Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has thanked campaigners for bringing football back to Gigg Lane.

Bury FC was expelled from the football league in 2019 after financial difficulties, leaving the club in limbo.

In December 2021, Mr Gove confirmed the government would be handing over £1m to Bury FC Supporters Society, otherwise known as Forever Bury, with the Community Ownership Fund, to secure the historic ground's future.

Since then plans have moved forward, and in May members of Bury FC Supporters Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’s Shaker’s Community Society voted overwhelmingly in favour of merging together.

The referendum was the second attempt that the groups made to amalgamate as part of an ongoing effort to restore professional men’s football to Gigg Lane, the former home of Bury FC following the expulsion of the historic club from the English Football League in 2019 after ongoing financial issues.

The council welcomed the result of the vote and will provide £450,000 to help with the new group's plans.

After four years of despair for Shakers fans, competitive football is now back at Gigg Lane with Bury having kicked off the 2023/24 season in the North West Counties Football League.

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In a social media video posted on Monday, Mr Gove said: “I just want to wish Bury FC and its supporters all the best for the next season.

“It’s great that the club is back at Gigg Lane after four years and I just want to say thank you to all the campaigners who’ve helped to make this happen, and in particular to James Daly (Bury North MP) who’s been there throughout.

“The Shakers have a great history and I hope you will now have a brilliant future ahead of you.

“And I look forward to Bury FC securing promotion this season, next season and every season thereafter until you are back at the very top.”

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Mr Daly added: “A big thank you to Michael for everything he did to make sure Gigg Lane was saved for the people of our town, together with everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure Bury Football Club returned to their historic home.”

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