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Saved for another day

Trust step in with 92,000 to provide lifeline to City

The Supporters Trust stepped in at the last minute at noon on Thursday 16 January 2003 to provide a financial lifeline to York City Football Club for a few more weeks.

Trust Chair Richard Snowball said:

The Trust has committed a significant amount of funds to support the Clubs operations over the next few weeks. If the Trust had not taken this action, the match on Saturday 18th January 2003 would have been the last ever game in our Clubs 80 year history.


The Administrators had stated to Trust representatives their clear intent to closedown the Club immediately following Saturdays match against Swansea City - as confirmed by their press statement that referred to The club can only trade beyond the Swansea match with the commitment of external funding being made available.

Interested parties had been given until 12 noon on 16 January to submit an offer. As 12 noon struck, the Administrator said he had received only one firm offer, whilst another party had provided a letter of intent to submit an offer. At this stage, the identity of the parties has remained confidential, as have the details of their respective offers.

The Supporters Trust has held a number of discussions with one of the parties, although the details of the offer (and associated conditions, if any) have not been revealed. At this stage, the other party has not engaged in discussions with the Supporters Trust. Again, the details of their offer (and the associated conditions) have not been revealed. Other than the Trusts commitment to provide some funds to save the Club for a few more weeks, the Administrators say they had no other commitment of external funding. The funding provided by the Trust provides a little more time for interested parties to conclude their negotiations and for all key parties to act positively to save this citys football club.


WORKING TO SAVE CITY

Trust representatives have continued to hold discussions with various key parties over the last few weeks. These discussions have included a range of parties who could be, or purport to be, interested in providing a solution to the crisis brought about at York City. These discussions have been ongoing before, and after, this weeks announcement that a local business consortium, with whom the Trust had been working, had withdrawn from the bid process.

Trust Chair Richard Snowball states:

The Supporters Trust is prepared to work with any party who has the best interests of York City Football Club at heart. The Trust is committed to work to try and find a solution that enables professional football to continue in York for future generations.

FORCED TOWARDS EXTINCTION

Clearly, the way in which BCH are seeking to force the Club out of Bootham Crescent without an alternative stadium in place, is an absolutely vital issue. This added complexity means that it is not simply a case of someone stepping in with a massive cash injection to save the Club. Whilst there remains hope that a solution can be negotiated and completed within the next couple of weeks, more people increasingly fear the worst. York City Football Club could lose its Football League status before the end of the season and the Club could disappear altogether.

Unfortunately, the way in which the Clubs directors have spent money in recent years - and sought to benefit themselves financially - has led to the current crisis. Going forward, if the Club can be saved and continues to have a decent stadium to play in, York can have a sustainable Football League club with properly managed finances. In the light of the damaging actions of recent times by Craig and Batchelor, together with other City supporters, Trust representatives remain cautious about the possible motivations of potential investors that may not be aligned with protecting the Club for future generations.

THE CLOCK IS STILL TICKING...

Whilst the funds made available to the Administrators by the Trust have enabled the Club to survive for a few more weeks, the threat of extinction remains very real. Interested parties now have to move quickly to firm up their proposals and complete the deal with the Administrators and any other parties, such as BCH, whom their deal is contingent upon.
There is no guarantee that a deal to save York City will be completed within the next few weeks. If no deal is done, York City Football Club will disappear.

THE EMERGENCY FUND

Much of the money raised for the Supporters Trust was done so under the Save City banner. As ever, the Trust is extremely grateful to all those of have contributed to those funds both in terms of fundraising effort and money. That money has now saved City - at least for the next four weeks.

Trust representatives held discussions with the Administrators throughout Thursday. The Supporters Trust has guaranteed to provide up to 92,000 to support the operations of the Club over a period that should last until after the home match against Hartlepool United on 15th February. Clearly the amount of financial support from the Trust is considerable and the decision was not taken lightly. The alternative was to see the Clubs immediate demise and Bootham Crescent being left empty.

