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From the Trust's AGM
From the Trust's AGM

The work & role of YCST

extract from part of the meeting at the Trust's AGM...about the work & role of the Trust.

This has been a momentous year for York City.

The Trust is the body through which you, the supporters, have acted. At the last AGM the members elected a Board to lead the work of the Trust. A small group of City fans who were prepared to volunteer their time and efforts to help save the Club they love.

Of course, there have been plenty of other City fans who have also applied their time and cash to help the cause.

We have always acknowledged that the success of Citys Trust is due to the positive support that the Trust has both created and received - and the efforts of many people.

From the very start back in January 2002 - the Trust set out to ensure the continuation of professional football in York and to secure representation for supporters in the ownership and running of York City Football Club.

In November 2002, when it became starkly apparent that we could be facing the end of York City, the Trust set itself one ultimate objective:
"To work to save York City Football Club from extinction so that our Club could continue playing in the Football League."

Everything that has been done by the Trust has been carried out with this objective in mind. All those involved in the Trusts work are genuine life long fans with only the best interests of York City at heart.

Nobody has put in all this work and effort to service their own ego or to gain financially.

Nobody has put in all this work and effort to simply walk-away from Bootham Crescent.

All of the actions and decisions of the Trust Board have been carefully considered and have been made on the basis of what the Trust Board, as an elected body, believe is in the best interests to ensure the survival of York City.

Of course, we all now know that, against all the odds, on Friday 28th March 2003, the supporters of York City achieved the objective of saving our York City Football Club.

The foundations for the Trusts achievements this year were laid during the previous 12 months.
This included:
- Building a strong membership base membership rose from around 1,500 up to 2,000
- A carefully orchestrated communications strategy
- The mobilisation of many volunteers to help make things happen
- And, in all its work, striving to apply a set of guiding principles. Building integrity, credibility, community values, commitment and solid organisation. Sadly, principles not demonstrated by certain other parties weve had to deal with.

Whilst it has been a great achievement by City fans to save the Club, please be in no doubt that the new York City desperately needs positive support of fans and local businesses to help it survive in the future.

And, of course, there is one thing that overshadows everything
the threatened loss of Our home, at the heart of our community.

Bootham Crescent. An asset stripped out of the Club by Craig and his fellow directors in 1999.

And since then, an orchestrated campaign to close down the club whilst at the same time looking to profit themselves by selling an empty Bootham Crescent to property developers.

Retaining a decent home in the city is essential for the survival of York City.

That is why back in October 2002 - the Trust initiated the campaign to save Citys home.

That campaign has generated a record level of objections to the proposal to demolish Bootham Crescent and replace it with a housing estate.
Please be assured that the work to ensure that York City continues to have a decent home in the city does continue.

As those of you who attended the meeting earlier this year will vouch, it would take a few hours for us to run through even in outline - the ins & outs of the Trusts Rescue Package.

At that 3 hour meeting in April, we outlined the details of the Rescue Package and answered various questions from those attending.

Some of that detail is included in the Trusts booklet - York Cityat the heart of the community - that each of you should have received recently.

Tonight, we do the 3 minute version!

Fearing that he might liquidate the Club altogether, in November last year, the Trust had considered trying to rescue the Club from Batchelors grasp. Negotiations took place, but Batchelor, having bought the club earlier in the year for 1, refused to relinquish control.

Subsequently, the Club went into Administration. That was exactly one year ago to this day.

For a club of Yorks size, the level of debt and the funding gap was daunting. Many people thought that the Club was beyond salvation.

Added to that was the threat of no ground to play at after May 2003.

In January 2003 Trust representatives had discussions with a local business consortium. It was hoped that the local business consortium could, working with the Trust, provide a solution to Citys crisis. The Trust would probably have been a minority shareholder. However, for their own reasons, the local business consortium decided to pull out and not to submit an offer for the club.

Unsurprising to us, a supposed Rescue Package fronted by Batchelor involving an out-of-town businessman came to nothing.

Having already provided 92,000 of funding to enable the Club to survive for a few more weeks, in early February, the Trust submitted its own offer to the Administrator.

No-one else demonstrated any serious interest in rescuing York City.

It was up to the fans to do it.

