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From the AGM

Thank you to all those people around 150 - who attended the recent Trust AGM and Club Fans Forum at the TAH  - the venue of the inaugural public meeting to launch the idea of a Trust back on a cold evening in January 2002 (so long ago!).  A similar number of people unable to attend had also voted by proxy before the meeting.  Thanks also to all those people who helped organise the event, and for the Club Board and Viv for the Q&A session.  Hopefully, all those who attended were reasonably entertained, in addition to the routine and serious business of the evening.


 


Some of the key themes from the evening were as follows:


l                    For everyone involved with York City, maintaining enthusiasm and commitment has been made difficult this year when there are not many smiles around the place.  It has been a very hard year.


l                    The importance of the Club building key relationships.  Whilst the Club only lives and breathes because of the fans, there are also other key stakeholders that we have to build a relationship with (e.g. the FSIF, the media, the Council, local businesses, the employees, etc).


l                    The details of Project Gold were again summarised and, on the night, there were several questions answered relating to the ground situation.  The deal is now expected to legally complete in February 2005.


l                    The continuing importance of additional fundraising was highlighted.  More important than ideas, is for people to be proactive and organise fundraising.


l                    The Trusts Bootham Crescent Loan Note scheme will remain open until February 2005 for any supporter prepared to contribute to helping York City gain ownership of BC.  Further details included elsewhere in this programme and via www.ycst.org.uk .


l                    For the avoidance of doubt, none of the Trust or Club Board members can or will benefit financially from the acquisition of Bootham Crescent or its future sale.  The occasional mutterings from the computer keyboards of some people that questions our integrity and motivations can be harmful and damaging.


l                    The corporate governance review (Project Spirit) was initiated in January 2004 primarily in response to the BC situation, but has broadened into a comprehensive review of the structures and processes that set out how our business is run.  Other trusts have been looking to YCST for guidance on these matters.


l                    The corporate governance framework will be finalised and published after the legal completion of Project Gold.


l                    Spirit acknowledges that the Trusts percentage of ownership of York City is not necessarily fixed at 85% forever.  In the future, the Trust can still achieve its objectives for York City and, in particular, protect Bootham Crescent with a different level of ownership.


l                    There has been an enormous amount of time and effort invested in Projects Gold and Spirit that will provide firmer foundations for the Club to move forward.  Once completed, it will also free up a lot of time to be then focussed on improving other areas of the business.


l                    It is a great challenge to run the business on the efforts of volunteers, who are also trying to balance their work and family lives.  And everything the Club does or people think it has done - is subject to intense scrutiny and comment.


l                    The Club Board is being run on a professional and business like basis.  All of the Directors have Company Law responsibilities.  None of the directors are paid, nor do they recover their expenses.


l                    Appointments to the Club Board have to be on a willing & able basis, to enhance the overall effectiveness of the Board.  The Trust & Club are now looking to enhance the commercial and marketing expertise of the Club by finding a volunteer to lead some of these aspects.


l                    Various community initiatives were highlighted.  Delivery of the Trusts community vision led by Sophie - has played an essential part in negotiating the ground solution.


l                    Whilst there were contributing factors beyond the control of the Club, we have to learn from the experience of relegation.  York City will get back into the Football League!


l                    This is a club now owned by its fans.  That in itself is a great achievement, but it carries with it a degree of collective responsibility which never applied in the old set up.


l                    In many ways life is simpler and easier for the fans when that collective responsibility doesn't exist. You can moan at the Board, the manager, the players, everybody, secure in the knowledge that you are completely without blame and responsibility


l                    That's not to say that match-going fans who pay money to watch the team haven't the right to express their views and their criticisms. Of course they have, but we all have a responsibility to be fair, constructive and realistic in those criticisms.


l                    At the end of the day, there is a chain of accountability about the way York City is run back to the ordinary fans, and we shouldn't forget how important that is.

 
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