We have tried to provide as much detail up front on these questions and will be honest with all where we have got to on a particular matter. You will appreciate that some questions are served only with opinion by the team looking at that area. Rest assured that the work going on these matters is ongoing and most at a furious pace. We will endeavour to update this list as we progress with the phoenix club plan.
If you find that something is not answered to your satisfaction, have ideas on how to better deal with a particular issue and can offer assistance in dealing with it, please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be directed to one of the volunteers to action.
Application & Guidance
- At what point do we say enough is enough with the current club? Now? Wait till potential liquidation?
- Will there be scope for other teams outside of a First Team? i.e. Academy / Women’s / Ability Counts teams.
- What league will we be intending to or likely to enter? / What league level would you like the club to join?
- What are the timelines for applying for entry into the football pyramid? / What is the deadline for admission?
- Can we buy Gigg Lane?
- Will the Council support us in any way? What will the input of the local council be potentially in terms of funding, sorting out the grounds, exploring an option to return to Gigg Lane?
- How much will the club cost annually? / What’s our budget?
- How will the Phoenix Club work with other bodies representing the football club? How will Forever Bury be involved?
- What would happen if the original club got taken over? Would you put any money raised into the club or continue with the Phoenix Club?
- Will fans be able to volunteer for the club?
- What are our ambitions?
- Why you, why now?
- It won’t be enough to get back into the Football League
- We do want to be able to play in the Football League
- We don’t want money to talk
- We want to make participation in the club as affordable as we can
- The fans must always have a controlling interest in the club
Ground & Club
- Can we get some replica kits? Or even just t-shirts with the new team’s name and crest on?
- Will the club stay in the same colours, same crest?
- Will we still play at Gigg Lane?
- Will a new name be required to differentiate the new club from the old? What will this be and who will decide?
- ‘Bury Phoenix’ doesn’t sound very catchy?
Marketing & Communcation
- How will we attract lapsed fans & unite our fan base?
- How can I get in touch?
- How do we capitalise on the goodwill of genuine football fans up and down the country?
- How will bridges be built with those who have been treated abysmally by Bury FC?
At what point do we say enough is enough with the current club? Now? Wait till potential liquidation?
To lay the groundwork for a new club, work had to start on this before the outcomes of the current club are known. We work on this in parallel to the existing club and until we know any different and then re-evaluate.Back to Index
Will there be scope for other teams outside of a First Team? i.e. Academy / Women’s / Ability Counts teams.
There is no reason for there not to be. We would look to create a club and teams for all.Back to Index
What league will we be intending to or likely to enter? / What league level would you like the club to join?
As high up as possible. But we prepare correctly for any level.Back to Index
What are the timelines for applying for entry into the football pyramid? / What is the deadline for admission?
The FA will make their decisions on league placement for August 2020 in mid-January 2020. However, the paperwork on the Business Plan, Governance & Legal sides of the football club need to be in place to be put before the FA for review by mid-December.Back to Index
Can we buy Gigg Lane?
Where there is a will, there is a way. We have strategies on raising money to run the club and a return to Gigg Lane is not out of the question but there are many hurdles to be negotiated. Our work is extending across all options.Back to Index
Will the Council support us in any way? What will the input of the local council be potentially in terms of funding, sorting out the grounds, exploring an option to return to Gigg Lane?
Exploring options with the Council will be arranged but no concrete decisions have been made in this regard at this stage.Back to Index
How much will the club cost annually? / What’s our budget?
There are a lot of areas of this football club which will develop over time as we progress forwards. The costs are currently being evaluated by a dedicated team with years of useful experience plus assistance from many like-minded clubs. The overall costs will depend very much on the level of the football pyramid the club enters and what ground we play at, which are obviously both at this stage very much yet to be decided.Back to Index
How will the Phoenix Club work with other bodies representing the football club? How will Forever Bury be involved?
Over recent weeks, we’ve been working on a number of important tasks, with the aim of putting a team on a pitch next season paramount to our efforts. One of these tasks has been identifying the structure required to manage ‘fan ownership’. It is clear, after a lot of research and consultation, that a Community Benefit Society (CBS) is the right structure for us to use. Other fan-owned clubs are also owned by their own Community Benefit Society, and we will share more detail on this in due course.
A CBS needs to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and meet stringent criteria in its constitution so that any money or assets it generates are protected and cannot be ‘stripped’. We are currently considering the best option to create our own CBS and this involves reviewing the paperwork required to start from scratch and, at the same time, arranging to meet with Forever Bury as they are already authorised under the FCA and have some of the necessary infrastructure. However, Forever Bury, as we understand it, would need some change to its constitution to become a CBS, as it currently does not provide for the protection of its assets in quite the same way as we need it to.
