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Board Elections – June 2020

We have received applications from a total of 12 Shakers Community members prior to closure to applicants on the 3rd May 2020. Those putting themselves forward are looking to take up positions on our first Shakers Community CBS (Community Society Board).

Ahead of the elections due to begin on 2nd June, each member has provided their own personal statement within their application, available (in alphabetical order) for your review below.

Mike Bailey

I am Bury born and bred, and have been a supporter of Bury FC for over 60 years. My first game was in 1958 when my father took me. My father and grandfather were also Bury supporters, so we have 100 years of Bailey family support.

I have been involved in sport all my life, and I have been very pro-active on committees at local cricket clubs, Bury and Brooksbottom for 30 years. I have been very successful in obtaining sponsorships for both of these clubs, and I appreciate the importance of local sport in the community.

My career has been in the finance sector of corporate banking, moving through commercial and private banking. From 2004, I spent 7 years as a director of a limited company, and since 2011 owner of CAVA Finance, a Bury based finance broker helping businesses obtain funding for vehicle and asset purchases. My business background gives me a wide experience of the finance industry, and the ability to work with a wide range of businesses and organisations. My personal attributes are of impeccable honesty and integrity.

I have been involved in a small capacity with the Phoenix fundraising group since its inception last October, and I also have access to some former players.

I have the time, energy, commitment and the business expertise to devote to the board of the Community Shakers Society Ltd.

As a Bury FC supporter for 60 years, I am absolutely passionate about my club. It has been such a massive part of my life in that time, and it’s devastating what the supporters have had to endure over the past 12 months. To ensure the successful rebirth of the football club I believe that Bury AFC is the way forward, and I want to be able to assist in anyway I can to make this a huge success.


Anne Bent

I am a South Stand Season Ticket holder. I first started watching Bury FC with my Dad in 1971.

I was involved, as a very active volunteer, with the SOS campaign, headed by Neville Neville in 2002. We saved the club after a lot of hard fundraising work.

I was one of the founder members of Forever Bury, who were instrumental in the SOS campaign. I was also an active volunteer with Forever Bury in the early years.

I have been involved with the formation of Bury AFC from the outset last summer.

I was the coordinator of the Application Team. We were responsible for the application to affiliate to the Manchester FA, followed by application to NWCL for inclusion in the football pyramid for next season.

I am now a member of the Community Engagement and Application Team. We are responsible for seeking funding opportunities for Bury AFC and for building the football club into the fabric of the community of the town of Bury.

I feel the loss of Bury Football Club and Gigg Lane deeply and think that it is very important that football is returned to the town asap.

We have an opportunity to create a football club that is owned by the fans. I would like to join the board of the CBS and see the priorities as:

  • Our new club must be operated on a sustainable and financially viable basis
  • Major decisions that affect the club must be made by members of Bury AFC, the fans
  • We should be more than just a football club to the town of Bury, we should aim to be recognised as an asset to the whole community.
  • We must endeavour to take ownership of the Gigg Lane stadium and run it on a financially viable basis

I am fortunate in that I have taken early retirement and have the valuable commodity of time to dedicate to Bury AFC.

I am reliable, if I commit to something I follow it through.

I have good organisational skills

I will not let you down.


Darren Bernstein

My first game at Gigg Lane was in 1983. It was ‘that’ game vs Wimbledon on the last day of the season. Despite the disappointment, I’d got the bug and in the subsequent years, Bury FC has given me so much regardless of the ups and downs of the team on the pitch. The friends it’s given me, life lessons and memories. Now with what we’ve all been through I want to do my bit to ensure that senior football continues in the town, preferably and as swiftly as possible to Gigg Lane.

In my professional capacity, I have worked in sports marketing and development for 20 years. I am currently a Regional Manager for The FA, where I work with 9 County FAs to maximise The FAs investment into grassroots football. I’ve been employed by The FA for about 8 years. I liaise with CEOs, Chairs and board of directors and oversee a range of functions such as performance management, strategy development, stakeholder relations and interpret national policy to be implemented on a local level. In a previous role at The FA I was a Business Support Manager, upskilling County FAs to market and communicate what they do in a more effectively.

In addition, I have worked for The Football League for 5 years at Customer Service Manager where I initiated the Family Excellence Awards. Knowledge of the best practice related to this scheme will be critical for Bury AFC as we look to reach out to families to support our new club. Increasing our attendances and lowering the average age of the fanbase is key to sustainability and as a club is something we’ve always struggled to effectively do.

