It was a story a little too close to home for many football fans: a once-esteemed club sent packing from the Football League, seemingly overnight.
Now, a new 10-part podcast series charts Bury FC’s fall from grace, follows the fans plotting a return to form and investigates what the club’s demise means for the English game.
Featuring interviews with unpaid former players, the women’s team cut adrift and the fans that desperately tried to save the Shakers, Out Of Our League takes a forensic look at the failures that led to Bury’s expulsion.
It also goes behind-the-scenes with the fans left to pick up the pieces and form a new team, Bury AFC.
The podcast travels across the UK and beyond to meet clubs that have suffered a similar fate and been reborn, plus those on the brink of their own catastrophe.
On the journey we hear from managers, players and politicians, plus enter the world of non-league football to find out whether a comeback for Bury is even possible against the backdrop of a pandemic.
But at the heart of the story are the never-say-die fans bent on building a new team up from the ground. The podcast, which lands on BBC Sounds on Wednesday, is presented by Mark Crossley and Sanny Rudravajhala, both BBC journalists and long-time Bury supporters.
BBC Radio Manchester journalist Mark covered every inch of Bury’s expulsion from the Football League. Sanny recently came through the BBC’s New Voices project and once had the added distinction of being the drummer at Bury’s games.
“Out Of Our League is the story of what the fans did next and what Bury’s experience means for English football,” Mark said. “It also comes at a really important time, when the new Premier League and EFL seasons are about to kick off without a fan in sight.”
Sanny added: “The common theme with every club we have spoken to is that there are characters with the passion and determination to triumph against all odds. At every turn, the Bury supporters starting a new team have been up against it and that’s even before you think about trying to launch during lockdown!”
The first three episodes of Out Of Our League drop on BBC Sounds on Wednesday. The next seven will be released each Wednesday.