PRIME Minister Boris Johnson made the journey to Gigg Lane this morning, Monday, after the government announced plans for "major reform" of men’s football in England.

The Prime Minister was presented with a personalised "Boris" shirt as he met with fans at Gigg Lane, a day after Bury FC Women played their first game at the stadium in more than two years.

In a nod to the recent clean-up effort by Shaker’s fans, the PM was photographed applying paint to the centre circle of the pitch, before demonstrating his own football skills for the press.

The PM’s visit comes as the government sets out plans to establish an independent regulator "to deliver financial sustainability throughout the national game".

The regulator will be given the power to exercise financial oversight of clubs and will be tasked with implementing an "integrity test" for all owners and executives.

Independent regulation was one of ten key recommendations made in the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, published by Tracey Crouch last year.

The government have endorsed the report’s recommendation for fans to have a greater role in the day-to-day running of clubs, and action to improve equality and diversity in the boardroom.

Bury Times: Boris Johnson kicks a football at Gigg Lane. Photo: PA Boris Johnson kicks a football at Gigg Lane. Photo: PA

Bury Times:

Speaking to the Bury Times, Mr Johnson said: “I want to pay a massive tribute to the fans of Bury Football Club, the work they put in to get this facility up an running again and the dedication, the commitment to they show to their club, its wonderful to see.

“What this is about is empowering fans, the Tracey Crouch review is about empowering fans and giving us a better chance of saving historic clubs and prevent abuse of the system by people who aren’t fit to be owners or directors and that’s what we’ll be able to stamp out now, as well as giving fans more of a foothold in allowing great, historic football clubs to be protected for the benefit of the community.”

While the Labour Party welcomed the implementation of reform, it says the government’s plans may not come soon enough.

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, Lucy Powell said: “While Labour fully support football reform and a new statutory regulator, there’s no dressing up that this announcement will come as a massive disappointment to fans across the country.

"After a government review and many previous promises to legislate, today’s announcement of a further consultation later this year, and a delay to legislation until at least 2024 is a kick in the teeth to proud footballing communities across England.

“Football clubs are at the heart of communities.

"We need to urgently bring in new laws to stop any more clubs going bust, or being used as a play thing for the wealthy.

“Bury has already collapsed. Derby County is on the brink and has now been relegated. Oldham is out of the football league for the first time in its history.

"Every club that goes under in the minimum two years delay to football regulation will rest on the government’s shoulders.”