It was a one-and-done season for another club in our Promotion Diaries, as Bury will be returning to League One after a brief one season stay in League Two. The were the second club to clinch their automatic return to League One – following champion Lincoln City – with a 1-1 draw at Tranmere Rovers in the penultimate match of the season, and settled into second when the season concluded a match later.
Here’s a quick look at how the Shakers ended up in this position:
What Went Right
Bury’s move to the top of the table started in earnest with a 4-1 win on 27 November against Cheltenham Town. The club entered the match in 9th place, and the win elevated them to fifth, which would become their lowest position in the table for the bulk of the remaining season, with a slight dip to 6th after a Boxing Day loss at Mansfield Town the only departure from the top five.
The Shakers started 2019 off with a bang, winning nine of their first 14 matches in the new year (9-5-0), their longest unbeaten stretch of the season. It helped to have a 13 goal advantage across those nine victories, and the run all but assured the club of a playoff spot.
It also helps to lead the league in scoring, which Bury did by nine goals over Lincoln City. Two Shakers – Nicky Maynard (20) and Jay O’Shea (15) – were in the top seven scorers in the league and O’Shea was named to the League Two PFA Team of the Year for his performance. Danny Mayor joined O’Shea on the PFA Team after adding eight goals of his own.
What Went Wrong
Losing four of five games entering April nearly doomed the Shakers’ chances of automatic promotion. A 3-1 loss at Newport County on 19 April dropped the club back to 4th place with only three matches remaining. Fortunately, the other clubs around them seemingly wanted to play in the playoff, and Bury was able to reclaim its second position despite a 1-2-0 record down the stretch.
Recent English Football League History
Including this season, Bury has been up and back to League One three times in the past decade, with no stint in League One lasting longer than three seasons. Their last visit to tier three was a three season run from 2015-2018 that featured diminishing returns: a 16th place finish in 2015-16, 19th in 2016-17, and a last place finish in 2017-18.
Still, most of their history – 39 of their 114 seasons in the top four tiers – has been played on what is now the Championship. The Shakers haven’t played there since the 1998-99 season, and slingshotting back and forth between League One and League Two hasn’t helped.
Who’s Playing Elsewhere Next Season?
Chances of a One-and-Done?