How Do I Get There?
For a Friday night game, it’s a pretty easy journey from the north-east to this Greater Manchester (or Lancashire, depending if you’re looking for an argument) satellite town. Take the A1 (M) out of Sunderland and follow it down to Yorkshire where you’ll join the M1 following signs for Leeds. At junction 42 join the M62 and continue until junction 18 and take the M66 and follow the signs for Bury.
Exit the motorway, taking the first exit on the roundabout onto Rochdale Road. Take a left onto Heywood Street and follow it passing a college playing fields on the right hand side, turn left at Market Street and then again for Gigg Lane. Street parking is available around the ground.
For the Massive Lads Fans travelling by train, there is no dedicated train station in Bury so you will have to catch a Metrolink from Manchester. Trams run from Piccadilly and Victoria direct to Bury Interchange every 12 minutes with journey times taking around 25 minutes.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
For a provincial town, Bury sure does know how to throw party. There is a veritable hotchpotch of watering holes to ensure you’re significantly refreshed before watching the dawning of Big Si Grayson’s Red ‘n’ White Revolution.
At the ground itself there is a small supporters club which allows in away fans for a quid, but if you don’t fancy that then don’t worry as there are plenty of other options. A long-time favourite for visitors to Gigg Lane is The Swan & Cemetery on Manchester Road, a Thwaites boozer with a decent-sized beer garden. Alternatively, you can enjoy a swift jar in the homely surroundings of either The Rose & Crown on Manchester Old Road or The Staff Of Life.
If you prefer to do your supping in the heart of the action then head into Bury town centre and make your decision on what kind of drinker you would like to be. Cheap and cheerful? Then pop into either The Art Picture House or The Sir Robert Peel (both Wetherspoons pubs) or Rayners, with its stylish rooftop terrace.
Want to go a little classy? Then Automatic on Market Street is all up yo' face. For you craft beer connoisseurs there is The Clarence, or experience the best ale in town at The Trackside - a pub with a constantly rotating ale list built into the Bury Bolton Street steam railway station.
Essentially, you won’t go thirsty in Bury.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
If you’re staying over in Bury on the Friday night, do as the locals do by having a swift couple of Jagerbombs in the Art Picture House then dance the night away to the popular nu-metal hits of the 2000s in Blind Tiger. Oh, you want something a little more refined? Well, if you wish.
The East Lancashire Railway is hosting its Summer Diesel Spectacular at the train station from July 7th-9th so if you have a bit of spare time on the Saturday it is well worth checking out. You can take the heritage line to the quaint village of Ramsbottom and the Rossendale valley town of Rawtenstall. There are special guests and events lined-up throughout the day making it a must if railways are your burning passion.
Take refinement to the next level and swing by Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre to see the Encounters Exhibition - a series of interactive sculptures, film and immersive soundscapes by a host of international artists. Yeh, bet you didn’t think you’d be doing that after a pre-season friendly, you cultured gets.
What Is The Ground Like?
Gigg Lane holds a lot of sentiment for us Mackems. Brush away a tear as you walk through the turnstiles while you remember that warm evening where we entered with a spring in our stride and eyes full of hope, only to see Arnau Riera sent off after two minutes.
What? We won promotion there in 1999? Kevin Phillips scored four and we won 5-2? I don’t believe you. For supporters of a certain vintage (myself included), that April night where we smashed through promotion with unbelievable flair is what everyone associates with Bury and Gigg Lane. Even Bury supporters look upon that match with a certain fondness as an untold number of Mackems descended upon the town and made it one huge party.
Bury’s home stadium has changed a bit since then with the Cemetery End terrace demolished and replaced with an all-seater stand. Sunderland supporters will this be housed in the South Stand along the side of the pitch. While it is not a bad view, watch out for obstructing pillars.