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Football Board – Who’s Who

As announced in February 2021, the football board of Bury AFC was the subject of a formal restructure in accommodating the newly-formed women’s team from the start of 2021. This board will oversee the running and operation of the ‘elite’ footballing side of the club, namely the men’s and women’s first teams but expanding to the associated reserve and academy teams in the future. The recreational side of the club, currently extending to Vets and Walking Football teams, will come under the newly formed Bury AFC Community Trust (more details to follow on this).

Restructures are co-ordinated by the Shakers Community Board (CBS) on behalf of its members and are reflective of the changes anticipated to take place throughout the new 2021-22 season and beyond. As growth in the club increases, further changes can be expected to the below structure to allow for the appropriate coverage of all aspects.

Please read on to find out about the current board and what they are bringing to their relative roles:

Marcel De Matas – Chairperson

I am a Bury fan of nearly 37 years having attended my first match at Gigg Lane in 1984 to watch Martin Dobson’s team, including the likes of Craig Madden, Wayne Entwistle, Leighton James and Winston White, push the team to promotion from the fourth division. I’ve attended Bury games regularly as a season ticket holder for many seasons since, including 20 years of exile in West Yorkshire and South Cheshire. I witnessed the one and only trip to Wembley and the numerous other play-off disappointments, but also the six promotions during that period.

I returned to live in Bury with my family in 2011, where over the past five years I have co-founded and grown a pharmaceutical services business based in Cheshire. The business has a customer base across the UK, Europe, US, and Australia and employs 20 permanent members of staff, working alongside 10 associates. I originally worked in large multinational businesses where I delivered a range of management and scientific leadership roles.

Following the demise of Bury FC, I got involved with the “Phoenix” club preparations as a volunteer on the fundraising team and stood for election to the Shakers Community Society board (CBS) in June 2020, following the establishment of Bury AFC. Despite being an unsuccessful candidate in the CBS board elections, I was invited onto the Bury AFC football board following acceptance of the club into the North West Counties Football League in July 2020 and now chair the board following the recent restructure, combining this role with overseeing the co-ordination of our volunteers and other matchday activities.

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Casey Lynchey – Vice-Chair / Head of Women’s Elite Team

I grew up in Leith, Edinburgh and was a football fan from a young age, following my local team, Hibernian. I moved to Bury in 2001 with a young family, and soon became involved with youth football and took an interest in my local team, Bury FC. I coached numerous youth football teams and was vice-chairperson at Walshaw Park JFC. During this time I also trained to be a primary school teacher and my first post involved the role of PE co-ordinator. As my career progressed and I gained promotion to school leadership, I stepped away from managing youth football.

In 2019, I took part in a national charity football match, the education version of Soccer Aid: “EduFootyAid”. This made me realise how much I missed coaching and I decided I wanted to coach and return to playing too. I set up a football session for a few fellow teachers and friends, most of whom had never played before and I began to coach them. Word spread and within weeks I was being contacted regularly by people wanting to join us. We affiliated with Bury FC Community Trust and soon after, Bury FC Women Vets was born. Numbers continued to rise and within a year, and despite going into the first lockdown, we welcomed our 100th member. I rely on assistance from several other volunteers to help with the coaching, which led to the forming of the club’s committee.

Following discussions with the Shakers Community (CBS) Board late last year, it was clear that we shared the same values and ethos. Plans were made for the Women’s Vets teams to affiliate with Bury AFC, thereby creating the building blocks for the Bury AFC Community Trust to grow. Since joining the club, participation in the recreational and walking teams has grown further. Our Friday night sessions at Goshen can see 80 or more women, of all ages and abilities, taking part in football training sessions and matches. Many are interested in the development of Bury AFC and have signed up as members of Shakers Community as part of this.

Again our shared values led to discussions about establishing a women’s elite team, something I was really excited to be part of. Months of planning is finally coming to fruition and already we are building a strong group of players and staff. I am proud to be part of Bury AFC and am keen to help both the men’s and women’s teams in any way I can. I took on the FA Charter Standard application that we were recently awarded and I am looking forward to watching the club continue to flourish, but even more than that, being able to watch both the men’s and the new women’s teams playing some eagerly anticipated football!

