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City Chairman's interview in Supporters' Direct magazine
City Chairman's interview in Supporters' Direct magazine

Promoting York City within the wider football community

Supporters Direct has published its latest newsletter within the past week. Amongst a myriad of articles about the progress of supporters trusts throughout all levels of the Game in England and Scotland (see link below), there includes an extensive article in relation to Bees United taking executive control at Brentford and YCST taking both ownership and control at York.

For more information about Supporters Direct and trusts at over 100 other clubs in Britain see the Supporters Direct website.

Below are some extracts from the article featuring John McGlashan (Bees United) and Steve Beck (York City FC and YCST).

In the article, John McGlashan, chairman of Bees United, explains how the majority shareholder (Altonwood Ltd) offered Bees United a two year option to buy its shares in Brentford FC Limited and Griffin Park Stadium Limited. As part of the offer, Ron Noades stood down both as Chairman and director of the two companies, and Bees United were offered day-to-day management control of the club. Altonwood continue to guarantee the 4.5 million overdraft for the two year period, but any additional funding is the responsibility of the new board.

Of course, at York, not only has the Trust been able to put in place a new board to oversee the day-to-day running of the Club, but it also has majority control.

Some extracts from the interview......

- What has been the single biggest challenge?
SB: To mention just one, it would be that of turning an annual loss of over 1 million to a breakeven figure in our first year of trading. After that, the ongoing ground situation still remains a huge challenge for the club.

- How have fans reacted to the fact that the trust is now in charge?
SB: In the main, the fans have been very supportive of the Clubs new board although within any organisation there will be differing views on a variety of matters.

- What do you think can be done to deal with critics of the trusts?
JM: Those that take the trouble to approach us and voice their concerns are normally satisfied with the response they receive. Others use internet message boards to ask a whole host of questions, but refuse to ask questions of either the club or Bees United directly. Responding to the message boards only generates more questions.

- How do you react when fans give you stick?
SB: Thankfully, this has not happened to any great extent, but obviously fans stop me from time to time to let me know that they may not have agreed with everything the board does.

- New owners often come in and say our ambitions are unlimited, we want the Premier League. What are your ambitions for your club?
JM: The short term ambition is survival. The long term ambitions are very different. We want to build a club whose stadium is the focal point of the local community, and has a football team the local people want to watch. We want a management team that will operate the business within its means and will not panic when either promotion or relegation is a possibility. Whether fans accept this concept is another matter, as they tend to expect clubs to strengthen their teams whenever the opportunity arises.

SB: Survival! Financial stability and of course a ground!

- Whats the hardest part of being involved in making big decisions about the club?
SB: You have to separate the fact that you are a fan, and make them for sound reasons that are in the best interests of the club. You are also aware that these decisions will shape the future of the club and will be recorded as part of its history.

- How are relationships with Trust members after having taken up your new role?
SB: The Trust has had to reinvent itself following the fantastic efforts in raising the money required to acquire the club and the Save City Campaign, and as the Club board and staff look after the day-to-day operations.

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