IT will be a season of firsts for Bury AFC and they chalk off another one on Saturday when they step out for their first competitive game.

AFC travel to West Didsbury and Chorlton for their FA Vase first qualifying round tie before embarking on their inaugural North West Counties League campaign at home to Steeton two weeks later.

These are exciting times for the club but, first and foremost, manager Andy Welsh is telling fans to enjoy it, embrace it and roll with the punches.

“This won’t happen again and it is very special to be part of something right from the start, “ he said. “It is a season of firsts, whether it is that first game or that first goal but there will be setbacks and hiccups along the road and that is something we will all have to deal with it.

“But the main thing is just to enjoy it, this town has football again which is vital. We are all, in our way, creating a bit of history at the club. So let’s enjoy the journey.” AFC, who will play their home games at Radcliffe FC’s Neuven Stadium will play in the NWCL First Division North this season but Welsh is not setting any targets or goals – apart from enjoyment from boardroom down to the terraces.

“How many times have you seen clubs say we are going to give it a real good go this season, we are going to do this and that and fall flat on their face,” he said. “So we haven’t really set ourselves any targets.

“But enjoyment is a key factor.

“I want players to enjoy playing, I want fans to enjoy coming along and enjoy supporting their team and they have an very important role to play.

“I want to stand on the touchline and enjoy watching.

“If we do that then a lot of things will take care of themselves.”

Welsh has quickly assembled a squad together – including first ever signing Adam McWilliam and Matty Williams, scorer of AFC’s first goal – but says the nature of non-league football means all of them may not be there at the end of the season.

“That is something fans will have to deal with,” he added. “There may be a player here one week but not the next, that is the nature of the revolving door of non league football.

“They aren’t on contracts and big wages so for one reason or another, players may move on.”

“It’s something you accept when you are involved in the game at this level.”

AFC go to West Didsbury on the back of a five-game pre-season which included wins over Daisy Hill and Walshaw Sports, a draw against Nostell Miners Welfare FC and defeats to landlords Radcliffe and Abbey Hey.

But on Saturday they get down to business for real.

“Our club motto is by the fans for the fans,” added Welsh. “That sums us up perfectly and Saturday will definitely be for the fans.”