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Trust News update (20 Dec 02)

Programme piece (20/12/02)

Building Trust between Community and Club

One year ago, Douglas Craig- then Chairman of both York City Football Club and Bootham Crescent Holdings - announced that the Club had just about run out of cash and was up for sale. For the people of York, that announcement marked the start of (probably) the most frustrating and traumatic year in the history of our Club. That announcement was made at the BCH AGM they managed to both start and finish the AGM last year, unlike last Mondays affair!

The same announcement in December 2001 also referred to conditions that would be imposed by BCH on any potential buyer, whereby the buyer would be required to provide certain guarantees and undertake certain obligations. One year on, the certain guarantees and obligations continue to hover over the Club. This provides a relatively complex backdrop to the financial crisis the Club now faces, following the financial management of Craig et al, and then the time of John Batchelor.

Amidst this crisis, the Supporters Trust was formed. A democratic body formed by supporters for the supporters, the Club and the community. The Supporters Trust is proud of the achievements of all true York City fans over the past year.

Whilst the crisis kicked off last December, the origins can clearly be traced back to 1999. That was the year that BCH was formed as part of a corporate restructuring exercise to enable the Club to be secure in its activities. It also coincided with a clear change in the financial management of the Club, whereby, a Club that had previously been run along relatively prudent lines, suddenly became one of the biggest spenders in Division Three. The directors created an unsustainable wage bill, far in excess of what the Club could afford such that cash reserves soon dwindled. In fact, the Clubs wages to turnover ratio of 180% in the 2000/01 season is amongst the worst ever in the history of UK football. Batchelor took over in April 2002, and now, sadly, we are where we are.

Whilst hopefully there will be a few more people through the Bootham Crescent turnstiles for the matches over Christmas and New Year, please dont allow others to propagate the excuse that York doesnt deserve a football club because only 3,000 people turn up!. Going forward, York can have a sustainable professional football club at such levels of support. Of course, one thing not to do is spend 180% of your income on wages.

For all those people who care about football in general, sport in York in particular, and the local community, these are frustrating and worrying times. The Supporters Trust sincerely hopes and continues to work to ensure - that this will not be the last Christmas for football professional football in York.

The Supporters Trust would also like to commend the efforts of the players and other staff at the Club who have got on with their job during the past few difficult weeks. For everybodys sake, hopefully a solution can be worked out very soon.

Enjoy the game. Support the team. Search for the truth. Support the Trust. Support a future for football in York.


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