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Hurdle cleared as progress made towards owning BC

From the Evening Press

The first hurdle on the track to legally securing Bootham Crescent was today cleared leaving York City director Jason McGill "absolutely delighted".

Shareholders of Bootham Crescent Holdings Plc voted to switch the company back to limited status to set the ball rolling on a vital transaction that will ultimately keep the club in existence.

A staggering 99 per cent of the 192,972 votes cast went in favour of the resolution, leaving the way clear for the football club board to finalise an agreement to buy out the major shareholders and gain a controlling foothold in the company.

McGill said: "I'm absolutely delighted. It's the first step in the process of securing this football club.

"There were two things that struck me. The first thing was the percentage of people voting in favour which was about 99 per cent of those who voted and the total number who voted was about 96 per cent, which was excellent.

"It actually links in with the season ticket sales and that is a testament that people in the city think we are doing things in the best interests of the football club."

Now the company (BCH), which also owns the 18-acre training complex at Wigginton, has been legally switched to a private firm, the 2million Football Stadia Improvement Fund loan can be put into place to buy 75.89 per cent of the shares from the directors and effectively turn BCH into a subsidiary of the club[and, in turn, the Trust].

An agreement has also been set up for the club to purchase the other shares of the big three at a set price over the next few years.

The one down side for the minority shareholders was the loss of protection afforded by the Takeover Code which will mean that any offer for their shares in future months or years are likely to be at the price of 1 each - the price they were originally bought for - as opposed to the 12.10 share price offered to the directors because of cost reasons.

Concerns were raised during the meeting about the future role of the minority shareholders who had pitched in in 1979 to help the club and still wanted to have an association with the historic club.

But finance director Terry Doyle said: "The trust owns YCFC, and ultimately, YCFC will own BCH.

"It's not an ideal situation to have minority shareholders in a sub-subsidiary and in effect, BCH Ltd will become a sub-subsidiary of the York City Supporters' Trust."

He added that the best way to be associated with the club would be to join the Trust, and some kind of paper transfer for supporters and share-holders wanting to take that route was mooted.

Other concerns about the club going bust were also eased because with the club and ground reunited, there would always be the ground to fall back on to guard against liquidation.

Minority shareholder Dr Angus MacLeod, a former medical officer for the club, said: "I'm pleased that everything has gone through and I believe it is in the best interests of everyone concerned."

Other shareholders were less happy and declined to comment, although the anticipated fireworks of a possible confrontation with BCH director Douglas Craig failed to materialise and Craig conceded afterwards it had been a `peaceful' meeting.

The next stage is expected to take place at another EGM within four to six weeks. 


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