town, even though there is something about a tried and trusted football stadium that I love, much nicer than the new set of faceless ones that could appear alongside any busy road at any time. But relocation continues to be a problem which means, in the short-term, investment in keeping the ‘Ram’ ticking is crucial.
One thing that marries both rugby and football in the town – and so many sports – is the commitment and dedication of the people involved on a day-to-day basis. I have spoken highly of Bury Town chairman Russell Ward in a previous column and last week I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Banfield-Curran, the club’s chief executive officer, properly for the first time. Michelle’s job is to try to run the club on commercial lines to ensure it has a viable future. But over a cup of coffee, I now know she has quickly had to become a jack-of-all-trades to deal with anything and everything a typical day throws at her. Being involved in sport has many perks, even if Bury haven’t seen many this season. But there is also so much sweat and toil.
However this season ends at Ram Meadow, one hopes the club will come out the other side far stronger.