Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bury v Everton Preview

With players and supporters alike counting down the days until the start of the new Premier League season, Everton are back in action on Friday night in Greater Manchester, where League One side Bury will provide the opposition in the first of six friendly fixtures.

With the majority of the squad having been in training for 10 days, including a 5-day training camp in the shadow of the Austrian Alps, the Gigg Lane fixture will provide a test of the player's match fitness after the Summer break.

The two sides have not been in the same league since 1954, with the last league encounter being a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. Even so, the ties between Bury and Everton are not insignificant.

Indeed, it is said that Bury, in part at least, have Everton to thank for their nickname: the Shakers. The tag is thought to have come about during the late 19th century. The semi-final of the 1892 Liverpool Senior Cup, to be precise. Mr J. T. Ingham, then Bury's chairman-cum-manager, was asked about his side's supposedly stronger opponents, Everton. Ingham said: "We shall shake 'em. In fact, we are the Shakers." Although Everton prevailed in the tie, the nickname was born.

The ties between the Shakers and the Toffees do not stop there; Blues captain Phil Neville was born in Bury and many of his family work at the club. We also have Bury to thank for providing us with legendary goalkeeper Neville Southall, who kept goal for the Shakers before Howard Kendall brought him to Goodison in a £150,000 deal in 1981.

A few members of Bury's current squad also have links to Everton. Skipper Steven Schumacher came through the ranks at Everton but failed to make the grade, despite captaining the England U19s during his time at Goodison. Young midfielder David Worrall has also been on the books at Everton, whilst centre-half Mark Hughes (who made just a single appearance for Everton - as a late substitute in a 2-0 win over West Ham at Goodison, December 2006) recently moved to Bury after a stint in the Australian A-League with North Queensland Fury.

Despite not facing each other competitively since a League Cup tie in October 1988, the two sides have met more recently in friendly fixtures. In 2006 a Victor Anichebe brace was added to by a stunning free-kick from Spaniard Mikel Arteta as Everton coasted to a 3-1 victory. The match was memorable for an impromptu pitch invasion following the final whistle, something that has since become routine for the travelling support.

In 2007 an Everton XI won 1-0 thanks to a Lukas Jutkiewicz goal, but fortunes were reversed prior to the 2009/10 campaign, with Louis Saha's effort unable to save us from falling to a 2-1 defeat.

Of course, at this stage of pre-season, the result is almost irrelevant; the primary purpose of the match is to consolidate the fitness work that has been done in the Austrian mountains. Although, as they say, winning breeds confidence...

I am skint and so won't be heading to Gigg Lane - EvertonTV will have to suffice. I'm going to predict a win for us and I fancy Louis Saha and Tony Hibbert (it has to happen one day) to get on the scoresheet.

StickyToffee Prediction: Bury 0-2 Everton

What are your predictions and thoughts on the game? Use the comment section below to have your say (you can now do so without being logged into a Google account - so no excuses!)

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