The Forgotten Fifteen

How Bury triumphed in British football's worst year

Trevor Ross at home in Oldham.

Trevor Ross

Trevor Ross was simple to find and request an interview with. His number remained in my phone from a similar interview for the club programme, conducted sometime between 2006 and 2009, when a chat with him resulted in 500 words about his memories of Gigg Lane. The research that had gone into this new project, however, had uncovered physical evidence that meant a face-to-face interview would almost certainly bring better results. So with that in mind, I asked the former Arsenal and Everton man if it might be possible to meet up.

Trevor agreed, which is how I found myself following the M60 round to Oldham on a warm summer’s night. I was looking forward to talking to a Martin Dobson signing that made Bury fans sit up, take notice and ask each other "He means business, doesn’t he?"

The uncompromising hard man of the squad, who was never afraid of putting a foot in, answered the door of his smart home to me and led me to the back garden where we’d talk. Mrs Ross was already there, soaking up the sun, and listened in as we chatted. We read through the contemporary newspaper match reports with as much awe and interest as I did when printing them off the microfilm machine at Bury Library.

The most interesting aspect of our short time together was learning exactly how his move to a drizzly Gigg Lane from sun-soaked Greece came about

Despite his tough guy reputation, Trevor was a good-humoured, gentle man of few words. His modesty belied the fact that he played for two of the country’s largest clubs and was still playing in the top division a couple of years before he joined Bury. The most interesting aspect of our short time together was learning exactly how his move to a drizzly Gigg Lane from sun-soaked Greece came about. His feelings on the goal he scored from the spot against Blackpool, which brought about the worst hooliganism ever seen at Bury by rampaging Seasiders’ fans, were also a highlight.

I asked Trevor if he’d be OK for the customary photograph to be taken once we’d wrapped things up and he agreed, but only on condition he could change his t-shirt to a smarter one. I was in no position to argue and he slowly walked off to get changed, the after effects of injuries sustained back then being another topic of conversation, before returning in a pristine Jasper Conran. I could have sworn I smelt a bit of hair gel that I’d not caught a whiff of before too, but I’d never have accused the defensive rock of being vain. Not because of the fear that would have struck Fourth Division strikers as they saw Ross’s beefy frame limbering up in the tunnel in 1984/85. Simply because he was such a nice man it didn’t matter in the slightest.