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The Trust Option

City's Trust plan own Rescue Package

The Supporters Trust has announced it is planning to submit an offer for the Club to the Administrators. To that end, the Trust is appealing to the people and businesses of York to help save the citys Football Club by pledging their financial support. The Trust is seeking to raise up to 500,000 to see the Club through to June 2003.

Trust spokesperson, Sophie McGill, appealed:

Were asking for people to back the Trust to help ensure a future for professional football in York. The Club is a community asset that must be saved.

With the clock still ticking towards the possible extinction of York City Football Club in about four/five weeks time, the Trust has launched an attempt to raise substantial financial backing. The reality of the situation is that unless someone steps forward within the next few weeks with significant cash to put into the Club, York City Football Club could lose its Football League status and disappear altogether.

Whilst reports suggest three other parties are interested in acquiring the Club, each of these may be contingent on acquiring control over the use of Bootham Crescent (at least in the short/medium term). Clearly, it will be of benefit to the Club if the use of Bootham Crescent can be assured at least until a better stadium is in place. However, there is no guarantee that BCH will negotiate a deal within the next few weeks. At this stage, whilst the Trust also continues to try and engineer a solution to the Bootham Crescent issue, it may be the only party prepared to try and save the Club from extinction in a few weeks time, even if BCH is still in place as landlord.

Last week, only the Supporters Trust was prepared to step in and provide some funding to ensure the Club survived beyond Saturdays match against Swansea City. None of the interested parties, BCH or John Batchelor was willing to provide funds. If no funding had been forthcoming from the Trust, the Club would not have had the lifeline it now has to provide more time for a deal to be completed.

To some extent, the Trusts own bid may be viewed as a contingency measure should other bidders fail. At the same time, at this stage relatively little is known about the other potential bidders and their possible motivations. In the light of the damaging actions of recent times by Craig and Batchelor, Trust representatives, together with other City supporters, remain cautious about the possible motives of potential investors that may not be aligned with protecting the Club for future generations. Whilst Trust representatives have held preliminary discussions with one of the interested parties, at this stage, other interested parties have not engaged in discussions with the Supporters Trust.

The amount of financial backing that the Supporters Trust is looking to raise is very substantial. In the circumstances, there is no hard and fast rule about setting the target. The rules regarding so-called football creditors also complicate the situation. However, at this stage, if up to 500,000 could be raised to see the Club through to the end of the season, there is then significant scope to bring the Clubs spending back into line with income. Unfortunately, in recent years, the directors committed the Club to spending far beyond its means.

The Trusts donations and pledge system is already up and running. Anybody who wants to donate or pledge financial support can do so by contacting the Trust direct via www.ycst.org.uk, writing to the Trust c/o Bootham Crescent, York or by contacting FIND Business Finance on 08700 111229, email find@figroup.fsnet.co.uk , or send in writing to FIND Business Finance, Rowan House, Northminster Business Park, Northfield Lane, Poppleton, York, YO26 6QU. FIND Business Finance have kindly offered to assist the Supporters Trust to collate the pledges of support.

In due course, more details will be announced regarding further Trust fundraising activities, and how the Trust will be seeking to turn pledges into cash.

The Trust is very grateful to all those people who have already contributed or pledged cash and to those who have organised various fundraising schemes/events over the past 12 months. In terms of pledges of financial support for the Trust to acquire the Club, over 120,000 of firm pledges have already been received from an array of City supporters (individuals and businesses) from around the World looking to save York City. That includes a single pledge of 50,000 from a City supporter who wishes to remain anonymous. The Trust continues discussions with a number of other parties who may be prepared to provide significant backing to the Trusts bid.



Sophie McGill added:

The Trust already has significant financial backing in place. We need further support from the people and businesses of York to help deliver a community club for future generations.

 
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