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Bold new statement on futures of Bury AFC and Bury FC causes divided reaction

A bold new statement released overnight on the futures of Bury AFC and Bury FC causes quite a divided reaction on social media.

Where are we at with this ongoing saga? In October, plans to merge BFCSS with Bury AFC’s Shakers’ Community Society in a bid to get men’s football back at its spiritual home in the town were narrowly unsuccessful after a vote failed to find enough members willing to back an amalgamation of the two following protests.

Gigg Lane has laid empty for around three years after Bury FC were thrown out of the English Football League and later entered administration in 2019.

Earlier this year, another group of supporters announced they had purchased Gigg Lane alongside Bury FC’s assets, and it’s been rather hostile ever since as a divide emerged between the two factions.

A merger of Bury Football Club Supporters Society – which helped buy Gigg Lane and Bury FC’s assets including its name – and the Shakers Community Society – which founded Bury AFC – would have seen fans finally unite behind one club again.

The original Bury FC remains in administration – with its name recently changed to CCFB Realisations 2022 Limited, according to Companies House – meaning the merger would have meant renaming Bury AFC as Bury FC.

At a “special general meeting” in October 2022, 94pc of Shakers Community Society members who took part in the vote backed a merger between the two groups.

But only 62.9pc of the 771 BFCSS members voted in favour off the merger – 3.7pc short of the two thirds majority (66.6pc) required for it to be go ahead.

Bury Council pledged £450,000 alongside a £300,000 government grant to support the new club if the plans went ahead. Council bosses said they will not be providing the funding.

The two groups made a suggestion to reopen talks to determine how a fresh amalgamation vote or proposal could be approached… and now it seems we have an update on that.

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“Following the vote we have taken time to assess the result and the surveys that were undertaken post-vote to get a greater understanding of your thoughts. What is apparent is that the overwhelming majority of our members and Bury FC fans are in favour of an amalgamation of BFCSS and Shakers Community Society.

“We have met with the Bury FC Benefactors, the FSA, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Bury Council. We have noted what other Bury FC supporters, who aren’t members of BFCSS, are saying.

“And we have carefully considered what we need to do to achieve our objectives and to make sure that our football club is sustainable and successful in the long term. The town of Bury can only support the success of a single men’s football team and it is only right that this team should play at its spiritual home, Gigg Lane. We intend to do everything that we can to ensure that Bury FC is playing at Gigg Lane at the start of next season.

“We have considered our options and so the Board intends to seek greater collaboration with the Shakers Community Society.

“Since the expulsion of Bury FC from the EFL in 2019, supporters have differed in their view as to the best way to provide football in Bury. There has been division in the fan base, within which different groups have been successful. BFCSS in acquiring and maintaining the stadium and the club’s memorabilia and branding, and Shakers Community Society in establishing and managing a football team that carries the name of the town proudly.

“For the club to be as successful as it can possibly be we need to seek to re-unify the club’s supporters.

“We are therefore going to ask the Shakers Community Society whether we can work closely together to realise our vision. We propose to undertake a second vote for a merger on the same terms as voted on last time. The BFCSS board are all fully supportive of a merger and will proactively promote a yes vote.

“We know that you will have further questions and we will be providing further information in the coming days identifying why we are in favour and advising of all the pitfalls of not amalgamating. We will also ensure that we provide opportunities for our members to talk to us and ask questions of us and our stakeholders.

“We propose to hold the new vote as soon as possible so that Bury FC can commence playing at Gigg Lane from the start of the 2023/24 season in front of all its supporters, united as we were in 2019.

“Bury Football Club Supporters Society Board”

As mentioned, the bold new statement on the futures of Bury AFC and Bury FC causes a divided reaction…

@lmw9568: Just get it organised and we can all move forward together as one team together once a shaker

@Mrs_H_Monaghan (Replying to @buryfcss): Seeing as you’ve blocked my Bury account for some reason, I’ll just say this… 286 people have made their bed. They lit the fireworks. How’s it going now?

@XMAN33161: Here are what I would demand in return for considering another vote : an independent election scrutineer allowing the current BFCSS board to recuse themselves until the vote has been done. This means all work on side applications and plan B should stop immediately.

@GStansfield: I wanted a merger, now not sure. you have been to selective in what you disclose, you have allowed certain people to post non-truths without contradiction, you allowed a stupid celebration after the no vote. Was there ever a plan B, what happened to the new benefactors? Be honest

@Beeds89: Hope the fireworks were worth it

@nickmetcalfeuk: “If our members don’t vote for a merger it has been brought to the board’s attention that we will be forced to fold, immediately.” You missed off the last paragraph of your statement. Thank me later.

@Paul_Sandiford: It’s inevitable where this is heading, with one team in Bury which the majority want. It just needs to be done in timely and effective manner.

@1988Pete: Are the board members who let off fireworks after the no vote backing the merge this time? Seems a bit silly to do all of this again if they will withhold vital information from fans.

