Since the age of six I have been a passionate supporter of Bury Football Club - needless to say the events of recent weeks, culminating in the Shakers' expulsion from the English Football League, have been deeply upsetting.
To be honest like many football fans my passion for the game is wrapped up in an unquestioning support for the team I have followed through thick and thin these past 48 years. Seven promotions and seven relegations later I am still numb with disbelief that I shall not be nervously awaiting their score at tea time every Saturday from August to May.
Funnily enough one of the high points in my support for Bury came only this March when we secured a one-nil win at Stevenage with a Nicky Maynard goal five minutes into injury time - the last time I saw them live. Then there was the unforgettable afternoon at Vicarage Road, Watford in April 1997, when I took an afternoon off from election campaigning (clearly alone this must have condemned the Tories to their worst defeat since 1832!) to to see us grind out a goalless draw and secure promotion to the second tier of English Football for the first time in almost three decades. We still love you, Dean Keily!
Even bad moments have some bitter sweet recollection - I was there at Swindon in December 1979 witnessing Bury's worst ever league defeat (eight-nil, in case you were wondering)...
For the many Shakers fans with whom I may only anonymously have shared an away stand over the years my thoughts and best wishes are with you too in these dark days. UTS.