Bury FC fans returned to Gigg Lane in force on Saturday on a historic day as competitive football returned to the stadium for the first time in four years.

Almost 5,500 people went through the turnstiles to witness an outstanding start to the season with a thumping 5-1 win against Glossop North End.

After a "cruel" few years, fans shared their "relief, joy and excitement" to finally see their team again and kick off the North West Counties League campaign in style.

Bury Times: Bury FC players warm upBury FC players warm up (Image: Phil Hill)

Bury Times: Players and officials walk on to the pitch on SaturdayPlayers and officials walk on to the pitch on Saturday (Image: Phil Hill)

Bury Times: The teams walk out on SaturdayThe teams walk out on Saturday (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Tom Pickup, who volunteers with Bury FC’s media team, said: “Even if we lost it would have been a great day.

Bury FC fan warms hearts of football fans in emotional return

“It was cruel what happened to the club, but we can only look forward positively now.

“When we first entered the car park, seeing all the people walking on Manchester Road, just seeing old faces and people haven't seen at the ground for years, it was just amazing.”

The attendance, said to be record-breaking for the division, showed the love Bury FC fans have for their club has not dimmed in the four years since it was expelled from the Football League after financial problems. 

Bury Times: Bury FC players clap the fansBury FC players clap the fans (Image: Phil Hill)

Bury Times: Bury FC V Glossop North End

Bury Times: Bury FC players line upBury FC players line up (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Tom said: “We didn't even get that sort of crowd in the Championship so that tells you how good a crowd it was and how ready fans were to see football return.

“We bought the ground back in February 2022 and that was a massive job that took about a year to do, then we had to get it out of administration, deal with the administrators and the former owner.

“On top of that, we had to try and get football here through the merger and then we eventually had around two months to turn the stadium into a function place to play.”

Bury Times: Bury FC players unite on the pitchBury FC players unite on the pitch (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Bury Times: Bury FC V Glossop North End

Due to neglect and trespassers, the stadium had been left "all smashed up", there was no running water, toilets had been destroyed and the pitch was in need of much attention.

Tom added: “An unbelievable amount of people have been involved in it, we’re talking hundreds clubbing together to put Bury first.

“The stadium didn’t need major renovation in terms of structural work, just love and attention and so many businesses and tradespeople have given their services either at a low cost or free.

Bury Times: Bury FC on their way to a thumping 5-1 win on SaturdayBury FC on their way to a thumping 5-1 win on Saturday (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Bury Times: Goal being scored during Saturday's match

'We cannot wait': Excitement at Bury FC ahead of first league match since 2019

“We have missed this and seeing the match on Saturday, seeing us win, has been incredibly emotional.”

After an unbelievable performance, players mingled with fans in the stands to take pictures, chat and build that relationship with their supporters.

Bury Times: There were celebrations aplenty on SaturdayThere were celebrations aplenty on Saturday (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Tom said: “At this level, to play at a stadium like Gigg Lane is unheard of.

“It is bigger than Luton's and Bournemouth's stadiums and they're in the Premier League so for these players at this level who are semi-pro, this is a fantastic opportunity and clubs are excited to play us to come here, it is a major incentive.”

Bury Times: Bury FC players celebratingBury FC players celebrating (Image: Jake Horrocks)

Praising the players, Tom added that they have all joined the club's ethos and begun building back up the rapport between the fans and players as to most fans, it's a completely new team that they don't know.

Bury take on Colne FC away tonight, Tuesday, as they look to rack up another three points.