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Trust News from 16 Nov match programme

The Fans are the moral owners of the Game

The financial challenges facing football clubs continue to generate a huge amount of interest in the media and amongst supporters both nationally and closer to home. Many clubs are having a difficult time. Whatever the larger picture, clearly it is common sense for clubs to plan ahead and only spend what they can afford. The challenge is not only to generate additional income (perhaps the more interesting and exciting bit), but also to control costs. It is possible to achieve a balance.

In recent years, those responsible for the financial management of York City failed to achieve this balance. For the 2000/01 season (the latest season for which accounts are available), the then directors created a wages bill (2.2 million) that was almost double the income they managed to bring in (1.2 million). The consequential operating loss (1.4 million) was even greater once the other running costs of the Club were taken into account. The Clubs accounts for the 2001/02 season are not yet available and in respect of the current season, John Batchelor has made various comments.

Recent press articles have suggested that a one-off financial assistance package may be on its way for all Football League clubs. It has also been suggested that any such bail-out should not go to current owners, but that it would be directed to democratic supporters trusts, with a duty to spend the money responsibly. This route is strongly advocated by the Government-backed initiative Supporters Direct. As noted in a press article, there is a strong case for the money to be invested via not-for-profit supporters trusts. That would secure the public interest and ensure that the ultimate beneficiaries are the community and the supporters.

Fans are the moral owners of the game. It is they who have the greatest interest in preserving their clubs for their children and grandchildren. The Supporters Trust movement provides a way of translating that moral ownership into a form of legal ownership, with a right to participate in the management of the clubs they love.

To be effective, those who work with the Trusts need to display similar principles of integrity, honesty and credibility. Your Supporters Trust will continue to pursue these principles in respect of our Club.

We make no apologies for reiterating a key message of recent weeks. It is of crucial importance for the future of York City that the Club is not kicked out of Bootham Crescent before a better stadium is available. The Trust will continue to represent City fans and put our case, but it is also important that, if you feel strongly about the future of York City, you let the Council know your views on the application. City fans need to leave the Council in no doubt that Bootham Crescent and the future of York City Football Club is an important issue and that assuring its future is vital for the sporting, leisure and community life of the City. For those with internet access check out our new dedicated section regarding these issues on the Trusts website . If you would like more information, please get in touch with any Trust representatives or write to us c/o Bootham Crescent.

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