GARY Russell has taken over from Warren Barlow as chairman of the Bolton, Bury and District Football League.

Mr Russell was voted into the role at the league’s annual general meeting on Monday night.

He has been general secretary of the league for the last two years and chairman of Moss Bank Junior Football Club for more than six years.

An FA licensed coach who manages an under-13s team, he described his new role as “an honour and a privilege”.

He added: “To be voted in as chairman of the most innovative junior football league in the country is something I am very proud of, and I want to thank everyone for all their messages of support.

“I am under no illusions about the commitment. Energy and passion will be needed to deliver our objectives, but I also see the wonderful people in the league who can help deliver those objectives.

“There are, amongst many, two major objectives – to turn the BBDFL into the best football league in the country. Not the biggest, the best; and to create the best football experience and football environment for our young players to grow and develop.

“I want the league to be at the forefront of all national initiatives, and for the league to be seen by the FA as the best.

“We have some wonderful volunteers in our league who give

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up so much of their time to make this league the place to be, and I would like to place on record my thanks for all their hard work. Let’s hope we can continue working together to make us the best.

“It’s important for me, on behalf of all our members, to thank Warren Barlow, the outgoing chairman for all his hard work over the years.

“Having worked closely with Warren for two years as general secretary, I have seen at first hand his passion, commitment and drive, and if I can demonstrate those same qualities, I will be doing my job.

“We also have a hard-working committee who are working on a daily basis, often out of hours, delivering a great service to our 720 teams.

“Work starts today.”