In addition to this, I worked in the community department at Charlton Athletic FC, understanding from the best in the country, how a club’s community scheme can be used to really drive and develop all aspects of the club. I believe this experience will really benefit the club.

Away from football I spent a couple of years as Director of Marketing & Communications at England Squash. My biggest achievement while there was to write the bid and attract the funding partnership to attract the 2017 PSA World Squash Championships to Manchester.

Finally, I have board experience, as I am currently a non-executive director of British Orienteering, where I have sat on the board for the past 2 ½ years.

I’m committed to seeing football return to the town, but passionate about the importance of the club to the community and how I can use my experience to ensure that we position the club as the glue that binds the community and town together.

Ultimately, I share everyone’s vision of seeing a Bury team run out at Gigg as soon as possible and want to work closely with everyone to see this happen.


John Cranshaw

I would like to be considered to stand for election to the board for the community benefit society as I feel I could offer a lot of experience, desire to succeed and passion to the group.

I am 60 years of age currently working within the food and confectionary industry as a design engineer (within my own limited company for over 30 years), offering engineering services to a food processing and confectionary machinery manufacturing company.

I am married to Jane with five grown up children, four grandchildren and currently living in Stacksteads, Bacup.

I am a 3rd generation supporter of 50 years and have 1 son that actively followed Bury FC home and away together and want to give the same opportunity to my grandchildren for being a part of the future football Team within Bury.

My experience within football is varied, playing amateur football at Sunday league level. Whilst acting as manager / secretary / treasurer and fundraiser for over 10 years.

During that time I was asked to be a part of Seedfield sports club initially in a supporting role then when elected to vice chairman of the committee I strove to sustain, develop, diversify and increase its membership within the community.

We offered sport and varied interests to a wide spectrum of groups. During the time I was there I was part of the team that secured a lottery grant from Sport England which enabled the continuation of the club and also improved facilities within. Also we gained financial support from the council after consultation, by way of funding to improve the football pitches and also planning for future Astroturf pitches. Within the club there were able bodied and disabled groups, learning difficulties, young offenders, Bury boxing club, karate groups, archery and football. I was asked to assist the running of the junior football section leading to taking the vice chairman role and assisting with secretary duties as the minute’s secretary.

That junior football group was the biggest part of the sports club within the region of 150 to 200 at any one time with players ranging from a kindergarten, young children and youth players that loved playing, which had structure and a vision for the future.  During that period I was managing a young boy’s team from Under 8s age carrying onto under 14’s (I had a coaching Certificate which has expired and full CRB checked), then assistant manager within another team at a well run junior football club (Elton & Walshaw for 2 years.).

Whilst at Seedfield Sports Club and within the junior football section, I was involved over the years, I think the facilities improved by way of active committee involvement which I was part of and fundraising in various ways such as Sportsman’s dinners and a lottery type of scheme.

I joined the Phoenix volunteer group after long deliberation as to what I could do to help in the gaining football back to Bury, enrolled to the fundraising group and in doing so have had the pleasure of meeting  and worked with some fantastic dedicated people. During this time I’ve assisted with the 1st “audience with” event, which was a huge success financially and in gaining support from persons not involved with the phoenix at the time. We were in planning for other similar / different events until we became locked down into the present situation. Also contacted a number of ex players (with some amount of success) to come along to the gatherings to basically show their support of what the fundraising group are trying to do and engage with supporters old and new. Whilst doing this it became clear that there is much to do in gaining trust back.

I believe I have good listening, communications skills and as being part of a “Team”, would have a lot to offer towards making a success within the time frame.

I would like to be considered for election and if successful I will do my upmost for our club to succeed and prosper in the future and in doing so be able to have a proud 5th generation Cranshaw’s to be a part of. I would still like to continue within the fundraising group come what may but if I am un-successful in gaining election to the society board; I will give my full support to those elected.


Marcel de Matas

I’ve been a Bury fan since 1984 when I first saw Martin Dobson’s ‘Super White Army’ play out an exciting 2-2 draw against Crewe Alexandra at Gigg Lane. I’ve attended regularly since that day including 20 years of exile in West Yorkshire and South Cheshire and have seen some highs mixed with many lows, but my love of the club has never waned. For the last six months I’ve been a volunteer supporting fund raising activities for the Shakers Community Society and for Bury AFC and in that time have seen what can be achieved with a collective effort from passionate, dedicated and talented people.

