The leaders of two fan-led football societies say "the future is bright" for the sport in Bury after members voted to approve a proposed merger.

Members of the Bury FC Supporters Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’s Shaker’s Community Society voted overwhelmingly in favour to amalgamate the two groups as part of an ongoing effort to return elite men’s football to Gigg Lane.

The vote, the result of which was announced last week, saw BFCSS members vote 90 per cent in favour, while Shakers' representatives votes were more than 90 per cent in agreement with the proposals.

The referendum was the second time the proposals had been put to members. It followed an initial failed vote which took place last October.

Phil Young, chair of the Shaker’s Community Society, said that while there is still work to be done to finalise the merger, fans are anticipating the return of elite football to the town.

READ MORE: Whitefield: YOU MCR named best new salon in the North West

He said: “They’re all just excited about watching football at Gigg Lane, people just want to watch football at a football stadium and everyone’s just really happy and excited about it."

Mr Young added that the process of creating the new society is ongoing, but work to secure the team’s place in the 2023/2024 has already begun.

To secure the result, members must now take part in a second, confirmatory vote which requires a 50 per cent to reach majority and will conclude on Friday, May 19.

The new society must obtain confirmation from the Football Association (FA) to change the club’s name to Bury Football Club ahead of the 2023/2024 season.

He said the new club had received political support from Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who has agreed to write to FA to emphasise his support.

READ MORE: Radcliffe: Double celebration for Abbeycliffe Care Home

Mr Young added: “I think that the one thing I’d ask from members and supporters is just for a little bit of patience between now [and the new season.]

“You’re building a football club for the next 50 years, you’re going to have a bump few months to get to this stage at Gigg Lane, but it will all be forgotten about in time, that the one thing that everyone needs to keep focused on.”

Vice chair of the BFCSS and chairman of The Bury Football Club Ltd, Alistair Rowe, is looking forward to the future.

He said: “There was a mandate from the fans at the first vote but it didn’t quite get across the line.

READ MORE: Fewer Bury families claiming Child Benefit

“So, this time with a bit more effort and pushing, we’ve got it across the line so the future is looking really bright to bring both club’s together."

Mr Rowe said the mood among Bury FC fans is "really positive" and the society has received encouraging feedback since the result of the vote was announced.

He added: “Lots of football supporters from around the country have been very supportive. 

“I think a lot of supporters who have been very quiet, the supporters who didn’t really follow any football for the past four years, if we can bring it back as Bury FC they will see it as their team.

“Hopefully AFC will too, we were all Shakers before.”