Meet the Bury Football Club Supporters Society 2022 Board of Directors.
Each and every one a lifelong Bury FC fan and 100% committed to getting elite men’s football back at our spiritual home Gigg Lane whilst also pushing forward our community stadium.
Born and raised in Fairfield before moving to Redvales where I spent 10 years of my childhood before moving to Walmsley. My first game I remember was with my father in 1995, before going regularly with my next-door neighbour Tony. From memories of Swansea goalkeeper Willy Geuret getting arrested on top of the 1885 room area, to Bournemouth claiming the points to stay in the league, staying in the league ourselves, to promotions at Chesterfield and Tranmere. We have had many ups and downs as Shakers supporters.
I have been a board member of the society for 10 years, initially helping out with the events and social media aspects before becoming more involved with the society working with everyone involved.
Being part of the initial Est 1885 Group, a director of Forever Bury at the time, and also with 10-years experience of working within the English Football League with clubs who rely on every single supporter through the turnstile and not just the TV money to make ends meet.
My role within the current project is that of Volunteer Operations Director. During my footballing experience I have experience of running football stadium, commercial and retail revenues, maintenance programmes, bar and kiosk along with employing over 55 members of staff on matchdays. As part of the benefactors takeover I was asked if I could support the schedule to get the stadium operational, which has involved a full stadium safety certificate, licensing applications, new CCTV, pitch renovations and looking to ensure the stadium in each capacity is sustainable for the community.
Since the ground became operational in April 2022, we have held film shoots, grassroots and community games, local school cup finals, Sunday league finals, Bury FC Women fixtures as they returned home for the first time since 2019 and also a Bury FC Legends game with a record attendance of 2,885. As part of the planned sustainability programme we are in talks to host more and more events using the stadium, which each area will be managed and a sustainability programme compiled.
Gigg Lane Community Stadium is the 11th Oldest Stadium in the Footballing pyramid and it has a huge charm, magic moments, memories for all the family from grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren. This stadium should be here for another 137 years and beyond and doing this sustainable community model will ensure that there will be many more magic moments to share with the family.
Going forward I wish to assist the implementation of the sustainability model for Gigg Lane, to not only disperse the rumours of large costings but to also show that a model can be achieved for a sustainable fan owned community stadium. Following this an elite mens football team that can unite the full fanbase, those that haven’t supported a team since July 2019 and those Bury fans who have been watching alternative sports and teams to keep themselves occupied.
I am a lifelong Bury FC fan having started watching them from the mid-1980s with my father. From the mid-1990s I barely missed a game for the best part of 20 years watching them all over the country each weekend. Since becoming a father I have encouraged my 2 children to attend to carry on the family tradition.
Outside of football I am a Director of Cheetham Hill Construction Ltd and a qualified Civil Engineer. I joined them in 1997 and have risen through the ranks from a Site Engineer to my current position through hard work, dedication, and professionalism. My career has taught me the importance of how to run a business successfully, managing people and keeping a close eye on cost and value. For a business to survive it must have good systems and cost management. I believe this will be vitally important for Bury FC going forward. The days of speculate to accumulate can never be repeated and the club must be run sustainably each year going forwards. I believe my experience in this regard will be a good asset for the Society.
Due to CHC’s long-standing ties with the club (CHC rebuilt the ground in the 1990s and the owner’s family were the largest private shareholders for a long time), I was requested to provide construction, programme and budget advice for the necessary improvement works by the consortium that were looking to purchase the ground in late 2021. This advice enabled the Government to provide the £1m grant that allowed the Society to purchase the stadium and since then I have been heavily involved with the volunteer weekends, improvement works, community use of the stadium and matchday operations.
I am currently a co-opted society board member and am project managing the capex works, liaising with architects, the local council and police, the FSA and contractors as necessary to progress the works for the benefit of the whole community. My connections with Bury Council enabled Gigg Lane to be offered as a storage facility for donations for the Ukraine when short term space was needed and has enabled community links to the be formed that will be long-lasting.
