Tribute to Iley

14 Dec 2018 02:40

BURY have paid tribute to former manager, Jim Iley, who died earlier this month. Iley was Shakers’ manager July 1980 to February 1984.

He arrived at Gigg Lane on 1st July 1980, following a spell as a scout for Luton Town. The irony of Iley's managerial career was that he nearly built successful sides. He left Portsmouth in 1972/73 and they were promoted in 1973/74, left Barnsley in 1977/78 and they were promoted in 1978/79. This run continued when he left Bury in 1983/94 and we were promoted the following year.

His first task at Bury was to oversee the transfer of Danny Wilson to Chesterfield for £150,000. Little of this money was to be made available to Iley to build a team and the Shakers had to rely on free transfer signings. Despite early success in the League Cup, results in Division four were terrible.

Eight of the first 11 games were lost and Bury lay 92nd in the league for the first time in its history. Demonstrations by supporters against Ron Clarke did not persuade him to resign, but money was made available to strengthen the side.

Joe Jakub and Tommy Gore were bought from Burnley and Wigan respectively for £32,000 and this coincided with a rise up the table to eventually finish 12th. As Iley had promised, the team scored goals, 68 to be exact and this was beaten only by Champions Southend United.

The following season, 1980/81, saw the Shakers topping the league table until early December. During the season, Craig Madden smashed Norman Bullock's 55-year-old goal scoring record by hitting the back of the net on 42 occasions.

The 1982/83 season began well as Bury went immediately into a promotion position. Indeed, top spot was held during November and December. A fine 1-0 win at rivals Scunthorpe began to open up a gap but a tragic injury to Paul Hilton against Bristol City was to have a big bearing on the outcome of the season.

Bury were pipped to a promotion place and the club were absolutely shattered and it took a season to recover. The writing was on the wall for Iley though, as Bury fell to a mid-table position.

After Christmas, gates dropped to an unprecedented level as results went from bad to worse and following a board meeting on 15th February, Iley was sacked after his refusal to resign.

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