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Youngsters are at the right place, says former Bury midfielder Jamie Hoyland
THE crop of rough diamonds Kevin Blackwell hopes to polish into a promotion-winning squad are at the best possible club, according to Shakers legend Jamie Hoyland.
It is now more than 25 years since Martin Dobson tempted the Manchester City trainee to Gigg Lane – a move he happily admits to being unsure of at the time but which ended up making his career.
During four successful seasons, from 1986-90, he made the transition from boy to man, as well as defender to attacking midfielder.
He made his name with Bury’s opener in a famous 2-1 League Cup defeat at Old Trafford and scored a memorable overhead kick against rivals Bolton Wanderers to secure a play-off spot in his final campaign.
Hoyland, now 47, who still lives in Rawtenstall, also made some life-long friends, playing alongside the likes of David Lee, Liam Robinson and Phil Parkinson before leaving for boyhood favourites Sheffield United.
And he believes the current batch of youngsters brought to the club by Blackwell will be given the same opportunity he was afforded.
“I have some great memories of my times at Sheffield United and then Burnley, but my happiest times were at Gigg Lane,” he said.
“I must have had something to get snapped up by Manchester City, but Bury is where I learned how to be a professional footballer.
“Martin had decided to freshen things up, and I was one of a crop of youngsters who arrived at the same time.
“We all learned from experienced players like Brian Flynn, Sammy McIlroy and Alan Taylor, who he kept on, but it was largely a very young team that all blossomed together.”
While Hoyland’s Bury never quite achieved their goal of second- tier football, he believes the aim back then was much the same as it should be now – to create and sell on a production line of talent while playing at the highest level possible.
“There are so many clubs around here that Bury will always struggle – for crowds and established players – but it is very well respected and will always be able to attract good young talent,” he said.
“In my opinion, it is in the wrong division. They need to get back into League One and then see what happens.
“It is never going to be a Premier League club, but if they can just get to that level then I think Kevin and his team have what it takes to turn it back into a breeding ground for young players.
“Like me, they will be able to come here, enjoy their football and eventually move on, making some money for themselves and the club.
“It is a great place to come, full of really good people, many of whom are still here from my days.
“It is what a football club should be.
“And I’m sure, like me, the youngsters who have arrived this summer will look back on their time at Gigg Lane in years to come as their happiest.”
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