Bury chairman backs boss ahead of crucial FA Cup game

David Flitcroft

BURY chairman Stewart Day insists manager David Flitcroft is capable of arresting the Shakers’ slide down the League One table.

Day has previously taken the unusual step of being interviewed by his vice-chairman, Glenn Thomas, for the club’s website and they decided to do the same again with the pressure building on Flitcroft.

Some fans called for him to be sacked after a woeful defensive display saw them lose 4-1 at home to Southend on Saturday. That was the Shakers’ seventh straight league defeat, a run which has seen them slip from second at the end of September to 16th, three points above the relegation zone.

They are also 10 games without a win in all competitions but can stop the rot in tonight’s FA Cup replay at AFC Wimbledon. Curzon Ashton lie in wait for the winners after winning their replay with Westfields last night and the second-round tie will be televised. That makes it worth £72,000 for each club in TV rights alone so winning tonight is almost as important for Bury as it was for their non-league neighbours Curzon.

Given it’s importance, some Bury fans have speculated whether Flitcroft will be sacked if the Shakers lose. Even before Saturday’s defeat, 198 voted in our Twitter poll, with 68% saying they wanted Flitcroft to go. But it seems that even if Bury crash out of the FA Cup, the boss will be staying put.

Day said: “When we won six out of six in September we were all happy. David got manager of the month, we were third in the league and everything was rosy. Since then we’ve lost games. If we’d have won three and lost three in those two months, and had the same amount of points, I don’t think people would be in that situation. It’s difficult because it’s emphasised by the run of games which we’ve lot.

“But nobody’s working harder than David to put things right. I’ve looked at the squad and we have been depleted by injuries. That has been a big factor for us, but I still believe in this squad and I still believe in David that he can turn things around.

“I’m also a chairman that believes sacking managers isn’t always the right option. I’ve looked at it with other clubs, like Blackburn, Wolves, Leeds – they’ve all sacked a lot of managers and what success has it brought them by doing that?

“Sometimes you’ve got to give people time and patience. David’s coming up to his third anniversary in December. When David came into this job we were second-bottom in League Two and on the verge of going into the Conference.

“I remember playing York City at home that December and beating them 2-1. That season York got in the play-offs. They’re now in the Conference and could potentially get relegated again. That year Tranmere were in League One, and they have a bigger fan-base than us.

“We got promoted into League One, last year was about sustainability and this year we wanted to kick on from that. The way we started the season, it looked like we would and have a very successful season, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Flitcroft said after Saturday’s game: “When I came here I wanted it to be a long-term project so we’ll keep giving it our best. I understand the fans booing and their frustration. It’s not good enough and I’m the man at the helm.

“Supporters come to the ground to enjoy watching their team compete and it’s my job to make that happen. It’s a case of us making sure we have more resolve than we showed today and are more clinical in front of goal.”