Bury FC football fans are being encouraged to get behind a plan to bring professional men’s football back to Gigg Lane to create a community asset.

Under a proposal from the supporters’ societies and the council, fans will be asked to back a merger of Bury Football Club Supporters Society Ltd (BFCSS) and Shakers Community Society Ltd (Shakers) to bring Bury FC back to its spiritual home.

The proposals are currently out for consultation with the members of the two football societies.

If subsequent votes by the members of both societies approve the plan, it will pave the way for Bury FC to return to Gigg Lane in time for the 2023/24 season.

A merger would lead to the council providing £450,000 which would in turn release additional grant funding of a further £300,000 from the government.

Cllr Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture and the economy at the council, said: “This is a unique opportunity to create a true partnership of fans, central and local government and private investors.

“We want a fan-owned community club giving the people of Bury - of all ages, genders and ability - the opportunity to play football.

“Having a sustainable financial plan is a crucial part of this, ensuring that the club and ground have a stable and viable long-term future.

“We are willing to put in a substantial sum to make this happen, but we do have a responsibility to make sure that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.

“The business case under a merger unlocks funding, which will give the best opportunity for success.”

A key part of the business plan is to boost income by providing community facilities, such as a gym, multi-use space and a 3G pitch, ensuring the use of the stadium outside match days.

Cllr Morris added: “It is, of course, up to the members of both football societies to decide if all this goes ahead.

“But I would urge all supporters to read the proposals carefully and get behind them – this is the best way to bring professional football back to Gigg Lane, support many local small businesses, and bring real benefits to the whole community.”