Council leaders have reiterated their backing for a merger between two Bury-based football club societies.

The local authority has reconfirmed its commitment to provide £450,000 of funding to Bury FC if members of two fan groups, the Bury FC Supporters Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’s Shakers’ Community Society, agree to amalgamate.

Last month, the two societies announced a second merger vote will take place in the hope of securing the two-thirds majority needed for the proposals to pass and bring football back to Gigg Lane.

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

Earlier this year, Bury FCSS announced an application for join the North West Counties Football League had been rejected. 

In a joint statement by council leader, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, cabinet member for culture and the economy, Cllr Charlotte Morris, and Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Bury North, James Frith, say they are supportive of a second vote.

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They said: “Bringing football back to Gigg Lane has been a goal for all of us since those fateful days in 2019.

"That we all took different routes to get to this point is only human.

“Last October was incredibly disappointing for football fans across Bury, who voted overwhelmingly to support a merger but in a poll that did not quite meet the technical threshold required.

“The merger and vote get our full support once again.

"We were unequivocal then and we remain so now: a merger between the two fan bases is the only way to ensure that Bury FC and Gigg Lane survive and thrive into the future.

“It would be a tragedy if the proud footballing heritage of 138 years that unites fans across our town was lost now due to division.

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“A vote for this merger is a vote for unity and for football in Bury to get back on track.

"We can believe in better times and a return to Gigg to see the Shakers shake again.

“It has taken a lot of hard work from a lot of people to get to this point and we would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this difficult journey so far.

“We were proud to have proposed the £450,000 contribution from the council towards the community stadium proposals and remain committed to delivering this as part of a one club, fan run, community-led future for Bury FC.”