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Trust Newsletter (July 2003)
Trust Newsletter  (July 2003)

Variety of pre-season Trust News

The kick off for a new season is near. A new season in which the new supporter-owned York City Football Club will compete in the Football League. Six months ago many people were saying that York City was beyond salvation. The hard work and positive contributions of a huge number of City fans means that we can still enjoy seeing our York City compete in the Football League and to continue the fight to have a decent home in the city.

The new York City Football Club needs the positive support of fans and local businesses throughout the coming season and beyond. Whilst results on the pitch are important, our club really means more than that. The work of the Supporters Trust continues to help promote the club in the community and build a greater and more committed/positive supporter base going forward. Your continuing support and assistance is greatly appreciated.

This latest newsletter covers just a few of the recent matters relating to the Trust and City. More to follow within the next week or so.

OPEN DAY
Thanks to all those who made the Open Day such a success

The Press reported that around 4,000 folk enjoyed a marvellous time at Bootham Crescent on Sunday 12th July as the new York City opened its doors for a family fun day.

Those attending were entertained with the new kit, a rapturous welcome for the squad and new management team, bouncy castle, burgers and beer, new stadium plans, football competition and so the list went on.

A massive Thanks to all those supporters who volunteered their time and effort to help make the day such a success for the benefit of the Club and the enjoyment of all those who attended.


OPEN FORUM

FoBC, the supporters pressure group, have organised an Open Forum to take place on Tuesday 22 July (7:30pm) at the Priory Street Centre (off Micklegate). The topic is finding and funding a sustainable home for York City FC.

Speakers have been invited from the Club, the Council, the Rugby Club and the Athletics Club. Everyone is welcome/encouraged to go along and join the debate about the future of professional sport in York.
Friends of Bootham Crescent can be contacted by email on fobc@postmaster.co.uk


SPECIAL PRAISE FOR WORK OF CITY SUPPORTERS
Football League Chairmans special praise for City fans

In a recent interview published in the July issue of the Supporters Direct Newletter, Sir Brian Mawhinney (Chairman of The Football League) singled out the YCST for special praise.

A few extracts from the publication that may be of interest are included here.

SD question: Another serious issue that has affected the future of a number of clubs recently, is the loss of control of ones ground at Wimbledon, Brighton, York City, for example. Do you think that the League has a role to play in protecting grounds as a clubs asset rather than owned by an individual or a holding company?

BM response: I will give you a personal view, not a board one. This is an increasingly pressing problem for football and a very difficult one. You can make a good case for saying that if the ownership of the football club is separated from the ownership of the football club, then the chances of a club surviving in the long term are weakened. I am not in favour of that and neither are supporters.

On the other hand, clubs are all legal entities with legal rights and the power to make the decisions that govern their own businesses. Therefore, if we were to seek to intervene in this area we would have to get broad agreement from clubs.

I am not sure where everyone stands on this. Some will argue, justifiably, that unless they had sold the ground they would not exist today. I think it is a big issue and one that is going to get bigger. It is extremely complicated and I do not have a magic wand.

Incidentally, I think the supporters of York City deserve a particular clap on the back. I do not think that club would still be viable if it were not for the supporters. It is a good example of what a dedicated bunch of supporters can mean to a club. Other clubs should take note.

SD question: Trusts are now set up as community mutuals in the form of Industrial and Provident Societies. Some of the biggest clubs in Europe Barcelona, Real Madrid are members organisations. Is there a chance that League rules might be amended to allow for this structure in England?

BM response: This is a very good question, but I think it is premature. Clubs are going to watch the progress of the likes of York City very closely over the next few years. The League has no plans to tell clubs that they have to be PLCs, or they have to be private companies or that they have to be this, that or other. Of course, they have to be structured so that somebody is legally responsible.



MEMBERSHIP UPDATE

In July 2003, for the membership period to 30 June 2004, the York City Supporters Trust has 1,890 current Members, of which 389 are Life Members, plus approximately 300 Junior Members (affiliated via the Junior Reds).

YCST is one of the best-supported Trusts in the country (there are now almost 100 Supporters Trusts) in absolute terms. YCST is probably the best-supported Trust overall, in terms of membership numbers relative to a Clubs supporter base.

Please encourage others to join membership forms available www.ycst.org.uk or from the Club Shop or by writing to the Trust (c/o Bootham Crescent).