During February and March, there was a frantic amount of activity to complete all of the vital elements of the Trusts Rescue Package.
Each individual aspect of the Trusts work and its actions should be viewed in the overall context of working to achieve the objective of saving the Club.

Vital aspects included:
l Negotiating the Sale-Purchase Agreement with the Administrator;
l Getting the CVA completed;
l Negotiating payment terms and redundancies with the players and their Union;
l Resolving certain staff issues;
l We had to reach the 1/2 million fundraising target to enable the deal to complete;
l We needed a Trust-friendly buyer for the house on Grosvenor Terrace;
l There were a number of issues from Batchelors time that had to be sorted;
l We had to satisfy The Football Leagues conditions to enable the Trusts new company to play in Division Three;
l In relation to the ground issue, the Trust has had to deal with parties such as the Council and BCH;
l Throughout all of this, continuing to communicate to people what was going on and to help build support for the Rescue Package;
l We needed to put in place a new Board of Directors to run the business from Day One.

Within the overall effort there was a core team of about half a dozen people most heavily involved in completing the business of Saving City.

All of this work carried out by a few volunteers - each trying to balance their other commitments in life with the work of saving City.

At precisely 1pm on Friday 28th March 2003, York City Supporters Trust completed the Rescue Package.

The following day, the Trusts new company York City Football Club Limited celebrated its first game in Football League Division Three with a 2-0 victory.

Loan Notes was the form of fundraising mechanism recommended to the Trust by our legal advisers.
A few people have asked: why wasnt there a public share offer?

It was neither feasible nor desirable to make a public offer of shares in the new company. There are strict rules and restrictions around public offers of shares - and significant time and costs involved.

Each current Trust member owns one share in the Supporters Trust.

In turn, the Trust owns 212,500 1 Shares in York City Football Club Limited. This equates to 85% of the total ownership of the Club.

The Trust had made efforts to bring on board substantial backers of 50,000 or more. To that end, the Trust had indicated to any such people that it was prepared to discuss a limited ownership stake in the new company. There were only two individuals who made themselves known to the Trust prepared to inject at least 50,000.
One of those has wished to remain anonymous and did not want an ownership stake.

The other of those was Trust member Jason McGill and the Trust negotiated to provide him a minority ownership stake in the new company.

The package on offer from Jason McGill, both in financial terms and his business skills input, was such that we felt it was in the best interests of the Club and the Trust to be prepared to recognise this by way of a direct shareholding in the new club.

Some of the considerations were as follows:
- Jason played a crucial role in key negotiations in the final couple of months to help save York City from extinction;
- A new class of B shares has been created such that, however many are in issue, voting rights are restricted to 20%. That means, the Trust will retain majority control.
- In addition to buying the house for 300,000, Jason provided an initial cash injection of 50,000 to acquire 37,500 B Shares in the new company. That represents a minority stake of 15%.
- Jason is a life long City fan and has clearly indicated to us that he does not expect to profit in any way from his shareholding. In fact, the rules which govern the rights of the shares prevent this anyway;
- Jasons shareholding cannot be sold or transferred to any other party - other than his family - without the consent of the Trust.
- Jason brings an enormous amount of business experience to the board of the new Club.
- His appointment as Commercial Director was on the merit of his business skills, not his donation.


In April 2002, in a secret deal, BCH entered an agreement with Persimmon for the sale of Bootham Crescent, conditional on vacant possession being achieved.

In late summer of 2002 Persimmon submitted a planning application to demolish Bootham Crescent and replace it with a housing estate
In October 2002 the Trust initiated the campaign to save Citys home. There was massive opposition to the plans of BCH and Persimmon.

The following key principles were outlined then and remain true to this day:
- No change of use should be allowed for the Bootham Crescent site unless and until a better facility is in place for York City Football Club to play its home games. It is important that the proposed housing development should not put York Citys future at risk.

- Bootham Crescent is a leisure facility of regional importance. York City Football Club is North Yorkshires only Football League club and Bootham Crescent is the only stadium which meets its needs.

- Bootham Crescent is also a community facility of regional importance. York City Football Club is an important part of community life in York. Having a professional Football League club in York has positive benefits for the status of the City.

- The stadium at Bootham Crescent meets the standards required of the Football League and is in an excellent position for such an important local facility. It is near the city centre, has good access by public transport and brings positive benefits to local businesses.