I believe I can play an important role in Bury FC remaining profitable as they re-establish themselves as a football club whilst providing an asset the community can use 24/7.
I have been a Bury FC supporter since the age of 6 when I was taken by my Foster carer to the Home match against Darlington in October 2005 when we won 1-0 and instantly fell in love with Gigg Lane. At the time I was living on Grasmere Drive so was very close to Gigg Lane anyway and in a difficult period of my life being able to go and cheer on the Shakers was all I wanted. Although I moved away from the Bury area due to personal reasons I continued to support Bury FC and always have since going to games as and when I could due to my refereeing commitments.
I love our club and our stadium and it has been amazing to welcome supporters back into Gigg Lane and even supporters of other clubs too and I think the future can be very bright for Bury FC providing we follow what our members decide as they are why we are here as board members to ensure the best decisions are made with our football club something which I am proud to have stuck by our club through very difficult times.
I feel now we can focus on the future of Bury FC which I believe is in very safe hands and I will strive to ensure our members are listened to and that is why I am on the board and will do my absolute best to ensure every Bury FC supporters opinion is taken into consideration as we build back our family supporter led club. I am very proud to be on the Board of BFCSS and it is an honour to be able to contribute in anyway I can for our club.
I am a father of two boys who now can’t wait to be able to support the mighty shakers back at Gigg Lane and I love that my children want the same as me and many shakers all over and that is the main objective right now for us all to focus on and follow through on our members decision when the vote takes place which we will all do together collectively for Bury FC.
Details to follow.
My name is Karl Lee and im a current board member of Bury FC Supporters Society. I am also Managing Director of a £30m+ turnover Print Manufacturing Group called Mail Solutions.
I wish to continue the work I have undertaken in the previous two years with Bury FC Supporters Society. We have achieved a lot these last few years in obtaining the stadium for the community which I have played an integral part in. I have a great network of support that the Society benefits from, and I have built a good relationship with the COF for which we are currently successfully claiming match funding towards the renovations project at Gigg Lane.
Using my business experience I would like to now to assist to stabilise the football club, and help to create solid foundations for the future of football and community sport in Bury. I have also been heavily involved in the working group meetings with the aim of bringing football together in Bury, and are currently in the process of obtaining council funding towards the project.
My love for Bury FC runs deep, and my family have enjoyed being supporters of the club for generations. This was and still is my motivation to ensure that Football continues in Bury for future generations.
I am John Liotti, I have been a Bury Football Club season ticket holder for over 30 years until the unexplained happened back in May 2019. My family have a long-standing relationship with Gigg Lane Stadium through providing window services, door maintenance and purchasing of hospitality and sponsorships through Trident Windows for over 40 years.
I am now a business director in construction and operations and have been involved with the event working group at Gigg Lane since March 2022. As part of the working group we have as a business donated over £15,000 worth of new windows and doors from the vandalization of the stadium. I am at the stadium most weekends undertaking the clean-up to keep on top of the stadium repairs, scheduled works and to assist with the success of running games and assisting within the food and drink kiosks.
As a supporter of Bury Football Club and as a local resident to the town, I know as a business owner what Gigg Lane can bring to the town, from additional matchday revenues to local businesses, the town of Bury and also the income for outside people visiting our famous Bury Market.
I would like to offer my support and experiences in organisation, planning, preparation for the operational side of the stadium with events, matchdays and logistics. I have over 10 years experiences through business ownership, sales managements, KPI targets and improvements along with increasing the overall business turnover.
Bury Football Club has meant, and continues to mean so much to me. Having been taken to Gigg Lane as a four year old in 1989, attending home and away matches every week with my Dad and three brothers, as well as my nephew in more recent years, it has been a joy to support the club for almost my whole life. The chance to share incredible ups and also some significant downs with my family, and friends from the fanbase made during all that time, has been an honour and a privilege.
Since May 2021, I have been actively involved with the Est. 1885 group, dedicated to bringing our beloved football club back playing football at Gigg Lane. My role with this incredible group of committed and hard-working Bury fans, has been to chair the meetings, taking notes, as well as helping with media appearances when necessary.
