A Bury football fans group has made an application for a team to join the league system next season and play at Gigg Lane, its board members have said.

In a statement published on the Bury Football Club Supporters' Society (BFCSS) website, the BFCSS board confirmed it had submitted an application for a team to join the National League System.

The system is the structure of senior men’s football that operates directly below the English Football League (EFL).

The move was taken in the hopes of ensuring the return of men’s football at Gigg Lane stadium for the 2023/24 season.

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Bury Football Club was formerly a part of the EFL before it was expelled in 2019 following long-running financial issues.

The statement said: “To ensure elite men’s football at Gigg Lane in the 2023/24 season we have submitted an application for the National League System.

“Following meetings with the chairman of the relevant leagues last year, we sought additional advice and guidance from other longstanding clubs throughout the National League System on the appropriate evidence required.

“We do not anticipate formal response back from the leagues until promotion, relegation and league amendments have completed.

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“We can assure our members that the application is a very complex process and an in-depth application has been completed along with support from individuals and other non-league clubs who have assisted with our budget plans.”

BFCSS says it remains in favour of holding a second merger vote with Bury AFC’S Shakers’ Community Society (SCS) as a means of securing the return of men’s football to Gigg Lane.

It said that the application could be withdrawn at any time before March 31, should a new vote take place.

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In response to BFCSS' announcement, SCS said that that it expects that confirmation would be received this week, should the application be rejected. 

Proposals to merge the two fan-run societies failed narrowly in October last year after 62.9 per cent of BFCSS members who took part voted in favour of the merger, 3.7 per cent short of the two thirds majority (66.6 per cent) needed for it to be successful.

More than 1,000 Shakers’ Community Society members, 94 per cent of those who took part in the vote, were in favour of the deal.