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Trust News from match programme of 29 Dec 2004

Supporting City

Over the Christmas period some aspects of the Trusts Community Vision have been taking place.  For example, the York City Carol Service at St Lukes, the Minstermen Christmas Appeal in aid of the York Arc Light Project for homeless people and the City Reds Christmas Party held on 23rd December.  Thank you to all the volunteers who help make things happen and to all those people who support such events.  If any supporter considers that York City can/should play a more proactive role in a particular community area in 2005, the best way to help make it happen is to get in touch with the Trust or the Club and, ideally, help to organise it!  We really do want and need more volunteers to help make a difference for the future of York City.



Hands on Bootham Crescent


One of the main topics at the Trusts December AGM that supporters wanted to understand more about was the long term ground solution.  As the ground situation has been so central to everything that has happened at York City since the ownership was stripped from the Club in 1999, we make no apologies for repeating in todays Trust News some of the key points about how the supporters have got their Hands On Bootham Crescent.  The whole saga has been central to everything that has happened with York City over the past few years, including the ups and downs of 2004.


As we all know, the Trusts Rescue Package was completed in March 2003 when the threat of being ousted from Bootham Crescent was very real and cast a dark shadow over the immediate and long term future of the Club.  At the time, whilst there was a confidence amongst a core of people that something could be sorted, the chance of actually gaining ownership of Bootham Crescent was very very slim.  Immediately following the Trusts Rescue Package, the work commenced to find a long term ground solution.  Initially, investigations had to focus on the Huntington Stadium site.  However, by July 2003 Jason McGill had begun the negotiations to find a way for the Trust and the Club to actually gain ownership of Bootham Crescent.


Understandably, people were becoming increasingly concerned that the Club would be forced out to Huntington.  By the time of the Trusts 2003 AGM, we were pretty confident that a solution was in sight and, that night, we said as much as we could to reassure people.  In February 2004 the Club was able to make a brief statement confirming that agreement had been reached for York City to continue to play at Bootham Crescent in 2004/05 and for the foreseeable future.  As a result, it was also announced that the Club Board was to withdraw the planning application for the redevelopment of the Huntington Stadium site.  The thorough assessment of redeveloping Huntington Stadium proved that it was not a suitable alternative.  There were too many obstacles and issues involved.  Great credit is due to Club Director Ian McAndrew for his focussed commitment and professionalism dealing with the necessary Huntington application.  Ian now has a happier job to do, leading the work to find a site for the new stadium for York City.


In June 2004, the Club announced comprehensive details of the negotiated ground solution.  The legal and business aspects of the process of gaining ownership of Bootham Crescent are far from straightforward and it was, and is, inevitable that many people may be frustrated by the complexities involved.


The solution that has been brokered would not have happened if it wasnt for the perseverance and business skills of one life long City fan (and Life Trust Member).  The Trust entered into a partnership with Jason back in March 2003 to complete the Rescue Package and, despite the hard times and some unjust criticism, he has remained steadfast in his commitment to creating a better future for our Football Club. 


The overall deal to obtain the funding from the FSIF and the arrangements with BCH and Persimmon is now expected to complete by February 2005.  It will be a relief to finally have the deal completed.  In particular, the legal and tax complexities of the arrangements have delayed completion beyond previous expectations.  Details of the arrangements, subject to legal completion, include:

  • The Club will be paying 2.1 million to obtain a 76% controlling interest in BCH, which is the company that currently owns Bootham Crescent;

  • Upon completion of the arrangements, the ownership of Bootham Crescent will be under the control of the Trust and the Football Club.  The ownership of Bootham Crescent is being reunited with the Football Club;

  • York City will receive a 2 million loan from the FSIF (a partner company of the Football Foundation), on which the Club must pay interest and adhere to certain conditions;

  • Persimmons agreement with BCH to acquire Bootham Crescent will be cancelled;

  • Details of the arrangements were set out in a legal document sent to BCH shareholders earlier this year.  The shareholders include around 150 City supporters who between own about 6% of BCH;

  • The Club will work towards moving to a new stadium in York in ten years time.  In due course, the Club will sell Bootham Crescent and will reinvest the proceeds in the proposed new stadium.  To help provide some certainty, the Club will immediately seek planning permission for the BC site to be redeveloped as housing after York City has moved to a new stadium;

  • The 3 current directors of BCH who, at one time, were also directors of the old York City company will not have any involvement in the ownership or operation of York City Football Club.


The Trust and the Club will put in place provisions to help protect the value of Bootham Crescent for the future benefit of York City.  Weve said it lots of times before, but for the avoidance of doubt, none of the Trust or Club Directors can or will benefit financially from the acquisition of Bootham Crescent or its future sale.  Unfortunately, there are occasional mutterings from some people that questions the integrity and motivations of Trust and Club Board Members.  The Trust and the Club are open to fair comment and criticism.  However, suggestions or inferences about a lack of integrity or inappropriate motives can be harmful to the individual volunteers concerned - and potentially damaging for the future of York City.  Theres a comprehensive information pack about Project Gold on the Trusts website or available on request. 




And finally, thank you


Thank you to all those people who have continued to provide positive support to the Trust and to York City throughout a very challenging year.  Relegation and the subsequent poor results in the Conference have been hugely disappointing, even more so after all the off-the-pitch struggles of the previous couple of years.  It makes the efforts of volunteers harder to sustain.  With hard work, commitment and unity we can build a better York City.

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