In addition to these areas, I believe I can offer some Human Resources expertise, having worked professionally in this area since 2013. My strengths lie in working with people, to work towards common goals, which will be crucial in progressing towards our objectives in bringing the club back, and the fanbase to be united.
I am very proud of what has been achieved through Est. 1885, the benefactors and the Society so far, but know there is so much more work to be done. With our supporters coming together to drive our fan-owned club forward, we can achieve wonderful things.
Whether I am appointed to the board I not, my support for the Bury FC Supporters’ Society’s aims and objectives in bringing Bury FC back at Gigg Lane, will not change. Whatever my role, I will work as hard as possible for our glorious fanbase and club.
I’ve watched Bury FC home and away ever since my first game in 1989 aged 7. It was a 6–0 win against Huddersfield Town but my dad warned me that it wouldn’t always be this good! Yet over the next 30 years I’ve loved all the highs and lows. I started to get involved with the media team under Gordon Sorfleet and provided commentary for Tower FM as well as analysing data for OPTA on all home matches.
Since we were cruelly expelled from the EFL, I’ve become more actively involved with the society and Est. 1885. This has involved weekly meetings and countless additional tasks to help ensure that we successfully purchased the stadium, IP, history and memorabilia of our beloved club. It was a joy to operate the turnstiles for the womens’ games, and to volunteer in any way possible in getting Gigg back to a stunning condition. I’ve been helping the media team for both the society and club social media accounts and would love to continue this in the future. As a board member I could offer my media expertise as well as the ability to put the club first and help in any way practicable. The fans will be at the forefront of our return, and I’d love to be part of that for the society.
My name is John Raftery and I wish to put forward my name to be considered as a new board member for the Bury Football Club Supporters Society.
I am 64 years of age and have been a supporter of Bury FC since the mid-1960s. During that time apart from watching hundreds of matches both home and away watching the Shakers I have made many friends who share my passion for watching our local team both local and country wide.
Like many Bury supporters I enjoyed some fantastic days with my family, son Martyn, and brother-in-law Malcolm, cheering on our club. Our fanbase became an extended family to me.
I was a founder member of the Forever Bury Fans Football Club which encouraged Bury supporters to put on a Bury kit and represent our club in friendly matches against other like-minded supporters around the country on Saturday mornings before the Bury game in the afternoon. This was supported by Directors of Bury FC and helped to spread the name of our good club.
Like all Bury supporters (and true football followers) I was devastated when the English Football League (EFL) decided to make an example of our club and expelled us from not only the Football League but the Football pyramid. Although I haven’t seen them play, I have watched (from the side-lines) with interest the rise of Bury AFC. The success of the club both on the field but especially off the field highlights to me what can be done with true fan engagement.
However, I believe the success of EST and Forever Bury plus various benefactors in obtaining Gigg Lane, the spiritual home of Bury FC now gives us an even greater opportunity to go forward with a supporter / benefactor model that will eventually succeed in gaining Bury FC its rightful place back in the Football League.
This journey will not be easy, there are many obstacles to overcome along the way, but it is achievable especially with more fan involvement.
My name is Alistair Rowe, I have lived in Ramsbottom for the past 34 years. A professional photographer, I have run my own business for 20 years.
For me, following football on a weekly basis is part of the DNA of where I come from, it’s part of our identity and our shared history. We wanted our son to grow up with that feeling too. We took him to watch the Shakers on Saturday afternoons, he is now 21. The match day experience is completely different to watching games in any other way. The friends we have met and times we have shared together have been missed over recent years.
When the club was expelled from the league, I saw the effect it had on the supporters and community. How it affected those close to us, I felt it myself and saw how it affected my son. The helplessness we all felt at the injustice of the situation and the negative impact it had on everyone’s mental health.
The past few years have increased our awareness of the importance of community and mental health. What is being created at Gigg Lane and the return of mens elite football will be a huge boost to the well being of individuals and the community.
Since the acquisition of the club from administration I have documented the events surrounding Forever Bury, Est1885, Gigg Lane and Bury FC.
