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Latest update on Bury FC emerges amid potential buyer

The latest update on Bury FC emerges via social media amid a potential buyer being interested in taking over at the Gigg Lane club.

An investor at Northern Premier League Division One South East outfit Ilkeston Town has revealed he has been in talks with Steve Dale to buy the Shakers.

David Hilton, who has put funds into his current club, is also the director of Nottinghamshire firm Maxwell Cohen.

ILKESTON STATEMENT:

Firstly, after such an unpredictable 2020 I would like to offer clarity on a matter that has the potential to cause a little uncertainty or unrest. After receiving many messages and emails recently regarding Bury Football Club, I can confirm that I have participated in discussions over recent weeks about potentially purchasing the club.

Whilst most negotiations have been extremely positive, I have failed to reach an agreement with Mr Dale regarding his shares and at present cannot proceed.

My only objective is to revive Bury Football Club and create a self-sustainable model moving forward, eradicating the clubs’ debt as part of the process. A very similar model to the one that was insisted upon before offering investment at Ilkeston Town Football Club.

Despite all other business activities and a global pandemic, nothing promised has been nor will be sacrificed at Ilkeston. The funds originally allocated have not only been honoured but exceeded and further investment will continue throughout the summer in order to secure the clubs future and competitiveness at a much higher level.

Over the last fourteen months I have watched Ilkeston Town rebuild relationships throughout the whole community and it has become a big part of mine and my children’s lives, these relationships will continue to thrive forever, of that I am certain.

We have a strong playing squad, an academy with a clear pathway for progression and an unrivalled junior network, along with a new, much younger set of fans to add to the already envied excellent supporter base at the club. So much now for us all to be positive about.

I would like to thank my business partner and friend Andrew, Mark Clifford, Mark Frost and Mike Pike along with all the coaches, players, staff and volunteers for helping already create some fantastic memories and a club and business we can all be proud of.

Finally, stay safe have a wonderful New Year and I look forward to seeing you all at the NMG soon.

– STATEMENT ENDS –

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Bury FC have been left in financial concern and uncertain about when and if they will be able to play football again since being expelled from the English Football League in August 2019.

Controversial Steve Dale placed the club into administration in November with the club’s affairs being handled by Steven Wiseglass, a director at Inquesta Corporate Recovery & Insolvency, who has since been appointed administrator.

Wiseglass was previously responsible for the club’s Company Voluntary Agreement, a move by Dale to reduce the club’s debts which defaulted, according to Bury Times.

Dale said the administration decision was taken “with a view to re-entering the football pyramid next season”.

Supporters group, Forever Bury, are targetting to keep the Shakers alive, something they had to do when the club went into administration back in 2002.

They have been given the opportunity to buy the club and save them from the brink, with current owner Steve Dale preferring to let Forever Bury takeover.

However, the amount needed is quite the mountain to climb for the supporters and volunteers from the group – a hefty £2.5m.

In a statement, Forever Bury said: “I’m sure we can all admit it has been a harrowing 18 months for everyone connected with Bury Football Club.

“But finally after an endless amount of meetings, phone calls and negotiations, Forever Bury have been given the opportunity to purchase the club and return it to its former glory as a fan owned club which we all have been dreaming about.

“Since May 2019 our loyal supporters have been left wondering if they will ever see the famous colours of the two-time FA Cup winners step out onto the hallowed turf of Gigg Lane. Again, after some sterling work by many volunteers and industry professionals, we are now close to fulfilling the dreams of our fans.”

However, the group said that they cannot do it alone and they “desperately” need the help from everyone within the football community to achieve that goal.

They added: “It is imperative now we focus all our attentions to this and give it one almighty push. To us this is the greatest football club in the land but we are just another clubs supporters as there are so many out there thinking the same. We are all in it together.”

They are also asking fans to spread the fund building link and help meet the various deadlines that have been set with a number of parties.

FA sources have said that they will welcome an application from the two-time FA Cup winners by their March deadline for clubs to be placed into a league – they just need to sort out a new owner.

Steve Dale has told the media over the weekend that he will finally step aside with his preferred purchaser the Forever Bury group.

He said: “That’s my intention. I want them to have the club.”

Bury’s 12,000 seater stadium is in still good condition, and is still able to host games with only minor work needed which will not cost significant amounts.

The pitch is still in great condition thanks to groundsman Mike Curtis maintaining it since last year.

Discussions have taken place to allow a Bury ladies’ team to play at Gigg Lane, to stage fan and youth matches, local league cup finals and also potentially arrange a few friendlies against nearby Premier League clubs to help raise funds when it is possible to do so.

If they can reach their goal of raising £2.5million, Forever Bury say it will be enough to take control of both the club and stadium.

Their preferred choice is to get control of Bury FC and have a fans-led club where supporters can purchase bonds and shares, with investment too from businessmen.

However if the club are eventually wound up, the second choice would be to purchase the name and assets from the administrator, in the same way Robert Smethurst has with Macclesfield and relaunch the Silkmen next season.

The third was to set up a phoenix club, however Bury AFC has already been formed and there is now a split fan-base, which Giffard believes has complicated efforts to take control of the original Bury FC – but he hopes all Shakers fans can unite to work towards getting football back to Gigg Lane, something all the fanbase wants.

Forever Bury chairman and lifelong supporter David Giffard said: “Bury FC is still there and worth saving. It’s the club my great grandfather took my grandfather to their very first game at Gigg Lane in 1885.

“My grandfather took my dad there for the first match after the First World War.

“He then took me for the first time in 1958 and I took my daughter Kate to her first game in 1983 when she was three.

“She now has a daughter and I’m determined to take her too. There are so many stories like that across our fan base because Bury is an incredible family club.”

Steve Dale says he has paid significant amounts of his own money in keeping the club from folding, adding that once he has brokered a deal to clear debts from Gigg Lane that started at £8million alone, the social club and car park, he will sell the club.

Fans gave their thoughts as the latest update on Bury FC emerges amid the potential buyer…

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