247 appearances in total. 26 appearances this season. Winning consecutive player of the season awards. Priceless? No chance.
Shock and disbelief. The two adjectives most closely associated with the recent decisions by Alan Knill. The 13th of May, the day the retained and released list came out, and the day when the currents squads second longest serving player was shunned by his manager.
Paul Scott made 247 appearances for the Shakers. He played a number of roles: right back, centre back and centre midfield, each with endeavour and class. Bury’s former manager Chris Casper once described “Scotty” as “a player that would run through a brick wall for you.” The Bury FC website described the manager’s decision as “the biggest shock” of the retained and released list and too many Shakers’ fans the verdict will be exactly the same.
Frustrations have grown over recent months with Knill’s frivolous lack of pragmatism, and the decision to release Scott as well as first choice ‘keeper Wayne Brown will do nothing to hush the murmurs of discontent. Whether this is Knill trying to portray himself as ruthless and seeking to rebuild the club is a possible option. Unfortunately this decision may also be a way of seeking to cloud the damning verdict on Knill’s own performances this season with the seductive veil of scapegoating the players.
Bury have only won two games since the 19th of February. Relegation form, perhaps? Certainly Knill has not publicly admitted to any mistakes or failings and whilst stating that the squad have lacked “fight” and “desire” is all well and good, questions must surely be raised as to why the manager was not capable of mustering a fighting spirit. Why could the current crop of players not summon up the desire to “run through a brick wall” for the manager. And another thing, if the manager requires “desire” what is the sense in releasing a player who is willing to “run through a brick wall” for the cause. This suggests something different entirely is going on at Le Stade de Gigg. Maybe we will never know.
With the season finished and the painful spectre of the playoffs hanging over all Bury fans, the World Cup may be the only tangible route to salvation. The provisional squads are out and the irrational media circus can begin. No doubt over the course of the summer there will be thrills, spills, metatarsal brakes and a quarter final exit to Portugal, but the clubs in and around Bury will plod on with pre-season training, gaining fitness and welcoming new recruits. For now though, we can hope our dreams come true, just ask Terry Venables.