Late in October 2002, the independent supporters group The Friends of Bootham Crescent was formed and since then, they have been active on the planning front.

In March 2003, with York City on the brink of extinction and with a lease at Bootham Crescent that expired at the end of that season, Trust representatives agreed a form of solution - with landlords BCH and the Council - that satisfied the Football Leagues requirements.

That necessary agreement required the new York City company to undertake its best endeavours to achieve the redevelopment of Huntington Stadium.
BCH then provided a lease to the Club to use Bootham Crescent until May 2004.

In March 2003, as part of its Rescue Package, the Trust put in place a Board of Directors to run York City Football Club Limited.

That included Stadium Development Director Ian McAndrew, a Chartered Surveyor with vast experience in all aspects of commercial property in York and across the region.
In turn, the Club appointed a team of consultants to work on various specialist aspects of the potential stadium development.

There have been many challenges and issues to deal with to progress matters to the first stage of submitting an application. The plans have had to be subject to many restrictions from many angles.

The application was registered on 3 December and is now available for anyone to see.

If we are forced out of Bootham Crescent, the Club needs to have a contingency plan of somewhere to play in York.

If the Club is forced out of Bootham Crescent, the only possible alternative is a redeveloped Huntington Stadium.

Now the Club has got to this first stage, people can start to see that whilst some aspects of a redeveloped Huntington Stadium would be better than Bootham Crescent, many aspects would not.

The arguments can now be progressed beyond moral and sentimental outpourings, and instead can be based on the drafted planning application and the many obstacles that stand in the way of a redeveloped Huntington Stadium.

If the Club is forced out of Bootham Crescent, it threatens the ability to deliver the Community Vision and it threatens the sheer survival of the Club.

Many of these obstacles have come to light during the hard work and process of the past seven months.

Issues include the following:
- Relocation of the running track so that the athletes continue to have a suitable facility;
- The concerns of local residents;
- Objectors to the planning application;
- Archaeological issues at the site;
- Health and safety matters;
- Licensing of the stadium by the FLA;
- Travel plans and traffic issues around the Monks Cross area;
- The Councils Transport Plan requirements;
- Stadium development and management issues at a venue to be shared with the Rugby Club;
- Actually funding the development scheme and associated costs; and
- The implications for the Clubs future revenue generation if the Club was ever to move to a redeveloped Huntington.

The local authority now has to carry out a huge amount of consultation over the next few months. Many City fans may want to contribute to that process.

Whilst its not yet been confirmed, the planning application may be heard around Easter. Planning officers will take peoples comments and objections up until that time.

In conjunction with the Club, in the New Year, we will seek to provide more information and clarity to people about the application and the process.

The scale of the issues faced for the redevelopment of Huntington Stadium is such that they could be insurmountable.

The preferred option is to stay at Bootham Crescent until a time of our choosing when a better option may be available.

That is why much work has been done to try and get a solution to stay at Bootham Crescent.

Nobody has given up on Bootham Crescent.

Finally, we all share the anger and frustration about the ground situation at York City.

That is not of our making.

Unfortunately the uncertainty will continue into next year. Please be in no doubt that people are using their best efforts to provide the best possible solution for York City.


Since the completion of the Rescue Package, the Trusts role has evolved further. Some aspects of this role are, in effect, shared with the Club itself.

The York City Model is one that many people will be looking at over the coming months and years and no doubt it will continue to evolve as time passes.

We summarise the Trusts role as follows:
i) Promoting York City within the local community;
ii) Promoting York City and the Trust within the national football community;
iii) Working with all parties to ensure the Club continues to have a decent home in the city;
iv) Carrying out the operations of the Trust itself, as a separate legal entity with around 2,000 members;
v) Fundraising to provide money to pass on to help the Clubs finances;
vi) Helping and organising for more volunteers to be somehow involved in assisting the Trust and the Club on a regular basis;
vii) A guardianship role in relation to the running of the Club. We represent the interests of the community and supporters in the way in which the Club is operated.

At this point, a quick fundraising appeal!
Were rarely short of fundraising ideas, but often short of people to help make things happen.
Anyone out there prepared to do some fundraising, please dont hesitate, just get on and do it.
Or if youre prepared to assist in anyway please get in touch with me or anyone else from the Trust.

