SHAKERS legends Leighton James, Trevor Ross, Martin Dobson and Craig Madden will be among the star guests at two events to mark the launch of a new book chronicling their promotion-winning exploits of the 1984-85 season.

James and Ross will be signing copies of the book, The Forgotten Fifteen, by lifelong Bury fan James Bentley, before Saturday’s game against Burton Albion at Gigg Lane Social Club.

Former player-manager Dobson and the club’s all-time top scorer Madden will be holding court at the same venue before Tuesday night’s match against Scunthorpe.

Supporters will be able to share memories of the 84-85 season with the former fans’ favourites, when Dobson led a squad of just 15 players to finish fourth in Division Four and secure promotion to the third tier.

John Kerr sadly died in 2006, but Bentley has interviewed the remaining 14 members of the team for the book, which he hopes will shed light on why their achievements were overshadowed by events of the time.

“I didn't start watching Bury until 1988, when I was aged seven, but I was always fascinated by the picture of the 1985 promotion squad celebrating in the changing room, which used to hang in the Gigg Lane Social Club,” said the 34-year-old freelance writer.

“On the day of Bury's 125th anniversary (in 2010), the club invited several former players to attend a special ceremony, but only one from this squad (Wayne Entwistle).

“I wondered why the group of men appeared to have been lost to the mists of time, particularly because it included some big names like Martin Dobson, Trevor Ross and Leighton James.

“I subsequently found out that Bury used just 15 players throughout the season en route to promotion, so I made it my aim to find them all, interview them and tell not just their story but the story of Britain at that time.”

The 1984-85 season was arguably British football’s darkest hour. Attendances were plummeting as hooliganism on the terraces became more and more common place, while the Bradford fire cast an uneasy spotlight on dilapidated stadia.

The two growing concerns came together in the Heysel Stadium disaster, when 39 mostly Juventus fans lost their lives at the European Cup final, crushed following the collapse of a wall as they fled rioting Liverpool supporters.

It took another four years, and the tragic events at Hillsborough, for a true sea change to take place in British football.

But Bentley believes the shock of those twin tragedies in the 84-85 season definitely robbed Bury’s “Forgotten Fifteen” of their rightful place in the club’s history.

“You should never have a situation when supporters go to a football match and don’t come home and I don’t think there was an appetite to celebrate as a result of that,” said Bentley.

“And I guess the way these Bury players have since been regarded reflect that.”

Bury did not escape from the growing tide of football violence, as Bentley explores in his book.

“The 84-85 campaign is remembered as the season when football hooliganism came to Gigg Lane,” he said.

“Blackpool fans went on the rampage after Trevor Ross scored a late winner from the penalty spot to clinch victory in what was a key promotion battle (on March 9, 1985) towards the end of the campaign.

“They caused more than £2,000 -worth of damage kicking in wooden panels that separated the paddock and the seating area in the Cemetery End.

“David Brown, the Bury keeper, told me how he was pelted with coins by away supporters behind him and the pitch was littered with the torn-up panels at the final whistle, while there was also carnage in the car park after the game.”

Brown was one of the harder players to locate in Bentley’s quest. He tracked the stopper down in Italy, while the right-winger of the time, Winston White, was found in Antigua.

“It was a great experience as a fan to be able to meet and talk with these players,” he added.

“It was actually quite life affirming to hear how highly they all still regarded the club and spoke with such fondness of their days at Gigg Lane.

“It was a different era. Martin Dobson had a rule where the players had to share a pint with fans in the social club after every match.

“I wouldn’t agree with supporters who look at this time through rose-tinted spectacles as the good old days, as even though football is much more sanitised and commercialised now it has moved on.

“But I wanted to write this book to set the record straight, and highlight the fantastic achievements of what was a superb squad of players.

“Hopefully, the book signings will give supporters, old and new, the chance to show these players just how loved they really are.”

Copies of The Forgotten Fifteen, published by Silverwood, are available to pre-order via the website,

Those fans who order a copy before noon on Friday will be able to pick up their book at the signing on Saturday. A limited number of copies may be available to buy on the day.

Saturday’s signing will take place at Gigg Lane Social Club from 1pm-2.30pm, and Tuesday’s event will run from 6.15pm-7.30pm at the same venue.