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More Progress for Bury AFC

Some good news for Shakers Community members. Firstly, there are now over 500 of you. You’ve put your money where your mouth is and shown an enormous amount of passion and belief to bring football back to Bury, despite every obstacle in our way. You’re an owner of Bury AFC. Secondly, your faith is now being rewarded. The Football Association has approved our membership renewal we are now just waiting for confirmation of our league placing which should come soon.

Welcome to our newest members including a few from overseas, living in Australia, the US, Canada, Dubai, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, and most recently, Barcelona. Bienvenidos!

A very brief word on Bury FC. We don’t yet know the fate of the club and it’s not in our hands, but there will be no celebrations should Bury FC be denied entry into a league, whatever we think of the rights or wrongs of it. A number of Bury fans still hold out hope for the old club and we respect that. We set Bury AFC up in the knowledge that saving Bury FC might not be possible, not because we wanted to see its demise. We all share the same common bond for the club and the town and we hope this will be restored again.

Now, to business.

Football Club Appointments

We have appointed Marcel de Matas to the Bury AFC football club board. Marcel has a wealth of business experience which will complement the existing team and provide some additional support with the operational aspects of running a football club. We will put  details of all key personnel on the website in due course.

Chris Murray and his team are progressing well with the process of appointing a first team manager. We had over 700 applicants, who were whittled down to just over 100 with relevant experience, then 8 on a shortlist for interview. We’ve brought in a number of people with relevant experience to help us, including managers, former players, board members of other clubs and agents. The standard of the shortlist is high. Some applicants were well qualified or well known but inexperienced at the level we will be playing at, which is flattering but we need to make a decision with our head, not our hearts. A member of the Shakers Community board will be involved in the final decision.

We continue to prepare for a September start, knowing this may be pushed back. As we review the detail of our match day operations, we are building a more detailed picture of the support required for the day and will be asking for people to volunteer for these roles once they are finalised.

Heritage Committee

Core to the club’s purpose is to become a fundamental part of the community in Bury. We have lots of ideas but the first step along the way has been the formation of a Heritage Committee which will be led by John Cranshaw. John has a passion for the history of Bury Football Club and organised the Derek Spence event, which has also helped establish links with Blackpool’s heritage volunteers. The Heritage Committee will be tasked with recording, preserving and presenting the history of football in Bury, both recent and ancient, so future generations can enjoy it. We are also exploring the best way to create a unique Heritage Number for every player who wears the Bury AFC shirt, as suggested by Shakers Community member Mark Mason. This has been used in cricket and rugby but seldom, if ever, in football. 

John is assembling a team which includes some of the Bury fans already famed for their contribution towards documenting the history of the club but if you are interested in helping, please email heritage@buryafc.uk with your contact details and we will be in touch in due course.

Audit and Finance Committee

Bury FC’s lack of governance, transparency and accountability over its finances make us acutely aware that we mustn’t repeat this at Bury AFC. We are about to tender for a reputable accountancy practice to produce full audited accounts which will be made available to members. This will come at significant cost to the club but we believe is important to members. Any future change to this requirement can only be made through a member vote. As an additional layer of comfort for members, we will also form an Audit and Finance Committee to provide an independent assessment of the club’s financial position and practices. We are looking for people with significant accountancy experience for this committee and will look outside the club where required. If you do have relevant qualifications and experience and wish to volunteer for this committee, please email shakerscommunity@buryafc.uk with your details.

We also intend to share with members our business plan and are working on the right format for this, as well as preparing to make some adjustments once it is confirmed which league we will be placed in and what the likely start date is, as this will have an impact on our costs and revenue. The draft plan we have worked with to date shows a cost base for the club of around £180,000, however, a large part of that cost base is variable depending on the number of league and cup games played. We can confirm that we are successfully raising revenue against our forecasts where possible, for example we have secured most of the major sponsorship deals available already. Clearly season ticket revenue is a major part of that but in the current climate we have been delayed from releasing tickets.

Please bear with us as we finalise our budgets in July once the new season start date is confirmed. Finally, the kit and badge vote generated a lot of interest with almost 80% of members voting. We are preparing the final versions of the kits including badge and shirt sponsors to unveil as soon as possible, along with pre-order information and options.