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Bury FC: Part of our family for four generations

Ryan Turner, his dad and daughter Image copyright Ryan Turner
Image caption Ryan, his dad and daughter with his late grandad's Bury shirt in the background

"When a dad and his young lad have something in common like that, it's like an unbreakable bond. The club is like another part of the family."

Ryan Turner, 24, lives less than half-a-mile from Gigg Lane, home to Bury FC since 1885.

His dad took him to his first match, against local rivals Bolton in 2002. They won and Ryan was hooked - a story that will resonate with millions of football fans.

Seventeen years later and the club is in a deep financial crisis.

Its first five games of the season have been suspended and it has a 23 August deadline to avoid expulsion from the English Football League.

Ryan's facing the prospect of losing a club that's been a major part of his family for generations.

'It's the glue that's held us together'

Image copyright Ryan Turner
Image caption Ryan as a baby with his grandad

Ryan credits Bury with something far more important than just giving him something to do at the weekend.

"A lot of families don't speak that much," he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"With me, my dad and my grandad, it's the connection.

"Without the football on a Saturday afternoon for me and my dad our relationship might not have been as strong, because my parents spilt up quite early on in my life.

"It's like the glue that's held us together."

Image copyright Ryan Turner
Image caption Ryan with his little brothers Ethan and Flynn who are are growing up to be Shakers supporters too

Ryan's grandad Phil arrived in Bury in the 1970s. The town became his home, the club became his team.

He didn't miss a game for years - even later in life when he was confined to a wheelchair.

When Ryan and his dad couldn't make a particular match he "took it upon himself to ring a taxi which dropped him off outside the ground.

"He got some Bury fans to help him across the car park in his wheelchair, much to the dismay of my nan.

"That's what it's about. It's the community. He didn't think for one minute that someone wouldn't help him across the car park and to his seat. He knew that there'd be people there to help him."

Phil died last year, but he'll never be far away from Bury FC.

"From the spot where his ashes are buried you can see the floodlights rising up out the trees.

"We thought he'd be able to hear them on a matchday. I hope he'll still be able to for many years to come."

Every match day Ryan and his dad walk past the cemetery.

"So we essentially visit grandad every time we go to a match."

A fourth generation

Image copyright Ryan Turner
Image caption Ryan's daughter Lily is only a few months old and one of the club's youngest fans

After the grief of losing Phil last year, this summer Lily - Ryan's first child - arrived.

"As soon as I found out the Mrs was pregnant I was thinking about the day I can take her to Gigg Lane for the first time.

"As a dad that's into football, one of the first things you think about when you have a child is who are they going to support and how are you going to make them into as big of a Bury fan as I am."

Lily is already rocking her first ever Bury strip, but it's a bittersweet feeling. If the club doesn't survive she might not get to see a game at the Lane like her dad, grandad and great-grandad have.

"It's hard to think that she might never get to go. I took her to a fundraising event at Accrington last week. It might be the closest she ever gets to a game."

'Pure grief'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bury FC fans desperately hope to see Gigg Lane open again soon

For Ryan and thousands of the club's loyal fans, it's now a waiting game: to hear the matchday roar of the crowd again, to find out if the funds can be found to keep the club alive, to know for sure if a constant in their lives will remain.

"It's like another bereavement," Ryan says. "It's like Bury FC are in intensive care and you're hoping for the best but you can't really see it. It's pure grief."

The Football League says it hasn't seen evidence that Bury can pay creditors and find suitable funding for the season ahead.

And while the club says it's working tirelessly to find a solution, its very existence is under threat.

"It's the loss of a part of you. It's all we've been thinking about - me and my dad - for the last five months.

"If it does end, you never think it's going to, it would be like losing a part of us, a part of ourselves. The friendships and relationships you build on football, they could all be gone."

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