I like many other loyal and passionate Bury fans believe that the opportunity exists for us to rebuild a strong and successful club in Bury and return football to our community so that we can once again enjoy some of the highs that I have enjoyed for more than 3 decades now. In that regard, I believe that it is essential that we build firm foundations and draw upon the talents, loyalty, and passion that we have within our fanbase. From this perspective, I believe that the skills, experience and expertise built during my 23 year career working in the pharmaceutical industry have the potential to contribute greatly to the future successes of the Shakers Community Society and as result to the subsequent on field successes of our football club over the next few years.

I originally worked in large multinational businesses where I delivered a range of management and scientific leadership roles. Over the past 5 years, I have cofounded and grown a pharmaceutical services business based in Cheshire which has a customer based across the UK, Europe, US and Australia and, which employs 12 permanent members of staff, working alongside 10 associates.

Although I have no background in the world of community benefit societies, I have a strong track record in setting up businesses and international business initiatives from scratch, working to build collaborative networks, engaging with and influencing stakeholders and securing funding from both the private sector and from government sources including international organisations. I have been successful throughout my career in establishing new and successful teams whilst building interest and buy-in for early stage initiatives. I believe that my experiences combined with my passion for our town, community and our football club will be strongly beneficial in helping to build momentum for the Shakers Community Society and for Bury AFC.

Despite the traumas of the last year which followed the elation at Prenton Park in April , I believe there is a great opportunity for us to succeed in bringing football back to our town with everybody engaged and able to make a contribution. I also think that we should be aiming to support community activities beyond Bury AFC through a presence in grass roots football and other sporting events in which members of our community can participate. I am eager to help in any capacity possible and would like in the first instance to play a role on the board of the community benefit society with your support.


Amanda Freeman

Well, where do I begin?

As I have lived and worked in Bury all my life, I believe I should be elected, as I am a familiar, popular face around Bury, mainly because I was a Bury FC fan for 40+ years and up until current times, I followed them, home and away, and made sure that I kept up with what was happening. As too, did my father before me.

I was a Treasureline collector for over 10 years. I helped with organising fundraisers. I also recently helped with the Forever Bury membership drive.

Once I am committed to a project, I remain loyal and I am happy to do any tasks asked of me, providing a flexibility that can help groups to prosper, and I will do my best to achieve what I feel is best for Bury AFC and its supporters, now and in the future.


Michael Howarth

I have been a Chartered Accountant now for 40 years and have run my own small accountancy practice for more than 20 years. Running my own firm has enabled me to acquire the skills and software needed to fulfil the role of treasurer, these include bookkeeping, running payroll, VAT, taxation and preparing accounts.

I am the third of four generations of Bury supporters having been a fan for more than 50 years. My father was from Bury but we lived in Rochdale and I have to admit that when I was younger he took me to other grounds including of all places Spotland (I only liked going there because they had really good meat pies) and Oldham. However the only place that felt like home was Gigg Lane.

It became something of a tradition that when my Dad was working and we had a home game I would catch the train from Castleton to Bury and be met by my Grandad. We would then go to his house have pudding, chips and gravy from the local chippy for lunch and then get the bus to Bury and go to the match. I used to stand in front of the main stand next to the players entrance.

When I was older my Dad and I had season tickets for the South stand and then for the last 15 plus years with my son in the Main Stand.

I wanted the tradition to continue and was looking forward to taking my Grandchildren to matches and was therefore gutted when Bury were thrown out of the league. After hearing of the Phoenix and attending the first volunteers meeting I decided to offer my services to the financial group.

My hope is that together we can build a new club, bring football back to Bury and in the not too distant future get Gigg Lane back in the ownership of the fans. Then maybe we can start making new traditions.


Ian Pearson

I started watching Bury in 1974 as a starry eyed 5-year-old attending games with my Grandfather. He was historically an Oldham fan but believed that you should support your own town team.

Whilst my early years memories are a bit sketchy. One of my earliest highs was beating West Brom 1-0 in front of a packed Gigg Lane. Since this point the have been numerous highs and lows and whilst the lows are in the ascendancy the make the highs sweeter.

When our current financial woes reared their ugly head again, I was sick to my stomach and as news started to become clear that players and staff were not being paid, I started to fear the worse. Like many people I knew deep down the Stewart Day’s figures didn’t stack up but stand guilty as charged of ignoring it to the best of my ability.

The day the horrific news broke that we had been removed from the EFL I walked round like a zombie numb to the core.

I knew then that I couldn’t see the town not have a team and reached out to a group of similar minded fans who were looking at starting a phoenix club. My initial input involved accessing as much information as we could glean on fan owned clubs.

