AMID the disappointment of suffering defeat on his full competitive debut for Barnsley on Tuesday night, a sense of perspective should not be far away for midfielder Callum Styles.
Speak to inhabitants of Styles’s hometown of Bury and that legendary quote of the late, great Bill Shankly who once said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death, I can assure them it is much more serious than that,” carries resonance with the town’s football club fighting for its very existence.
Famous for being the birthplace of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of Britain’s police force and being the town from where the northern delicacy of black pudding originated from, Bury FC’s first four games of the season in league and cup have been suspended by the English Football League because of the club’s ongoing financial issues.
Those matches included the financially-stricken Shakers’ Carabao Cup trip to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek with a decision on whether next Tuesday’s away game at Rotherham United will take place to be made today.
Bury are working towards a deadline of August 23 to avoid EFL expulsion – in a race against time to prove their financial viability.
Styles, who moved to Oakwell from Gigg Lane for a six-figure fee last summer – before being loaned back out to the Shakers for the first six months of last season – feels for his former club.
It is obviously not nice to see, but it is football and it is ruthless.Callum Styles
Despite only turning 19 in March, the Lancastrian admits he does not know many players still at the club, with most having jumped ship and left the beleaguered League One outfit.
Styles, part of the Reds’ line-up who suffered an embarrassing 3-0 Carabao Cup home exit at the hands of League Two outfit Carlisle United at Oakwell on Tuesday, said: “It is obviously not nice to see, but it is football and it is ruthless.
“I was obviously there for a couple of years and they are in a bad situation. I am just glad I am here doing well, but it is not nice to see really.
“In life, it happens and they are working as hard as they can to keep the club, but it is a tough one.
“I think most of my mates have gone to different clubs to be fair. I have obviously moved here and am enjoying my time here.”
Tuesday may not have been the result that Styles was envisaging in his maiden start for the Reds, but the 19-year-old was still considered to be one of the few home players to emerge with any credit with his next aim being to make his first appearance from the off in a Championship fixture.
That could well be sooner than expected with Alex Mowatt being a big injury doubt for Saturday’s home encounter against Charlton, with Styles vowing to be ready when called upon.
“There are going to be injuries this season and I have to show what I am about and act as if I should be there from the start. You have always got to be ready,” he added.
“It is a massive season for me because it is the Championship and the next level.”
Meanwhile, candid head coach Daniel Stendel was in no mood to pull punches after Tuesday night’s lame cup setback against the Cumbrians as he suffered a first home defeat in regulation time since arriving last summer.
Warning his players that they must improve dramatically to end a testing week in positive fashion on Saturday, Stendel, who made seven changes from the defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, said: “No-one from us expected this performance. Carlisle deserved to win 3-0 and it was hard for us.
“The quality of the players was good enough to win this game, but the quality from the team was not good enough.
“We missed a lot of things and in three days, we have a chance to play so much better against Charlton.
“We said after the Sheffield game that we wanted to play our game and more as a team. You expect more fight, especially when you are the favourite. We are all very disappointed.”