BURY’s roller-coaster season hit a new low on Saturday as fans called for manager David Flitcroft to be sacked during his side’s 3-2 defeat at Northampton.
The Shakers headed south on a six-game losing streak and fell 3-0 behind at the Sixfields. Some disgruntled fans have been using ‘Flitcroft Out’ as a hashtag on social media for several weeks but it became a terrace chant among the travelling supporters on Saturday.
George Miller and fellow sub Zeli Ismail scored to give Bury hope of a fightback but they could not avoid a seventh straight defeat. This is now their worst losing run for 15 years and leaves them 15th in League One, four points off both the play-offs and the relegation zone.
And despite leading the Shakers to promotion from League Two in 2014/15, Flitcroft claims a small section of Bury fans have never warmed to him since his appointment in December 2013.
He said: “There’s been a hundred fans, probably more than that, who’ve not wanted me from day one. There’s been fans who have not enjoyed me being Bury manager. I get that. In any organisation, that’s what you’re up against. Fans all round the country don’t want the manager at their club. Probably 10% of the Man United fans don’t want Jose Mourinho as manager. You’ll get haters in any industry and any job, certainly in football.
“Those people who don’t want me at the club, not winning games galvanises their spirit, but I was delighted with the fans that did stay and clap the players off at the end. If people want to judge three years’ work on three-and-a-half weeks, they can. We know what we’ve tried to implement. I’ve got a good group who are distraught that we didn’t manage to turn it round on Saturday. But by supporting and focusing on that group, I’m sure we’ll come through this spell.”
Marc Richards gave the hosts a half-time lead before scoring from the penalty spot, after Niall Maher conceded a spot-kick for the second game running. Then on 71 minutes, ex-Bolton midfielder Matt Taylor managed to beat Ben Williams at his near post with a superb free-kick from the side of the box.
Flitcroft made a double change at the break, bringing on Ismail and Hallam Hope, before youth product Miller came on early in the second half. The youngster headed home his first senior goal from Neil Danns’ 74th-minute free-kick before Hope laid off for Ismail to fire home on 82 minutes.
Bury did come back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Walsall in August so it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility and the closest they went to ending their losing run was when Antony Kay was denied in stoppage time.
Flitcroft added: “We had a right go, and when they put six minutes up for stoppage time, you’re thinking ‘you know what, we might spin it round’. But you shouldn’t have to, not in that manner. If we’re more concentrated on balls coming into our box then you don’t get to that stage of being 3-0 down and having to claw your way out of it.
“It’s been an horrendous month and we put it right by trying to galvanise the squad. I’ve got to get players out of the treatment room and get them back in the team because they’re big players. I said to the players on Friday that if we can dig in while we’re having a tough time and get those players back, those leaders, then we’ll be ok again. But we’ve just not been able to stop the rot.”