Bury FC has signed a contract to install a 3G pitch at Gigg Lane this summer.

The Shakers says it understands the frustration fans have aired due to the "poor condition" of the playing surface this season.

And it believes the new pitch will have long-lasting benefits on and off the pitch.

A club spokesperson said: "It is important that we maintain a focus on the long term success of the club.

"An artificial surface means that we can grow the reach of the club by bringing the wider community into Gigg Lane, make the stadium more financially sustainable, and build a base from which all of our teams can train and play, giving players the consistency and familiarity they need to succeed."

The spokesperson added: "The sight and smell of a grass pitch is something we all have imprinted in our footballing DNA.

"Our move to an artificial surface is a rational one, supported by an overwhelming 92 per cent majority of our members.

"That doesn’t mean we don’t recognise the past and our emotional connection to it through places such as Gigg Lane. It is just the start of many ideas and initiatives for the forthcoming months."

The Shakers says payments will be made in phases as work progresses with the initial payment paid by club society reserves with match funding of £300,000 coming from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This will utilise the full £1m from the Community Ownership Fund, the club says.

The council is also contributing £450,000 with the club finalising a community development plan with the local authority.

The plan will lead to the Shakers committing to a "programme of work in the borough designed to maximise community usage of the stadium through a diverse number of initiatives, not just football".

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The club spokesperson said: "Our objective for the new season is to retain a strong balance sheet and drive greater revenue through pitch hire, which will be limited to 50 hours per week to protect the surface over the next eight years.

"As highlighted in our previous statement, a significant amount of this revenue will be allocated to a sinking fund to replace the pitch when required, be it another artificial surface or a return to grass.

"At this stage of the season we know there is a focus on results with the ultimate aim of promotion.

"Football provides us with an opportunity to live in the moment, and we don’t want to dampen the joy that those moments bring to our supporters.

"Off the pitch, however, we remain relentless in our pursuit of a bigger, longer term objective to maximise the potential of the club in all areas."

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With loved ones' ashes scattered around the pitch, the club recognises the importance of the pitch to its supporters.

It will be holding a ceremony at Gigg Lane for anyone who has had the ashes of relatives or friends there to "allow them to say a farewell once more". Details of the ceremony will be announced when a date is arranged.

Up to 500 pieces of turf will also be sold, presented in seed boxes, to raise money for the club and to give fans the chance to "own a little piece of history".

The first pieces bought will also receive a free copy of James Bentley’s book about the club, "Things Can Only Get Better: Bury’s Mid-90s Rise Under Stan Ternent’". 

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There will also be a raffle for the two penalty spots. Further details will follow.

Shirt sleeve sponsors Redfox Countryside Services have also offered its services to help develop neighbouring Starkies Wood, subject to council approval, as part of the club's commitment to being environmentally friendly. 

An "early stage idea" around a commemorative garden using the centre spot has been discussed.