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Bury AFC agree groundshare to start comeback at Radcliffe FC!

Bury AFC Radcliffe FC

New phoenix club Bury AFC are moving in with Northern Premier League Radcliffe FC for their inaugural season.

The North West Counties First Division North newboys are set to kick off the 2020/21 campaign at the Neuven Stadium after the deal was announced by Radcliffe at lunchtime on Tuesday.

The groundshare was agreed a week after the fan-run phoenix club appointed former Sunderland winger and Ossett United boss Andy Welsh as their first manager.

NPL Premier Division Radcliffe Borough was rebranded by chairman Paul Hilton only two years ago and he believes the partnership makes sense for both clubs and will pave the way for Shakers fans to eventually return home to Gigg Lane.

Pictured left with Bury AFC chairman Chris Murray, Hilton told fans of both clubs: “I can today announce that an agreement has been reached to allow Bury AFC to groundshare at the Neuven Stadium from the 2020/2021 season.

“The plight of Bury FC and its supporters is well documented but we hope that this signals a step forward in bringing football back to those fans so deprived during the 2019/20 season.

“This deal represents a significant opportunity to continue to grow our club, especially in these uncertain times. It allows us to plan ahead and look confidently to the future and continued success.

“We can make logical and relative decisions about how to continue to develop our stadium in the near term which will enhance the experience for Radcliffe FC supporters and also drive the development our team and playing environment so that we can continue to improve at pace.

“Radcliffe as a Club have always had a good working relationship with our nearest neighbours throughout our history most notably seen through our traditional pre-season opener but also in a wider context, through player loans, equipment use and most recently our use of Carrington through pre-season 2019. In football these relationships are vital.

bury afc

SOCIALLY DISTANCED PRESS PIX: Chris Hilton, left, with his opposite number Chris Murray

“Shakers fans are frequent visitors to the Neuven, not just last season but regularly, and we as a club have always appreciated their support but we also appreciate the smaller things, our traditional pre-season match is a great example.

“Bury fans have always openly advocated that game and understood its importance to our club’s financial planning, these things do not go unnoticed and we hope that we can pay that back in some small way with this agreement.

“Finally, I would just like to say that working with Chris Murray and his board has been simple and straight forward, Bury AFC have the fans at heart in everything they are doing which is why we are delighted to help them bring football back in the name of Bury.

“I have always believed that ‘The Football Family’ is more than just a phrase and I felt from the outset that we as a club had an obligation to step in and assist our nearest neighbours’ fans wherever possible, just like they have done for us over the years.

“It’s my opinion that Bury AFC represent the most realistic and stable solution to revive the once great club and pave the way for an eventual return to Gigg Lane.

“This new partnership underpins the significant ambitions of Radcliffe FC and will help us to continue grow and shape our own future. We look forward to welcoming our friends and neighbours to the Neuven Stadium.”

Welsh took charge last week as the club ramped up preparations to get going with the unveiling of their new crest, kit supplier and home and away kits following a vote on the designs by Shakers Community fans.

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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper & @radcliffeboro/Twitter

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