A second vote to merge two fan groups may be held as part of ambitious plans to bring professional men's football back to Bury for the start of next season.

Both of the groups want another vote but one of them says the other needs to rebuild trust following the failed merger result two months ago.

In October, members of Bury FC Supporters’ Society (BFCSS) and Bury AFC’s Shakers Community Society were asked by the Football Supporters’ Association to vote in favour of a merger of the two groups in the hope of returning elite men’s football to the town.

The two societies announced the plans in July after the council pledged to provide £450,000 in funding to a unified Bury FC.

The club was expelled from the English Football League (EFL) in 2019 following long running financial difficulties.

If the members of the two supporters' groups voted in favour of teaming up the new society would be called The Football Supporters’ Society of Bury and will be based at Gigg Lane.

But after the votes were counted ahead of a "special general meeting" (SGM) on October 28, it was revealed that 62.9 per cent of the 771 BFCSS members who took part voted in favour of the merge deal, 3.7 per cent short of the two thirds majority (66.6 per cent) needed for it to be successful. 

A huge 94 per cent majority of Shakers Community Society members, equating to 1,003 people, were in favour of the deal.

READ > Plans to merge Bury fans groups to bring professional football back to town fails

Two months on, BFCSS has released a statement after taking "time to assess the result and the surveys" to get a "greater understanding" of voters' thoughts.

It wants to do "everything" it can to ensure Bury FC is playing at Gigg Lane next season and plans to "seek greater collaboration with the Shakers Community Society".

Bury Times: Gigg LaneGigg Lane

BFCSS want a second merger vote "as soon as possible" and "will proactively promote a yes vote" on on the "same terms as voted on last time".

A BFCSS board spokesperson said: "What is apparent is that the overwhelming majority of our members and Bury FC fans are in favour of an amalgamation of BFCSS and Shakers Community Society.

"We have met with the Bury FC benefactors, the FSA, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Bury Council.

"We have noted what other Bury FC supporters, who aren’t members of BFCSS, are saying.

"And we have carefully considered what we need to do to achieve our objectives and to make sure that our football club is sustainable and successful in the long term.

"The town of Bury can only support the success of a single men’s football team and it is only right that this team should play at its spiritual home, Gigg Lane.

"We intend to do everything that we can to ensure that Bury FC is playing at Gigg Lane at the start of next season.

"We have considered our options and so the board intends to seek greater collaboration with the Shakers Community Society.

"Since the expulsion of Bury FC from the EFL in 2019, supporters have differed in their view as to the best way to provide football in Bury.

"There has been division in the fan base, within which different groups have been successful.

"BFCSS in acquiring and maintaining the stadium and the club’s memorabilia and branding, and Shakers Community Society in establishing and managing a football team that carries the name of the town proudly.

"For the club to be as successful as it can possibly be we need to seek to re-unify the club’s supporters.

"We are therefore going to ask the Shakers Community Society whether we can work closely together to realise our vision.

"We propose to undertake a second vote for a merger on the same terms as voted on last time.

"The BFCSS board are all fully supportive of a merger and will proactively promote a yes vote.

"We know that you will have further questions and we will be providing further information in the coming days identifying why we are in favour and advising of all the pitfalls of not amalgamating.

"We will also ensure that we provide opportunities for our members to talk to us and ask questions of us and our stakeholders.

"We propose to hold the new vote as soon as possible so that Bury FC can commence playing at Gigg Lane from the start of the 2023/24 season in front of all its supporters, united as we were in 2019."

But Phil Young, chairman of the Shakers fan group, affiliated with Bury AFC, which was formed in 2019, said he is "disappointed" that the statement was not checked by his members.

He has accused BFCSS of misleading its members during the voting process.

And he added the Shakers group also want a second vote but have "shared with them a number of steps which they must take to repair trust".

Mr Young said: "It’s disappointing that having asked them not to issue further statements about our football club without running them by us first that they have chosen to issue this without the courtesy of notifying us.

"BFCSS misled their members prior to, during and after the vote.

"They were given multiple opportunities to correct this. For this to simply be ignored is not right.

"We have maintained that we are amenable to a second vote but have already shared with them a number of steps which they must take to repair trust with their own membership, never mind with Bury AFC supporters and members.

"These steps have been reiterated by other parties also. We hope they will see the need to be pragmatic, honest and unreservedly apologetic in the first instance."