“This football club has a social impact for the people in our town. It’s part of being a human being, sharing things together – sharing great moments and also bad moments. But that’s part of life, isn’t it?”

These words were recently said by Jon Dahl Tomasson, manager of Blackburn Rovers and in my view were the most insightful comments on the relationship between a football club and the community in which it sits that I have ever read.

This week we had the brilliant news that a unified Bury Football Club will return to Gigg Lane for the start of the 2023-24 season four years after being kicked out of the football league.

It has been a long journey and I thank every single person who contributed to an outcome that many thought impossible.

The circumstances that led to expulsion in 2019 have been debated at length and lessons must be learnt.

I am pleased that a new independent regulator will oversee the sport in England and is set for the beginning of 2024-25 but it will be judged on its ability to protect fans from the actions of unscrupulous owners.

Football clubs are not businesses in the sense that Tesco or Sainsbury’s are.

They are part of a person’s identity and an inheritance from a previous generation.

Those who pick their football clubs as a form of academic exercise based on their success or how much money they spend are surely missing out on something special.

Those who attend Gigg Lane next season, like all those who have gone before, will go through many emotions but nothing else can put thousands of people together in one place within the town of Bury for a positive, collective experience that in every way benefits those who are present but also the businesses and jobs that feed from it.

Football clubs represent communities, the players and manager will change but the name of the town or city does not.

Bury is a very different place now to when the club was established in 1885 but the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those first fans 138 years ago are no different to those of today.

The existence of Bury FC is and always has been a reassuring symbol of the great town in which it sits and whether we like it or not is part of the identity of everyone who is born, has lived or has any link to our area.

Politics works best when it is driven by those who have pride in the area where they live and a passion to make it the best place it can be.

Until my dying day, I will be proud of the part I and the Conservative government played in saving Gigg Lane for the people of Bury as I believe it will be an everlasting force for good, benefitting the lives of not only the fans of today but those who are not yet born who will now have the chance to watch the mighty shakers again.