Ongoing fundraising makes a vital contribution to the Clubs finances.

In terms of the relationship between the Trust and the Club, there is a published Code of Conduct that sets out how the Clubs Board of directors have to work with the Trust Board.
This requires the Trust Board to be formally consulted on certain matters.

There are regular meetings at which the Club Board reports to the Trust Board so that we can ensure that were happy with the way in which the Clubs directors are running our Football Club.

The Trust has control over the make-up of the Club Board. Back in March, with the takeover just days away, we acted decisively to appoint three of our elected Trust Board members as directors of the Football Club thats Steve Beck, Mike Brown and Sophie McGill.

Subsequently we appointed three further Trust members as directors of the Football Club. All are City fans and each has a business background such that they can fulfil specific roles for us.
They are:
- Ian McAndrew, appointed as Stadium Development Director
- Jason McGill as Commercial Director
- Terry Doyle as Finance Director

Over the past 9 months, each of the Clubs directors has committed an enormous amount of their time for the benefit of York City.
None of them can or will benefit financially.
As a Trust Board, so far we are very pleased with the work of the directors of our club.

Of course there are areas for improvement and major challenges lie ahead, but for a company and a board that is less than 9 months old, there are many achievements to be proud of.

In particular, wed like to mention three areas:
Firstly, Terry has done a terrific job to implement the Trusts business plan and get a grip on the Clubs finances.
Finances continue to be very tight indeed and fundraising is vitally important, particularly this season.

Secondly, in particular through the work of Jason, the Club has put in place some ground-breaking commercial deals. We now have the very smart Nike shirts, adourned with the name of Yorks Phoenix Software. Added to that, Nestle are providing sponsorship monies to the club as the new Community Partner.

And on the community front, theres a whole host of initiatives that have been put in place to deliver the Trusts Community Vision.
For instance:
- City was one of just a handful of clubs to win a grant to fund anti-racism work
- The clubs assistance to the Princes Trust scheme for young people, which recently earned the Club special praise in the House of Commons
- Record numbers of Junior Reds this year
- The launch of York Citys Learning League, whereby players visit local primary schools to help promote reading skills
- The Minstermen Christmas Appeal to provide gifts to those in our community with greater need.

Unfortunately, the threatened loss of Bootham Crescent also threatens the ability to deliver the Community Vision.

After the AGM, the Club Board will be making a presentation about some of the work and achievements of the new York City.

In the future, the work of the Trust, the Clubs Directors and all of the employees and volunteers who make York City function has to be measured in more than just football results.

Of course, we all want a winning team, but clubs like York City are about more than just that.

We hope you agree that, through the Trust, City supporters have achieved a lot over the past couple of years.

However, we dont want to stop there.

Some of the areas were looking to focus on in 2004 are as follows:
1. Increasing further the number of volunteers who play some form of role in helping York City function. Weve already mobilised many people, but we want to get even more people directly involved week-in, week-out.
2. Active fundraising for the Trust to raise money to help support the Clubs survival. Fundraising is very important for City.
3. To some extent touched on already tonight, is encouraging people to view York City as more than just a Football Team. To hold a more balanced view of the Club and see its wide range of work.

But the single most important matter in 2004 is that the Trust will continue to work to ensure that York City has the best possible facilities in the city of York.

At this point in time, if it can be achieved, that means York City staying at its Bootham Crescent home.

To finish off, a quick re-cap on 2003, a momentous year for York City supporters.
- Earlier this year York City won the Services to Football award from the Football Supporters Federation. And, as reported today, we have won the Supporters Direct and Co-operative Back Trust of the Season award for 2003.
- Weve received various commendations for our work from MPs and other national figures.
- In terms of the level of membership relative to the supporter base, were probably the best supported Trust in the World.
- The tremendous fundraising efforts generated 1/2 million.
- The supporters saved City from the brink of extinction, and we now own and run our Football Club.
- Saving City means the fight can go on to help ensure that we stay at Bootham Crescent at least until a better facility is in place.
- Weve put in place a board of directors who truly care about York City and have worked tirelessly to make a difference.
- And, were starting to deliver our Community Vision to truly place York City at the heart of the community.

Wed like to thank all those people who have committed time and money to help the Trust and the new York City achieve so much in the past year.

To everyone out there, please continue to provide positive support for the future of York City.

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