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Gareth Castick – Vice-Chair / Head of Men’s Elite Team

I have supported Bury FC since I was a young child and many of my happiest memories were sitting in the South Stand watching Mark Carter and Sgt Stant.

I have been involved in the set-up of Bury AFC since December 2019. With a background in Probation and Community partnerships, I was initially involved in developing community connections and safeguarding through the initial stages of the club development. Over time this role has evolved and on the formation of this football board in July 2020, I was invited to join to continue in this role. As we moved towards the start of the 2020-21 season, I worked closely with Marcel De Matas on the development of our matchday operations, working alongside all the volunteers, co-ordinating activities and learning, and developing the various roles required to deliver a safe and enjoyable matchday experience.

This has involved developing a close relationship with security partner Taurus, to ensure that our safety and security requirements are met. One aspect key to getting games on last season was our approach to COVID-19 and I played an active role alongside Helen Richardson and Marcel in developing our response and policies in this respect.

Moving forward I will be taking on more of the football operations responsibilities linked to the Men’s Elite Team in my role as Vice-Chair, whilst continuing to work on our matchday operations set-up and delivery.

Our objectives over the next season are to continue to grow the fanbase and membership, plus successfully integrate the elite women’s team into the club, along with achieving promotion from each of the elite team’s respective leagues.

It is a really exciting time to be involved with the club as we continue to expand and grow. I cannot wait to be able to see everyone on the terraces again as soon as we can.

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Ian Coyle – Secretary

I have been a Bury fan for almost 30 years and sat in the same seat in the South Stand since it opened in the early 90s. I am now retired but worked in Financial Services and as the Business Development Manager for a large local charity with responsibility for fundraising through shops, commercial services, and writing bids for funding.

My favourite Gigg Lane memory has got to be Tony Rigby leaping over the last Preston defender, lashing the ball in the net, and sending us to Wembley in 1995 but oddly the 2018-19 season will always stand out for me as one of the most enjoyable. The fact that that Lowe’s team won promotion effectively without pay seemed to me to bond the squad, the fans, and the town as I’ve never known it. It was almost as if the Gods of Football had decreed that we were going down but they’d give us a season to remember!

It was that feeling that took me to a couple of volunteer meetings at The Stanley in October 2019. I had no real intention of volunteering but (of course) I put my name down for a couple of groups and somehow ended up as Football Secretary, and found myself helping to get a new football club off the ground, from nothing and in the middle of a worldwide pandemic!

Because I’ve been shielding, I’ve had to watch most matches via the (mostly excellent) streaming service, but we have put together a small but really enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of volunteers with Andrew Corns taking on the role of Matchday Secretary, ensuring that the league and the media are kept up to date with team selection and that match statistics are reported on time. He is helped by Cara Taylor who additionally acts as our Disciplinary Officer, making sure Andy Welsh is kept up to date with any players coming up for suspension. We are all now Player Registration Officers and I deal with much of the day-to-day administration of the team and attend football Board meetings.

It’s a cliché but we’ve all been on a very steep learning curve over the past few months. There have been some challenging times, but on the whole it’s been an enjoyable experience. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that this Club is run entirely by volunteers such is the level of professionalism shown at all levels.

Looking forward to the future immensely. The enthusiasm that brought about the affiliation of the Women’s Team can only provide a further boost to the club.

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Tania Jackson – Welfare & Safeguarding

I am Bury born and bred and with four boys, football has been a big part of my life for the past 20 or so years. I’ve loved being a ‘footy mum’ but when the chance came to join a women’s football team, I thought it was time I did something for myself. From the first session I was hooked and was proud to be one of the founding members of Bury FC Women Vets.

As the club grew larger, I volunteered to help initially with the management of our social media profiles, establishing our Facebook and Instagram accounts for the club which helped with advertising and promotion and brought in more new players. I then volunteered to help with the coaching side of things too and the club supported me in completing my FA coaching course.

Upon affiliation with Bury AFC, it was determined that we needed a safeguarding qualified person to become the Club Welfare Officer and as I met all the criteria, I jumped at the chance! It has been a steep learning curve, liaising with different people and departments at the FA to ensure that we have all the necessary policies and procedures in place. However, everyone at the FA and in the Bury AFC Football Board has been welcoming and helpful, plus it has been great to get involved with something new and exciting. It has been strange doing all the set-up through online video calls and it’s been great to finally get to meet people face to face lately. As Welfare Officer, I’ve been attending the trials for the new elite women’s team and I’ve made sure we are fully prepared to support young people aged 16-18 on their football journey with the club.