FANS' FOOTIE TOURNAMENT
The Keith Walwyn Fans Football Tournament

By all accounts, Saturdays Fans Tournament was a huge success raising money for both the Trust and Blackpool Hospital Coronary Unit. A huge Thanks to all those City fans who helped make it happen.

The trophy, named after City's legendary striker who died earlier this year, was presented by Trust Board Member and City Chairman Steve Beck to the winning Evening Press team.


ADDITIONAL ROLE FOR STEVE BECK AT THE CLUB

At a recent meeting, the Trust Board discussed and then unanimously agreed with a proposal whereby Steve Beck will take on an additional role to carry out accounting and book-keeping duties for York City Football Club Limited.

In effect, Steve will now have three roles in relation to the Trust and the Club:
i) He is an elected Trust Board member which, in common with all other Trust Board members, is an unpaid voluntary role;
ii) He volunteered to be one of the three Trust Board members to be on the Club Board and carries out the daily/weekly duties of the Football Club Chairman, on an unpaid basis; and
iii) Through his own business, Steve will provide accountancy services to the Club each week. Steves business (The Beck Partnership) will receive a fee, determined on an arms length basis, for these services.

The Clubs day-to-day book-keeping requirements had been carried out by a part-time employee who is moving on to other employment. The accountancy services to be provided approximate, on average, to two days a week. The new arrangements have no impact on the continuing role of Terry Doyle as the Clubs Finance Director.

The Trust Board is satisfied that the arrangements make a great deal of sense in a number of ways:
- It generates a further annual cost saving for the Club;
- Confidence that the services will be carried out in a thorough and professional manner and on a timely basis; and
- The accountancy work can be fitted in around the day-to-day Chairmans duties that need to be performed.


THE TRUST-CLUB RELATIONSHIP

As a quick reminder on the set up at the new York City, the Trust owns the Club on behalf of its members and has an elected Board of twelve fans. In turn, as part of its rescue package, the Trust put in place a six-strong Board of Directors of York City Football Club Limited to oversee the running of the Club on a day-to-day basis. The Club Board has to oversee the running of the Club in a way that will fulfil the Trusts community vision. The Club Board all working on a voluntary basis - are legally responsible for the operations of York City Football Club Limited. The Board of Directors, including the Chairman, includes three elected members of the Trust Board Steve Beck, Sophie McGill and Mike Brown. They are supplemented by three other city fans Ian McAndrew, Jason McGill and Terry Doyle who bring further business and commercial skills to the Board make-up.

After less than 4 months in control, the Clubs Board has made significant strides towards stabilising the Clubs financial position, working on a ground solution and progress towards achieving the community vision. Whilst many people said that York City was beyond salvation, through the power and fundraising of the supporters, City fans overcame that hopeless situation and rescued the Club from extinction.

The hard work to deliver a better York City is now being implemented, and the changes that are taking place are against a difficult backdrop. The new company still carries the burden of some of the financial excesses of the past and is denied the benefit of season ticket monies from those supporters who paid half-price to Batchelors old company. In addition to the financial challenge, the Club Board have to deal with the forced move away from Bootham Crescent and work to retain a decent stadium for the Club.

As an integral part of the Code of Conduct (that provides the framework governing the relationship between the supporters body and the York City Board of Directors), the Club Board has formally reported to the Trust Board on a number of occasions over the past few months.

A variety of matters have been addressed, including:
- The continuing restructuring of the Clubs finances (that has included the notice given to Terry Dolan and Adie Shaw under their contracts and the appointment of Chris Brass and Lee Nogan in new dual roles for the Club);
- Managing the Clubs key cost of player wages;
Commercial developments to help boost income for next season (including the Nike shirt/merchandise deal and the major sponsorship deal with Phoenix Software);
- Growing involvement of more fan volunteers to help support the running and promotion of the Club;
- Continuing to improve communication with the supporter base; and
- The significant work by the Club and its professional advisers in relation to the plans for the re-development of the Monks Cross Stadium Site and certain issues (including the Councils stance) facing the Club to keep the project on-track.

As noted above, the operations of York City Football Club Limited are overseen by the Clubs Board of Directors. The operations are carried out by the Clubs employees, supplemented by a range of unpaid volunteers that include, but are not restricted to, the six fans on the Clubs Board.

Please continue to provide positive support to the Trust and the Club to help ensure a brighter future for York City Football Club

 
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