Many of you will have watched our interview videos, watched the Q&A sessions, seen my pictures on the BFCSS website and on social media. While talking to fans, I have gained a unique feeling for the club. The fan owned model is so exciting for the future of football, protecting what we all love. The work that has been done is outstanding showing commitment from benefactors and fans alike.
I wish to be elected to the BFCSS board to promote effective communication, ensure continued improvement in mental health for all fans and the wider community and to bring back elite football to Bury.
I want to ensure the development of our fan owned club and community stadium, taking us forward into a viable, secure and sustainable future.
In my view, what Bury FC means to the fans is one thing, family. The shared experience and history together. Mums, Dads, sons, daughters, grandparents, friends and those who have passed, it’s our history, Bury FC history.
I’ve ran my photography business in Ramsbottom for over 25 years. As a young child in the 1970’s, I would often get a lift to Gigg Lane with `Pat Howard` and was lucky enough to enter the stadium through the players entrance to spend the afternoon watching my hero’s. Fast forward 40 years: myself, my dad (who sadly died shortly after the last Tranmere game) and my son were still watching Bury as season ticket holders.
After Bury went into administration, I wanted to help in anyway I could, so put my name forward to ‘EST1885’ and ‘Forever Bury’ offering my services. We are now working as a team to get Gigg Lane and Bury FC functioning as not only a club but as a valued community asset.
My role within Bury FC Supporters’ Society is as an integral part of the media team: taking the official images and videos of games, fans, staff, teams, helping monitor and post across social media platforms and respond to questions and emails. I personally have also created and manage the Society website, adding content, posting blogs, keeping fans informed of current events. It’s my mission to change the way the Supporter’s Society is viewed by fans. In the past it had the reputation of being ‘out of touch’ with the fanbase, so both myself and the media team try to post as much relevant content, from fan and benefactor interviews to updates on the stadium renovations. The club is “fan owned” so it is essential we keep members informed so they feel connected to the club.
As for my future at Bury FC Supporters’ Society and Bury FC? I am committed to seeing elite men’s football back at Gigg. There will be obstacles and disagreements within the club and the fanbase, but I know we are all committed to the same goal – more MK Dons thrillers and Tranmere promotions. Six months ago we bought the shell of a football ground; we now have a thriving community stadium hosting football competitions and events. There are many more exciting events planned for the next few months and I feel privileged to be part of the team committed to pushing BFC & BFCSS forward. Decisions I make will solely be in the best interests of the club and will make these using not only my 25 years business experience but also as a lifelong `SHAKER`.
Bury FC is a huge part of my family’s life. My Dad passed on his love for the club to me from a young age. It is more than just football, it’s quality time with loved ones, the community spirit and the huge array of emotions you experience every season.
I work for Bury Employment Support and Training. We support disabled and disadvantaged adults into meaningful employment. Since April, we have volunteered each week to help with the clean-up. It has been amazing to help involve the community. It was important to me to include our customers who had never been to Gigg Lane in the hope of building the fan base further.
A part of my job is to engage the community. We are a self-funding service so rely heavily on donations from the public. To do this I approach businesses of all sizes and other community groups to build trusting working relationships in the hope of using their facilities, to provide training opportunities for our service users or gain donations. We provide evidence of the benefits they can gain too and keep open lines of communication throughout. As a result, I could offer support in how to keep our local community involved and invested. I could offer ideas on generating extra income, assist with planning fund raising events and ideas on how to promote this. My job role means I have a wide knowledge on a range of disabilities so could offer advice to ensure our disabled fans have the facilities needed in each event held.
I’ve also been fortunate to have grown up watching my parents run businesses within the pub trade. They would take on a failing pub and plan to turn the business round within 12 months. This allowed me to learn what it takes to build a business, to adapt in tough times, how to attract new income and how to build a successful business. This experience benefitted me in my current role and I feel it would if I was successful with this application.
The biggest thing will always be my passion for the club. I would put my all into every situation. I would be able to view each scenario from a fan and a business perspective. I would be honoured to be a bigger part of seeing our club become what it deserves to be once again.