This is one key reason for us to talk to Forever Bury, to explore if and how we could utilise their FCA authorised status going forward, but we should stress that no decision has been made on this yet. We know that we would need to make constitutional changes to Forever Bury if we are to go down that route.
Additionally, in our discussions with the FA, it is clear that bringing together multiple interested parties will help our cause and may help get us placed higher up the league structure.
For these reasons, the Phoenix team have been offered four co-opted Forever Bury board positions. The reason why co-opted, rather than elected, positions were offered was simply due to the logistics required in convening an EGM and holding elections under the time pressures we are under. These elections will happen as soon as possible. We remain fully committed to elected representation within the Phoenix Club and this will be introduced into Forever Bury also.Back to Index
What would happen if the original club got taken over? Would you put any money raised into the club or continue with the Phoenix Club?
The truth is, it depends, on the circumstances but in all likelihood there would be a number of things to consider.
• We would take a democratic vote.
• We strongly recommend that we keep money in a Supporters Trust (or similar organisation) for future protection of the club.
• The club being taken over needs to be assessed as to their “worthiness”.
• Just because the original club might get taken over by an individual doesn’t automatically mean that is a good thing (think Steve Dale taking over from Stewart Day) – it took a while to work him out.
We wouldn’t therefore suggest that our work ceases if the original club is taken over. We can always withdraw our application if circumstances change in line with those identified above. Our initial work is protecting a club for the future.Back to Index
Will fans be able to volunteer for the club?
This is what this is all about, the fans will be integral to the running of the phoenix club. It is not a closed shop; we want as many involved as possible and will actively encourage all to do so.Back to Index
What are our ambitions?
Our first ambition is to get a club structure in place to enable a team from Bury to enter into a league within the football pyramid from August 2020. From there, the sky is the limit and a place back in the English Football League is a long-term objective.Back to Index
Why you, why now?
Why not? Seriously, we’ve watched on as our club has fallen into the abyss within the space of 5-6 years. We feel without stepping forward now, that the club would be lost, possibly forever.Back to Index
We will provide updates as we progress, ask for opinions and leave a full audit trail on the decisions made. There are multiple ways of structuring the club and what works now may need to be adapted years from now, but we will do our best to abide by the principles set out above and leave the right amount of flexibility for future fan owners.Back to Index
It won’t be enough to get back into the Football League
We have learned we can’t rely on anyone who isn’t a true fan to look after this club. We have benefitted from the help of fans from other clubs and we should extend the same friendship and support to any other club in a similar position. We should acknowledge the bad will that Day and Dale brought to the wider community in Bury. Businesses and people have been left unpaid for their work. We need to reflect somewhere in the fabric of the club that we are part of a community which is both local and extends beyond football and works nationally as part of a wider football family. We pay on time; never borrow money we can’t pay back or take services we can’t pay for. As fans we’ve received generosity in our weakest moments. How we behave as a club has to reflect what we’ve lacked in recent years and what we’ve found from others.Back to Index
We do want to be able to play in the Football League
However long it might take us to get there. This means we need to create a limited company with shareholdings. We don’t think it will be practical for hundreds and hopefully thousands of fans to subscribe for shares in that limited company directly. The administration and potential tax consequences would be too burdensome. We believe at this stage, based on other fan-owned clubs, that we might utilise a form of community trust which is designed specifically for fan-owned clubs. Fans would subscribe for shares in the community trust, and in turn the community trust would hold 51-100% of the shares in the Ltd Company football club. This is not yet agreed, we are exploring all models as we want it to be as simple as possible. It is important to us that if we used this type of structure, the fans do not feel as though they have any less impact on the club than if they owned shares in it directly. It seems to have worked well, however, at other fan-owned clubs. Clearly, if we were to allow wealthy individuals to buy shares directly rather than through the community trust (the trust structure commonly used only allows a maximum contribution of £100,000 per individual), it would need to be clear that even if this had to give more votes, it would never give a controlling influence, and we would need mechanisms to avoid anyone growing influence in the community trust by stealth.Back to Index
We don’t want money to talk
From a practical perspective we need to develop a structure where an elected team of people are empowered to make decisions regarding the day-to-day operation of the club. It isn’t realistic to vote collectively on everything, nor is it motivating to the people working within the club. However, we do want to give fans real power over the big issues, including who is on the management team, and would like this to be on a ‘one member, one vote’ basis if this is possible, to avoid wealthier contributors gaining undue influence. To do this we will need a set of rules which define what the smaller team can decide, and how they must reach a decision, and what decisions must be put to a full vote. This will form a major part of the constitution of the football club.Back to Index
We want to make participation in the club as affordable as we can
This means we will look at several funding options e.g. monthly or annual subscriptions, not just a large single contribution. How we can achieve this will be dictated, in part, by our capital requirements. For example, if we start at a low tier and are forced to share a
ground, our capital requirements will be modest. This would be different if we were
to raise funds to buy Gigg Lane, for example. We may be able to offer a combination of shares, ongoing membership and discounted season tickets.