At the first meeting of what has evolved into the Phoenix volunteers I was nominated to head up the fundraising and commercial aspects with Jon Wiggans. We have since delivered a number of events that have brought in valuable income into the funds. We also have lots of plans in the pipeline to raise both the club’s profile in the community and funds.

I have been involved in sales and marketing since Milliken first appeared as kit sponsor and the skills, I have acquired over time enable me to help the club in these areas. I have been heavily involved in the ground-share agreement and have taken a lead role in the selection of a kit manufacturer.

I would like to continue to help the club with the above and also help the community team in there aim of raising our profile in the community and attract new fans.

If I am successful I will give my all to ensure that club we build will always be sustainable and we will once again become an asset the town can be proud of.


Rod Peters

My name may be familiar but my face less so, in which case, I will introduce myself.

I am 63, married to Bev, have children, live in Whitefield, Manchester and retired 5 years from the Civil Service after 41 years (having reached, for a few years the heights of the Senior Civil Service).

I spent 25 years with HM Customs and Excise with the remaining period being with the Crown Commercial Service in Liverpool. This included spells at the Office of Government Commerce working to Sir Peter Gershon and FCO Services. At FCO Services I was a Board Member and managed a team of 100+ covering national boundaries – Hong Kong, India and USA. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (FCIPS), a Chartered Procurement and Supply Professional and have a Masters in the History of Manchester.

So, my background is mainly commercial and, since retiring, I have trained procurement professionals, undertaken major project reviews and assessed candidates entering the Government Commercial Function. I am a magistrate and leisure activities include playing live music in a local 60s covers band.

I have been watching Bury home and way for 36 years so a dyed-in-the-wool Shakers fan as are my three boys. Like all other supporters, I was devastated when the club was ejected out the EFL following the collapse of the takeover deal. For the town of Bury not to have a football club is an absolute disgrace but we now have an opportunity to take matters into our own hands, rebuild, and right the wrong.

Since the expulsion, I joined the Governance Team and over the last six months drafted a number of policy papers.

I believe I have the necessary skills and experience to assist the Shakers Community Society Limited Board and am therefore seeking election.

Commerciality, governance and change management are my key skills having worked for and alongside major government departments during my career. I’m a person who has managed change in both my professional and personal life so feel suitably experienced to deal with the challenges that the role may face.

I will devote myself to work closely with the Board on the transition and all other internal affairs affecting the club. I have strong communication and negotiating skills and will ensure that concerns voiced by society members are brought to the attention of the Chairman and the Society Board.

I am committed to act collegiately and will participate actively and where necessary, engage in robust discussion, debate and challenge on behalf of the entire membership.


David Triggs

My name is David Triggs and I would like to be elected as a board member for the Shakers Community. I have been involved with the group behind Bury AFC as the Legal Coordinator from the outset and would love to continue my involvement. I have dedicated lots of time so far to get the club to its current position and this is something I’d be proud to carry on doing. 

I initially got involved when answering the Supporters Survey as I was desperate to have a football team to go and watch on a Saturday in August 2020 and a team which would never find itself in the painful position we found ourselves in last August. Although we are yet to kick a ball, the journey that Bury AFC has been on gives me great hope and excitement for what lies ahead and I feel I would be a great addition to the board and would do my best to represent the views of the membership and ensure that the values of the club are at the heart of everything we do as an organisation.

I feel that in the last few years of Bury FC, the community foundations which were part of what made me fall in love with the club were, in my opinion, gradually eroded away. My ambition for Bury AFC is for it to be a cornerstone of the local community, not just a football team that plays in the borough once a fortnight. I would be keen to work with other board members to explore how Bury AFC can be more than just a football club and become something that is synonymous with community and togetherness within Bury and beyond.

One of the most important challenges I anticipate the board facing is trying to facilitate the return of Bury AFC to our spiritual home of Gigg Lane. I know how much playing at Gigg means to fans and I endeavour to ensure that exploring all possible options for a return to Gigg is a priority for the Board in these formative years.

I would be proud to represent the Membership on the inaugural board of Bury AFC and would do my upmost to embody the values the club seeks to represent and give a voice to the membership throughout my tenure.


John Woodhead

Firstly, having been born in Radcliffe in June 1967 and raised in the Chesham area of Bury, I have been a supporter of Bury FC since I attended my first match with my father in August 1974.  I have attended matches regularly up to May 2019 and have been a season ticket holder on numerous occasions including purchasing a season ticket for the 2019/2020 season.

