Bury Football Club Supporters Society Update Firstly, we would like to thank all the supporters who turned up to Gigg Lane over the last two weekends to help the clean-up of our wonderful stadium and also provide essential cleaning materials, hardware and refreshments. Bringing supporters together again after such a long and difficult void was truly heart-warming and it has been great to see familiar faces being able to not only contribute to our now fan-owned community asset, but to see them sat in their seats again with friends and family and the sun shining down upon us. New Beginnings for Bury FC As promised, we are trying to be more transparent and provide information in a steady stream as soon as we have something definitive to share. In this statement you will see that we have three key challenges to overcome which we understand will be emotive to many of you. There will always be positive progress and setbacks on this journey. In April of 2021 when we first set out on our quest to save Gigg Lane, Bury FC and all our history along with Intellectual Property, we truly believed that this would be the greatest challenge. There were many obstacles on the path to where we are today and we overcame them. We will continue to face every future challenge head on. Please have faith that we are doing everything to make the restoration of Bury FC at Gigg as soon as possible a reality. League Placement Once we completed the purchase of Gigg Lane the first question supporters asked was which league/division will we be playing in. Unfortunately, our application to join the Northern Premier League has been rejected, for several reasons, including that the league is full to capacity and they do not want to deny a lower team promotion. We continue to explore options to appeal the process or seek avenues into other leagues. Many new and reformed teams have been admitted to a league much closer to the start of the season, so we have by no means exhausted all possibilities. Of course, a combination with AFC does provide an option, which the FA and Bury Council prefer, but AFC would need to want this also. We are fully aware this will need to be handled sensitively to ensure a majority of all supporters are happy with the outcome. There are many supporters who have followed Bury AFC who are emotionally invested in the team and enjoying the success. We also have a significant number of supporters who did not choose this path and their feelings have to be seriously considered to avoid division and alienation. This is not about leadership personalities. It is and must always be about what is best for all supporters. Future use of the Bury FC name Buying the stadium, Intellectual Property and Memorabilia out of administration meant that football creditors to the old regime have not been paid. Whilst some may feel this is unfair, it is not a legal requirement to settle outstanding liabilities when buying just these items out of administration. This means there are currently FA restrictions on when we can use the Bury FC name. We are seeing if there can be a negotiated resolution on this or whether we will have to play under a new name until the day the team can once again compete as Bury FC. Negotiations with Bury AFC On 19th January 2022, Peter Alexander presented our proposal for a possible combination of our efforts with representatives of Bury AFC’s management team, suggesting a member vote on it. Our proposal was based around the German model of 51:49 majority fan ownership of the Ground and the Football Club ensuring the supporters always have the ultimate say on any decisions and the majority ownership always rests directly with the supporters. This structure also retains the benefactors’ involvement to help with stewardship and attract further financial contributions in what is a lifetime commitment. All benefactors are lifelong Bury FC supporters who only want the best for the club and the town. We have not yet received a formal response but Bury AFC did request sight of certain private documents. We agreed to this, subject to them first signing a standard confidentiality agreement which we provided and is still outstanding, as it is from Bury Council, although the FSA and the Manchester City Council have signed it. We are not permitted to have confidential documents circulating publicly and so for matters to progress this agreement is essential. Bury AFC’s management team have suggested in a public statement that they could rent Gigg Lane for next season and delay putting any vote re a merger to a later date whilst discussions about the potential merger continue. There has been no agreement on this. We do not believe that such a rental arrangement would be a positive solution for a variety of reasons. A working group has been formed with Bury AFC, Bury Council, Manchester City Council, the Football Supporters Association and Central Government Community Funding Team to try and find a proposal that can be supported by a majority of members from both Societies. Hopefully this group will be able to drive towards a fan vote, but this needs to happen in a reasonable timeframe to still give us time to build a team for next season if it is declined. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. We are doing everything we can and ask for your help in the short term in the continued work on Gigg Lane and in helping drive membership to the Bury Football Club Supporters Society.