The fans must always have a controlling interest in the club
This could be 100% shareholding, would never be less than 51% and we will consider under what circumstances and with what protection (e.g. stringent shareholders’ agreement) we would never consider allowing someone to purchase shares directly.Back to Index
Can we get some replica kits? Or even just t-shirts with the new team’s name and crest on?
Replica kits from the Legends game are available to purchase (https://deano225.wixsite.com/mysite/shop). As we move forward in the formation of a new club, we will be looking to provide kits and other items for sale.Back to Index
Will the club stay in the same colours, same crest?
As with the club name, this is yet to be decided and we would get guidance from the fanbase on selections of kit and representative badges / crests. However, it would be hard to follow a club from Bury that isn’t in white shirts, blue shorts and blue socks, would it not?Back to Index
Will we still play at Gigg Lane?
Many hurdles currently exist to this regard. The options are being explored and we hope to provide further detail in due course as the situation develops.Back to Index
Will a new name be required to differentiate the new club from the old? What will this be and who will decide?
The possibility of securing the existing name ‘Bury FC’ is being investigated and this cannot be ruled out at this stage. However, an alternative name may need to be applied for at least a period while the formation of a new club is generated, with the possibility of transferring the original name back in over time. But this is just one of the areas where we would look for guidance from the supporter fanbase by engaging like never before. This can be ‘our’ club, we can decide.Back to Index
‘Bury Phoenix’ doesn’t sound very catchy?
We agree. We selected a name for this period while the setup of the phoenix club is being co-ordinated. It needed to be clearly not directly linked to the original club but also not the ‘final name’. Stick with it for now and it will be developed.Back to Index
How will we attract lapsed fans & unite our fan base?
We feel that by aiming for a team to take its place in a league within the football pyramid, in Bury, in August 2020 we will bring together many groups of the current Bury FC supporter base. We accept that there are some who will not want to get on board with a phoenix club. We request all to support us where they can and be positive. We are working together and want everyone who wishes to be involved.Back to Index
How can I get in touch?
The normal lines of social communication are open via Website & Twitter. We have been reviewing how we tackle the issue of fans who regularly operate outside of social media, but we would hope that a large percentage of the supporter base is contactable digitally and will use this as our main point of communication. If you know fans who would be interested in wanting to hear about us, talk about us, point them in this direction and we can answer any queries.Back to Index
How do we capitalise on the goodwill of genuine football fans up and down the country?
We have had assistance, firstly, on formation of Phoenix clubs from supporters trusts up and down the country and secondly, many direct messages of support from fans of clubs right across the football pyramid. We have targets set in increasing our exposure across these bases, getting our name out there and garnering the goodwill of fans who wish to extend support.Back to Index
How will bridges be built with those who have been treated abysmally by Bury FC?
A Phoenix club offers a fresh start. There will be many, who have felt disgruntled with Bury FC & football at large over the last few arduous years, us included. It is this burning desire that incentivises us to move forward on this Phoenix club. We can’t make fans come on board; the previous regimes may have damaged views beyond our capabilities, and we have to accept that. We just want as much support from as many as we can.Back to Index
I’m an exiled fan living outside of Bury. I want to be involved but I cannot easily get to Bury. How do you plan to help me feel part of the club?
Great question. There are lots of Bury FC fans who live outside of Bury and around the world. It is the aim of the Phoenix Club to ensure you have as much input into the club as someone living on Gigg Lane.Back to Index
How will this work? Will I have to attend meetings in person to vote?
We are exploring secure ways to allow electronic voting. Presuming Bury FC cannot be saved, the first season the Phoenix Club will compete will be in 2020. We’ve come a long way since Bury FC was founded in 1885 and distance should not be a problem in having your democratic say as a member.
We will also live-stream all members’ meetings where possible – at a minimum audio, but ideally video too.Back to Index
This sounds ambitious. Is it possible to do this safely and securely?
We wouldn’t launch online voting if it wasn’t safe and secure. There are many existing solutions to allow online voting and we will find the one that is most suitable for our club.
The Phoenix Club will be a new club founded in an era that offers IT solutions that couldn’t be dreamt of a generation ago, let alone in 1885. We plan to be one of the most technologically advanced clubs in whatever league we find ourselves.
We welcome suggestions from fans and members on what we can do to help all of us enjoy the experience of being an active member and supporter of the Phoenix Club.Back to Index