JIM McNulty believes he is living proof Bury can be promoted up the leagues playing David Flitcroft’s brand of passing football.
The 28-year-old Runcorn-born defender won promotion from League Two with Stockport County in 2009 and was part of Gus Poyet’s Brighton side that broke into the Championship.
It was while playing for the Seagulls the cultured centre-back suffered an horrific injury that eventually saw him have his right kidney removed.
So it is perhaps understandable McNulty was not interested in joining a side where he would be expected to indulge in the rough stuff.
But it was his love of the beautiful game rather than a fear of the dark arts that convinced him to step down the leagues to join Bury.
“The manager and chairman assured me I was coming here to be part of a footballing-based project – that we would try to play from the back – otherwise I wouldn’t have come,” said McNulty, who played under Flitcroft at Barnsley.
“I’ve been in sides where my qualities were insignificant because we didn’t play.
“Playing in a side that launches it is not my forte.
“But I’ve been promoted from this division playing for a team that passed the league to death.
“And I have been promoted from the next division playing for a team that passed the league to death.
“I’m a better player in a team that plays football, so the brand of football attracted me.”
McNulty may believe playing good football will help Bury get the best out of him, but the former Everton trainee believes it will also lead to the Shakers getting the better of every other team in League Two.
“Ball retention in this division will pull most teams apart, eventually,” he said.
“I think it is like being jabbed repetitively, eventually you will get chances, as we did on Saturday.
“Nine times out of 10 you will win games. If you can defend and keep the ball, you will be at the top in this division.”
The brand of football may have been key to McNulty signing an 18-month contract, but he believes Bury also have another trump card – chairman Stewart Day.
“I had a couple of options higher up in the leagues, but Flicks and the chairman were always chasing me throughout the window,” he said.
“We met a couple of times and spoke and just the desire to get me here won me over.
“I think the chairman is actually quite revolutionary. I think Bury Football Club have got a very good chairman here. Not many chairmen actually meet you before they sign you.
“I have met a couple, don’t get me wrong, but I was impressed by the way he spoke about football and the way he wanted the team to play.
“I enjoyed hearing a chairman say that and I could see that he was 100 per cent behind the manager.”