GLYNN Hurst says it is the fans that stick with him when he thinks of his near three years at Gigg Lane.

The 44-year-old was with the Shakers from September 2006, initially joining on loan from Shrewsbury, until the summer of 2009.

The frontman would score 27 goals in 127 appearances in all competitions and has fond memories of the relationships he made at Bury.

Hurst, who could face phoenix club Bury AFC next season having been announced as the new boss of Ashton Town in the North West Counties First Division North, also believes the club was in a far better place when he left than when he arrived.

“From a playing perspective I loved my three years but more importantly for me was just the people, the people made the club,” he said.

“The fans of Bury were really good, down to earth people, I loved that and I loved the relationships that I built at the club. They were excellent.

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“The football team was a lot stronger when I left then when I arrived, they way I looked at it I helped transform what became a very successful Bury squad that eventually got promoted.

“If you look at the two years after I left the club was in good hands. It was really healthy and looking forward which was really good.”

Signed by Chris Casper, Hurst feels the former Manchester United man was unlucky to be dismissed alongside his director of football Keith Alexander in January 2008.

After a caretaker spell from Chris Brass, Alan Knill was then named as Casper’s replacement.

Hurst’s time at the club saw Bury finish 21st in League Two in 2006/07 with Casper dismissed with the Shakers 19th and nine games without a win midway through the following campaign.

Knill would stabilise for a 13th-placed finish before Hurst’s final season saw Bury end up fourth 12 months later, losing in the play-off semi-finals to Shrewsbury.

“Still to this day I maintain it probably wasn’t fair on Chris Casper,” he said.

“When he was in charge his budget was very, very limited to be fair and I think he did a good job with the tools that he had.

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“The following the two years you had Alan coming to the fore and the good coach that he is.

“But at the same time he had a significantly bigger budget so it’s hard to gauge who was more successful.

“It could be argued that Chris maybe should have been given an extra year with a better budget.”

Spells at Gainsborough, Hyde and FC United followed before retirement in January 2011, allowing Hurst to initially focus more time on a teaching career that has now taken him to Sacred Heart Catholic College in Crosby, Liverpool.

After returning to the game with Marine’s Reserves, guiding them to promotion and a cup final – that is still to be played – on their return after seven years away, Hurst was head-hunted by Wigan side Ashton for next season, whenever that may be.

"I was at assistant manager to Neil Tolson at Hyde and at the time I was doing my degree,” he said.

“It was quite difficult trying to balance everything.

"I decided to go to FC United and in the January I called time on my career and stepped away from football to concentrate on my teaching to make sure I did as well as I possibly could in my degree and get myself a job, get myself established, which I’ve done.

“I’ve kept growing as a teacher but I did always have it in my mind that I’d come back into football if I got given the opportunity.

“I was still heavily involved in football, with schools, coaching my own youngsters and I was still doing a lot of football stuff just not to the level I did with Marine Reserves and obviously now with Ashton Town.

“It was always my intention to get back in but obviously the teaching pays the bills.”

Hurst, who could liaise with Brass - now the head of football operations at Wigan Athletic – about bringing in young players on loan, is aiming high in his first season with Ashton when football returns after the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a club that’s never been out of the North West Counties Division One so we’re looking to create history and I would like to be the first manager to take Ashton to the Premier Division,” he said.

“It will be a tough ask but it’s something that we certainly can achieve.”