Below are some of the most frequently asked questions. We will add to this list as we progress rebuilding our club and stadium. If you have any enquiries not covered please make contact using the dedicated page – HERE
The Bury Football Club Supporters Society was the original entity when the supporters’ society was created but adopted Forever Bury as their name at the time for their marketing campaign. Following the acquisition of Gigg Lane, the model of BFCSS is not just for fundraising. It now also owns a valuable community asset in Bury. The BFCSS board voted to revert to the original name to assist with the new identity and status.
The Society was formed in 2002, when Bury Football Club entered administration.
The society was formed to give the fans a voice in their club and raise funds to buy shares held in trust for its members. This led to them eventually holding 507,898 shares which at one time led to a 14% stake holding in the club. One of the main fundraising events was a successful annual beer and cider festival which generated a net £176,012.
The plans are to have an elite men’s and ladies team playing at Gigg Lane as soon as amalgamations can be agreed.
Grass roots, local sides will also be available to hire the superb pitch.
We are looking to house a community access gymnasium at Starkies, which will have superb views of the pitch.
The grass pitch will eventually be replaced depending on timelines into a 3G one.
Other sports will also be considered within the facility.
For the internal of the main stand, we will look to house a larger function room due to the mortgage on the current social club.
We have rooms available to hire for office space, physio rooms, medical rooms, PT space, hot desks and we are looking at the possibility of a community café.
That comprises community football teams, mens, womens, youths, walking, disability, every type and every level. But it’s about far more than football.
Gigg Lane will be a community hub for social events, business events, weddings, adult education, skills training, gym usage, other sports beyond football, NHS, college apprenticeships, and thousands of things we haven’t even thought of yet.
All ideas are welcome.
When we bought the stadium on the 18th Feb 2022, no one would have thought that a week later we’d be helping with the Ukraine crisis – but that’s what has happened.
Gigg Lane is an agile and cost efficient space for all communities local and further afield.
The principle is very simple, supporters will always have the majority say, the casting vote in all decisions. The benefactor’s contribution is a lifelong commitment, there is no ability to withdraw it and there’s no dividends. This structure ensures those people who have contributed their savings always remain involved, provide stewardship, attract other benefactors, help with further grant funding and provide technical expertise.
Without benefactor involvement we wouldn’t be where we are today and in future the club’s development and sustainability is restricted.
Without benefactor involvement the ability to raise capital and grow is severely limited to recycled profits and grants. Today the stadium is owned by a company limited by guarantee, which was essential to secure the government funding.
Companies limited by guarantee do not have shareholders – they have members. The company that owns the stadium has two members, BFCSS and Bury FC Benefactors Limited. So, the ownership of the stadium is technically 50:50, but within the articles it is set in stone that the chairman can only be from BFCSS and BFCSS have the casting vote in any decisions. The members of the supporters’ society are always in ultimate control. As an operational football team is established, hopefully in a merger with Bury AFC, this would likely be a company limited by shares, sitting alongside the company owning the stadium. This company would be owned 51:49 with all the same rules and principles – fan majority say, no debt, no dividends, always sustainable.
Every member of BFCSS. For as long as you are a member you are an owner. At the time of writing this there are 1050 members of BFCSS which own 50% of Gigg Lane. Let’s say the stadium is worth £1.5m, right now every BFCSS member has an approximately £400 ownership stake in the stadium. Not bad on a £10 membership. Obviously, you can’t cash it in or sell it, but the supporter’s ownership is real.
It’s not a fee, but if someone wants to contribute say £25k or more as a new benefactor, then providing they pass our governance checks then their contribution dilutes the ownership interest of the benefactors.
Nothing can ever dilute the BFCSS ownership.
We welcome new benefactors, the benefactors want to be diluted by real cash now that shares the financial burden.
The benefactors’ contribution is a lifelong commitment, there is no ability to withdraw it and there are no dividends.
The 100% fan owned model has limited ability to raise capital. Without capital we couldn’t have accessed the government match funding to buy the stadium.
Without capital you can’t build a new stadium or buy an existing one.
Reinvested profits will take decades to generate the capital required.
The 100% fan-owned model is entirely reliant on grant funding, and accessing millions of pounds will be exceptionally difficult with all the town’s competing economic priorities.
The members of BFCSS would have to vote to sell.
BFCSS ownership cannot be subdivided. We can’t think why the members would ever vote for that hence the BFCSS owned portion is secure forever.
As a company limited by guarantee the BFCSS would have to opt to sell its membership.
The benefactors have zero desire for this and zero ability to do it. The supporters’ society are always in control.
Bury FC and Bury Football Club were the trading name of the company in administration. This was a precedent established over 100+ years. That is classed as an asset, the intellectual property of the company.
This is what we have acquired so the name now belongs to the new company jointly owned by BFCSS and Bury FC Benefactors Limited. However, it is important to recognise that the use of the name Bury FC in the football league is controlled by the FA, so whilst we legally own the trading name, we need the FAs permission to use it in the football pyramid, their guidelines are 3 to 5 years.
This is a work in progress.
Following a shareholder meeting on 31st March 2022, shareholders voted in favour of a name change to allow the complete acquisition which included the name The Bury Football Club Company Limited to transfer to BFCSS.
BFCSS now have the company name, intellectual property, history, memorabilia and Gigg Lane.
The old company has been renamed and is still in administration. We can’t change that and there’s no way that we can settle the large amount of debts in the company. As things stand, it is therefore likely that it will eventually be liquidated.
It’s immensely sad for the genuine creditors, but we have finite resources and can only prioritise the future and particularly the restoration of Gigg Lane.
It gives us the thread to the history of Bury FC. The direct line of ownership back to the original club. It’s been in the hands of many owners, good and bad, now it’s held by the fans. Custodians for life.