Insofar as my qualifications are concerned, I obtained a law degree at the University of Leeds (1986 to 1989) and qualified as a solicitor in November 1992 since when I have specialised in commercial property law with a particular emphasis on acquisition and disposal of land, drafting and negotiating commercial leases and landlord and tenant matters generally.  I spent twenty years of my career (1996 to 2016) working as in “in house” lawyer in the Property Legal department of Halifax plc/HBOSplc/Lloyds Banking Group based in Halifax and re-located from Tottington to live nearer to Halifax in 2008.  I was made redundant by the bank in June 2016 and have held a number of different positions since, including working in private practice, and I am currently employed full time in the Legal Services department of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, this being my second spell in local government after a period of approximately twelve months with Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

As a commercial property lawyer with many years’ experience I have obtained and developed skills and abilities which I believe would assist the Shakers Community Society Limited Board going forward, for example a sound legal knowledge of property law, strong commercial awareness, persuasive negotiating skills, particularly when drafting and settling the provisions of legal documentation, and good communication skills.  I have the ability to look at a particular problem analytically, identify the key issues and come up with an effective solution for resolving those issues and this is a skill which I believe may benefit the Board significantly. 

In terms of available time and enthusiasm, I work two days a week from home, so should be able to allocate the time required on those days, and I live close to junction 24 of the M62 so have no difficulty in travelling to Bury when necessary.  I regard the creation of Bury AFC as an exciting and energising project and I have enjoyed my involvement as a volunteer to date, for example facilitating and attending the meeting with Woodcocks solicitors in December 2019 and attending the volunteers’ meeting at the Stanley Club in January 2020.

If appointed to the Board I would look forward to playing my part in bringing football back to the town in a refreshing, positive and innovative manner, with community engagement at the forefront and with the intention of leaving a legacy for the town of Bury to enjoy for many years to come.  If I am not appointed to the Board I will remain an active member of Bury AFC and will be available to provide assistance as and when required.


Phil Young

I would like to continue my role which has involved the set up and launch of the Shakers Community. I put together the paperwork for the Financial Conduct Authority to approve and authorise us as a Community Benefit Society. As lead co-ordinator of the governance team, I liaised with other teams, the Football Supporters Association and the FA in putting together the policies which govern the running of both the Shakers Community and the football club. I presented the business plan to the FA and League Committee in 2019 and have a good understanding of all aspect of the club’s development.

My background in financial services, regulation and law assisted me in understanding many of the rules and both legal tax implications of operating a Community Benefit Society which owns a football club. In particular, I understand what is required in future if we were to raise significant sums of capital to purchase Gigg Lane or develop our own stadium if that were not possible. I have discussed the mechanics of this with other clubs such as AFC Wimbledon, Dunfermline, Hearts and Portsmouth.

I qualified in Law and went to Law School but have worked throughout my career in financial services. I have experience running several businesses, having sold the one I set up with colleagues 10 years ago to a FTSE100 listed business. I have considerable board room experience and now work part time on the boards of a small portfolio of businesses. I chair two businesses, act as non-executive director in another and board advisory in several others. I work part time now so have the ability to invest time in building the Shakers Community and Bury AFC into a club which surpasses expectations and becomes a focal point of the community in Bury.

If elected, there are a number of things I have begun which I would like to continue:

  1. Develop a plan for Bury AFC’s own ground, preferably Gigg Lane, even if this is a long-term venture.
  2. Finalise a clear long term the plan for the ground and surrounding area which is based on Gigg Lane, but could be built elsewhere. I have already instructed an architect to begin work on the initial proposals.
  3. Grow the current Shakers Community Membership to 1000 members within the next 3 seasons and 2000 members after 5 years. We are already on our way to that.
  4. Ensure the club has the appropriate infrastructure to return to the EFL, which includes an academy, adequate training facilities, and a sustainable financial model.
  5. During the first season, build out the club beyond the first team to include women’s football, junior teams, disability football and other broader social purposes. This could be achieved by co-opting existing teams and services which would benefit from association with Bury AFC.
  6. Engage Shakers Community members as much as possible by encouraging high levels of online voting, voluntary work and general interaction with the club.
  7. Put together a series of board committees packed with bright people to ensure that the problems of the old Bury Football Club never happen again.

I used to sit in the South Stand with my mum. I never got involved at all with the club. When things went wrong, and when I realised that I had the relevant background to help, I decided it was time I did something. I’m a professional chairperson, financially literate and have a good understanding of regulation and law. I’ll stick to the business side of things and leave on the pitch matters to someone else.


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