@MLpud: This statement reads that @buryfcss supposedly spoke to everyone apart from those at Bury AFC. Does that not seem strange to you? I’m not against a merger per se but surely not communicating with those you are looking to merge with does seem odd.

@calneeagle: This is a very positive statement to read. I wish all of you all the very best in your efforts to emerge with one united entity to represent the proud name of Bury.

@JWalker56131: Suitably embarrassing for the 286

@Jonjo_32: Get stuffed “on the same terms”. Useless organisation that has turned the majority of fans away.

@MyattNick: We’ve had the vote, you’ve had your result, what part of that didn’t you understand

@RickLally: I look forward to hearing the updates over the next few weeks, need complete transparency about the implications of a no vote, especially financially.

@Mikefp_: No thank you. You’ve made your bed.

@EltonShaker: Superb stuff common sense prevailing

@jimrmet: Thanks – Better Together at Gigg. It’s what a majority of football fans in Bury clearly want.

@myra_fuller: Why is it so difficult to mention the name Bury AFC? They’re the successful football club you reference in the statement.

@OllyHamer: I’ll be voting yes as member of AFC. Thank you for this and hopefully allowing a way forward. Up the Shakers!!! Xx

@Jamiepic77: I think you’ve already blown it sorry. As much as I want one club I think the chance has gone and you’ve alienated the fan base.

@PaulHeathcote18: ONLY way forward is for you lot to go. End of.

@howardarw: I was a yes, now I’m a 100% NO, they aren’t having our fans, players, money, members, league place. And if that means no Gigg for AFC then that’s fine by me. Although SS may well have to stand down if they can’t run the place.

@Gymbo20944400: Let’s just get this done so we can move on, then the fans vote for the new board. Straight forward really.. UTS

@TheJasonHearne: Nah … you’re alright. You had your chance.

@seniorparky: Sounds a bit desperate to me, applications for clubs to join Step 6 have to be in by the end of December. If the comments after the no vote are to be believed they should be well down the road to having all this in place, so why the sudden change of mind £££.

@HeyItsMarkH: It would help if the board were a bit more up front on 1) if they support the merger 2) what the plan B is 3) what the reality of plan B is if merger fails – Leadership from the board members themselves being transparent on how they voted would be prudent.

@MattLang1971: Sold out by the Judas element at @buryfcss. @Rhampson2018 @JoyHart04234748 are you both agreeing with this merger suggestion from the test if the board. We need answers to this claim. #stabbedintheback

@Fartlek_Pete: Get on with it. The fact a minority won the vote with no plan was ridiculous.

@stecorky: We propose to undertake a second vote for a merger on the same terms as voted on last time. No you had your chance. And the cheek to ask for a 2nd vote on the same terms. Vote No

@shakerdaz: Accountant has buggered off bowerbank gone, seems like you’re in a bit of a pickle, what happened to plan b?

@BradleyS__: In all seriousness, are you being serious?! You proved yourself to be inept, you still have people in your organisation who willingly tried to kill football in the town pretending to be “loyal” and now you want to back it? Too late. Resignations, apologises and then we discuss.

@BradleyS__: If you’re serious, the anti-merge board members step down. Until then, you’re just the SS we know and chuckle at.

@Dentibus_: Fucked around and found out by the looks of it, I Might consider listening to whatever cobblers you lot put out when all the anti-AFC in positions of power step down completely from all your many organisations/companies until then nothing you say has an ounce of credibility

@shakerite66: My vote will be no. That boat has sailed. The firework extravaganza saw to that. The directors who voted and favoured No should fall on their own sword .

@slates82: What an absolute cluster fuck. This shows some fans aren’t capable of running a bath never mind a football club.

@azahayman: 7.28% of our average attendance in 2018/19 voted No to a merger. This is the only way to see football back at Gigg – without it thousands don’t see Bury play ever again and AFC can’t keep progressing – deluded if you think otherwise with their current structure. #headnotheart

@wroberts291: Is this a festive joke? BFCSS voted ‘NO’ to a merger, the had a van outside Gigg Lane with Vote NO on it, they had some freak dressed up as a dog with Fuck Off AFC Vote NO, they’ve proclaimed to have got their club back. So what’s this second vote bollocks about?

@adam_warrington: It’ll never be perfect but I still think a YES ✅ vote gets us closer to what the majority of us want – one fan-owned club playing at Gigg Lane. The two parties need to get round the table and communicate jointly from now on.

@JohnnyStackLUFC: Those celebratory fireworks and poss up at Gigg are looking decidedly stupid now… I have no horse in this race, but if I was @OfficialBuryAFC I’d tell them to swivel

@RochdaleAFCcom: What an absolute mess. My Grandad is a Bury fan, and I was with him when the vote passed last time. I felt how upset he was knowing he would likely never see a Bury team play at Gigg Lane again, as FC or AFC or whoever. Like the vast majority, he didn’t really care…

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