In effect, this financial support covers the excess of the Clubs committed costs over budgeted income during this four week period. As with all football clubs, the key cost is peoples wages. If the Clubs income is boosted during the next four weeks (above the budgeted level) - and/or if out-goings are somehow reduced - then the Emergency Funds could last a little longer. In addition to supporting the team on the pitch, thats another reason for people to come along to Bootham Crescent for each of the next three games - Swansea City (18th Jan), Macclesfield (Sun 2nd Feb) and Hartlepool United (15th Feb). They may well be the last games ever at Bootham Crescent and for York City Football Club.

If a proposal is accepted by the Administrators from another party within the next four weeks, then the balance of funds at that time can be returned to the Trust. In addition, the new owners may agree to refund some of the monies to the Trust and/or provide the Supporters Trust with representation in the ownership and operation of the Club.

THE POSSIBILITY OF THE TRUST GOING IT ALONE TO SAVE THE CLUB

Consideration continues to be given to the announcement and submission of the Trusts own plans to acquire the Club. A key matter is the added complexity of the ground situation and Craigs continuing attempt to force the Club out of its Bootham Crescent home. Between them, BCH, the Council and Persimmon continue to hold the key to York Citys future for survival at Bootham Crescent - short term, medium term and long term. The Supporters Trust continues to oppose the demolition of the Clubs Bootham Crescent home until a better alternative stadium can be provided.

The Trust would require a significant amount of funding to save the Club. The Trust recognises that necessary sizeable contributions may be needed from key parties. As noted above, the ground situation is an added complexity that may impact on the willingness (or otherwise) of parties to make sizeable contributions.

Trust representatives continue to work on this possible solution.

AND IF THE CLUB IS DESTROYED??

If it transpires (conspires?) that the Club is liquidated in February 2003, the Supporters Trust would work to ensure that would not be the end of the York City name. Consideration continues to be given to plans to start up a new community Club - often referred to by supporters as AFC York City - as a way to continue professional football in York.

The Trust acknowledges and appreciates the views of a number of supporters who consider such a step could, if circumstances dictate, prove to be a way forward for York City within English footballs pyramid system, whilst other supporters may be averse to such a move.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE TRUST

The Supporters Trust may need significant financial resources within the next few weeks. 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.

The Trust continues to gratefully receive financial support from people around the World. Anyone wanting to make an immediate cash donation can do so by contacting the Trust c/o Bootham Crescent or at http://www.ycst.org.uk/donations.htm

Alternatively, anyone who wants to pledge cash can do so by either contacting the Trust direct, or by contacting lifelong City-fan and local businessman John Mingay who has volunteered the services of his company, FIND Business Finance, free of charge to co-ordinate all the pledge offers. To make a pledge, please call John Mingay at FIND 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.

Following this weeks developments, plans are now being formulated to extend the Trusts donation and pledge arrangements and will be announced in due course.

WHEN I WAS JUST A LITTLE BOY...

When I was just a little boy, I asked my mother, what should I be. Should I be York
NO, she shouted. York doesnt have a football club anymore. It was forced out of business in 2003.

FIGHTING TO SAVE THE CLUB

There are no guarantees that the Club will be saved within the next few weeks, but it now has a lifeline. Trust spokesperson Sophie McGill encouraged supporters to come along to Bootham Crescent on Saturday - and to bring along friends and family - to support the team and help boost the finances. More cash through the gate receipts means that less of the Trusts Save City Fund will be utilised.

As ever, we encourage as many people as possible to come along to Bootham Crescent and support the team. Bootham Crescent and York City are community assets that we cannot allow to be destroyed.

The Trust encourages supporters to attend this Saturdays match against Swansea City to help demonstrate (again) that the community will not allow the football club to simply disappear without a fight.

Support the Trust - Support a future for professional football in York.

 
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