Two fan-led football societies have announced they will hold a second merger vote in an effort to restore professional football in Bury.

Bury Football Club Supporters’ Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’S Shakers’ Community Society announced they would hold another amalgamation vote in a joint statement published today, Tuesday.

The groups say the "sheer weight of opinion in favour of an amalgamation" has encouraged the decision to hold a second vote less than six months after they failed to gain the necessary two thirds majority to unite the two groups.

The initial vote, which took place in October last year saw the proposals fail to pass by just 3.7 per cent.

A large majority of Shakers' Community Society members, 94 per cent voted in favour of the merger in additional to 62.9 per cent of BFCSS members.

Last month, an application by BFCSS to join the North West Counties League (NWCL) was rejected after "concerns" about their business case for the new club. 

In their latest statement, the two groups says that since the previous vote they have "continued to survive but not thrive", adding that a "yes" vote is essential if senior men’s football is to return ahead of the 2023/2024 season.

The statement continued: “We are as committed as ever to making the project of restoring professional football to Gigg Lane work for the benefit of the town.

“It is now even more apparent than ever before that it is not possible unless the two societies agree to amalgamate and work as one football club to make Gigg Lane, and its football team, a true success.

“Only a handful more votes were required to exceed the legal 66 per cent threshold in the previous vote.

"We hope that the stark reality of the situation this time will encourage those who voted positively previously to do so again, and those who voted against the amalgamation to change their minds and vote in favour.”

Not only would a vote in favour of amalgamation allowed for a team called Bury FC to play at Gigg Lane stadium, it would also unlock funding from various groups including the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the council and funds saved by Bury Football Club 2019 Ltd.

The council’s offer of £450,000 in funding remains in place should a merger go through.

Votes will be cast electronically and members will be given a minimum of four weeks to make their decision ahead of an “extraordinary general meeting” on Friday, May 5 during which the result will be announced.