I'd be very grateful if the mods don't move this post to another section as there is a link to Bury FC.
My dad died peacefully at home yesterday morning after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, aged just 68. He was where he wanted to be with who he wanted to be.
I think it is fair to say that he had only a passing interest in football. Born in Bolton, he was very much a Boltonian and kept his strong accent all his life, despite spending very little of his adulthood living in the town or the surrounding villages.
I grew up in Rossendale in the 1990s and used to have a season ticket for Bury, along with my grandma and mum. When the former died in September 1996, it became something that just my mum and I did but my dad would still leave his stamp on things, often asking us to buy some shopping at M&S before games and we would look very silly coming through the turnstiles with several bags full!
He only attended three football matches in his life: two at Burnden Park in the 50s and 60s, the latter of which saw a defeat to Wolves, who he then developed a strong dislike of for a long time afterwards.
The third match was after he moved down to Bedfordshire in 2005 with my mum and brother. We went as a family whilst I was visiting them to see the not so mighty Shakers take on Peterborough at London Road on the 2nd of January, 2006. We bore witness to a gutless performance, with Bury losing 4-1 and looking second best throughout the entire game. He didn't think much of the performance either and said Bury were "crap", which was hard to argue with and also epitomised his very black and white way of expressing himself about things like that.
The last decade has been very hard for my parents and my mum often sought solace in listening to Bury matches on Shakers Player when attending in person became difficult. My dad never bregrudged her being lost to the world almost every Saturday during the season for a couple of hours because he knew how much it means to her.
My mum would often show him the messages I would write on this message board and he would praise them for being well written, just like he did when my article in the AFC Wimbledon programme was published the day after his last birthday.
I'd never thought much about the phrase 'once a Shaker, always a Shaker' before and often thought it was a bit silly... but it definitely applied to my dad. Whilst he was not a Bury fan himself, the fact that he let me attend matches from the age of eight every other week will be something that I am forever grateful to him for. There are of course much more important things in life than football but that's besides the point.
We will miss him terribly.