I am open and approachable and can be contacted at any time. I am here to help and I’m proud to be part of the Bury AFC family.

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Jon Wiggans – Commercial Director

I have been a Bury fan for over 30 years since my dad took me at the age of three, and been a season ticket holder for most of them. I’ve watched Bury home and away and had some great times and some not-so-great times following the Shakers. We all know that feeling and it’s only us fans who know those feelings.

After the demise of Bury FC, I felt it was time that the fans stood up and took control of our own future. When I heard there was going to be a meeting at the Stanley club to consider whether a fan-run phoenix club was feasible, I knew I had to attend. Once I was there and saw the enthusiasm by all in attendance, I knew this was the path that had to be taken.

From that initial meeting, I found myself alongside Ian Pearson as leaders of the fundraising group, our aim was to put on events for fans and the wider community in Bury. The group of 20+ came up with some great ideas to engage with families and fans alike: we organised a family event at the Arcade Club in Bury and also an evening of nostalgia with Bury legend Derek Spence who spent the night talking about his career in football and time at Bury. Unfortunately, the covid pandemic meant our future events had to be cancelled.

When I was invited to join the Football Board in April 2020, the commercial team had to initially go and find sponsors for playing kit, training kit, and many other tailor-made sponsorship deals which would help the club be sustainable. Other things we had to think about were who was going to provide our kits, where we were going to get our merchandise from and what merchandise were we going to provide.

Once we got these ticked off, we could then look at what was needed for match days, one of those was programmes and alongside the media team and programme editor Chris Saville, we have provided a programme that is full of information and nostalgia and is a programme the club and those who are editing it can be proud of.

I also co-ordinate matchday merchandise sales at our stall on the ground. In conjunction with Ian, we always said that if we wouldn’t personally buy the product, how do we expect the fans to buy it. We want quality, not quantity when it comes to our merchandise. The sales to date from the stall show that that mantra is the right one to have.

During the curtailed 2020/21 season it has been a massive learning curve and with the new Bury AFC women’s team joining us this season, we look forward to working alongside them to make sure that all in Bury have a club to be proud of.

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Adam Ingram – Media Director

Following on from several generations of my family supporting Bury FC, I first attended a game at Gigg in 1993, becoming a regular season ticket holder from 1996 until 2019. In that time, I have been a Junior Shaker member, ball boy, and Treasureline collector, as well as turning out for the fans’ team in their first game in approx. 2001.

Like so many others I have traveled to all four corners of England to watch the team, from Sunderland to Weymouth, Carlisle to Aldershot, making weekends of my visits with family and friends. That all stopped in 2019 and despite my boys being mascots for the promotion-sealing game against Port Vale that May, and recently becoming season-ticket holders themselves, we were contemplating the thought of not having a club to watch.

The enthusiasm I experienced from the initial ‘Phoenix’ meetings got me hooked. Most fans in attendance were turning the events conspiring against the fan base into something positive and building towards the future. I threw myself into it to follow the lead from supporters I had, in most cases, been unknowingly standing alongside for years.

From a media perspective, we recognised how important a role it would be to inform fans of the workings of the club, documenting milestones as well as promoting and covering events across as many forms of media as we could. As a former engineering consultant turned small business owner, this is something that I have mostly co-ordinated via a group of very talented media professionals, from lecturers to copywriters, photographers to graphics designers and brand managers to social media administrators. And everything in between, the team extends to +25 in total – all working in their spare time to bring the supporters the best coverage we can.

I was invited to join the Football Board on its formation and with the assistance of the team, we have developed the matchday coverage which we trust has been a lifeline for fans in times of restricted crowds, namely our live match streaming service and radio broadcasts, as well as liaising with programme editors, piece writers and match day social media teams. It was also key to communicate our COVID-19 guidance for fans attending games which was a challenge with the guidelines changing with every tier alteration throughout last Autumn.

The challenges coming up, which we hope to experience during 2021-22, will be providing the same coverage over the full season, as well as building similar media teams covering the women’s team to the same extent as we are able to do for the men. Last year’s shortened season was a great learning curve for us all and will stand us in good stead to do this.

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