One of the most extraordinary FA Cup ties of all time was played by Bury FC back in the winter of 1955.
The Shakers were drawn at home against fellow Second Division side Stoke City in the Third Round on Saturday January 8 – and fancied their chances of progressing.
But the hard-fought match in bitterly cold conditions at Gigg Lane ended in a 1-1 draw. So both teams regrouped for the replay at Stoke’s Victoria Ground the following Wednesday.
Little did they know then the extent of the drama that was about to unfold.
The replay also ended 1-1, but as there were no sudden-death penalty shoot-outs in the FA Cup of 1950s, the tie went to a second replay.
So, on Monday January 17, the teams faced each other at a neutral ground – Goodison Park in Liverpool, the home of Everton FC.
By now the weather had really closed in. Officials had to clear snow before the match could kick off. The few hardy spectators who watched from the stands saw an exciting 3-3 draw.
The teams started all over again for a third replay at Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC, two days later on January 19. The outcome? A 2-2 draw!
Bury were now locked into an unprecedented fourth replay, this time at Old Trafford. Melted snow and ice had turned the pitch into a muddy quagmire as the teams ran out on Monday January 24.
This time, finally, there was a result. Stoke won 3-2 to send brave Bury out of the competition. It had taken four replays and nine hours of football, with Bury scoring nine goals to Stoke’s 10.
Bury’s fighting spirit has never been in doubt. It lives on in their nickname – the Shakers. The term was coined by chairman J.T. Ingham just before the 1892 Lancashire Senior Cup final against Everton.
He told the players: ‘We will shake ‘em! In fact, we are the Shakers.’ The team-talk worked as Bury won their first ever Lancashire Senior Cup.
In 1900, Bury secured the first of their two FA Cup final victories when they beat Southampton 4-0 at Crystal Palace. Jasper McLuckie scored twice, with the other goals coming from Willie Wood and John Plant.
The Shakers’ second FA Cup final triumph came three years later in 1903. This time they defeated Derby County by a record 6-0 margin, again at Crystal Palace.
Bury’s run to the final was remarkable. They did not concede a single goal while disposing of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Notts County and Aston Villa.
In the final itself, Bury skipper George Ross scored the opening goal after 20 minutes. Then Derby ‘keeper Jack Fryer aggravated an existing injury trying to stop Charlie Sagar scoring Bury’s second.
Fryer was forced to leave the field early in the second half, reducing Derby to 10 men as no substitutes were allowed. Bury scored three goals in four minutes through Joe Leeming, Wood and Plant.
Leeming made it 6-0 in the 76th minute to create an FA Cup final margin that was only matched in 2019 when Manchester City beat Watford 6-0.
As a lasting local memento of Bury’s triumph, the ball used in the 1903 final is now proudly displayed at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
Bury’s determination also shines through our archive image of April 1928, which shows Shakers’ defender Tom Bradshaw outjumping Everton legend Dixie Dean in the 1-1 league draw at Goodison Park.
It wasn’t the first time Bradshaw had subdued the most feared forward of the era. Just a week earlier, he did the same playing for Scotland in their historic 5-1 win over England at Wembley.
Another football legend turned out against Bury when they played Sunderland in Division Two in December 1962 – none other than future Derby and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough.
The 1-0 Bury victory was a turning point for Clough as he suffered a cruciate ligament injury which eventually led to his retirement from playing – and the start of his coaching career.
One of the all-time football greats graced Gigg Lane in November 1975. George Best played for an All Stars XI, including Derek Dougan and Alex Stepney, at the Paul Aimson testimonial match.
Best was making a comeback with new club Stockport County – and needed the match practice.
Aimson, a forward, scored 11 goals in 31 appearances for Bury during the 1966-7 season. A serious knee injury forced him to retire in 1974.