ELATED supporters chiefs have confirmed that Gigg Lane is now officially back in Shakers' hands.

For weeks discussions have been taking place between Forever Bury and Est 1885, and administrator Steven Wiseglass, over ownership of the 137-year-old ground.

Fans had the backing of £1m from the Community Ownership Fund and a £450,000 pledge from Bury Council, as well as US investor Peter Alexander and Bury businessmen, to kickstart a new era as Gigg Lane looks set to become not only the home to a revived Bury FC but be transformed into a community sports and wellbeing hub.

Tonight a statement has been issued by Est 1885 and Forever Bury confirming the news that Shakers fans have been waiting months to hear.

Tributes have also been paid to a supporters army - a 500-strong collective has signed up to help renovate Gigg Lane - and phoenix club Bury AFC as talks of a possible unification are set to restart this week.

The statement reads: "We are delighted to announce that today we closed on the purchase of Gigg Lane from the administrators and it is now a community asset, free of debt or liabilities.

"We have also acquired the trading name, history and memorabilia of Bury FC.

"In the process we have attracted funding from the UK Government, America and a number of other local benefactors, none of whom expect any more than the satisfaction of seeing football return to the ground, and its expanded use for community sports and wellbeing.

"We are very grateful for the outpouring of volunteer support for the refurbishment of the stadium. More than 500 people have signed up and many local businesses have made kind donations.

"Details of when the refurbishment can begin will be announced in the coming days.

"As we move into the next phase of the return of Bury FC there are other details that need to be worked out.

"Gigg Lane is in better condition than we expected and we will be publishing s fast-track timeline for re-certification of the ground to become the biggest and best facility in the borough in short order.

"In the next few days we will be announcing the rebranding and future role of Forever Bury and the transition of Est 1885.

"We remain fully committed to finding a consensual path with Bury AFC and will be restarting those discussions in the next week.

"Henceforth all major decisions will be subject to member vote and an updated membership scheme will be announced next week.

"If you want a voice we encourage you to become a member and vote.

"We will also communicate with our members far more regularly and with greater transparency."

Supporters officials have thanked a number of people, including Bury North MP James Daly, for the £1m 'levelling up' cash injection from the Community Assets Fund, Bury Council and Bury AFC for their "openness and engagement to date".

Further thanks have gone out to their lawyers Pinsent Masons, Andy Clarke from the Football Supporters Association and Gary Hellen Associates for their respective help and advice while the ground deal was being advanced.

Plans for a 3G pitch, which can be used by a range of men's, women's and junior sides, forms the backbone of the rejuvenated Gigg Lane bid, alongside a multi-use space for adult education and health facilities.