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Trust News from Match Programme of 2 April 2005
Trust News from Match Programme of 2 April 2005

Two years on from Saving City...

Two years on


Almost exactly two years ago, at 1pm on 28 March 2003, the Trusts Rescue Package was completed.  The legal agreement and monies exchanged and the Trusts new company, York City Football Club Limited, acquired the business and certain assets/liabilities (mostly liabilities!) from the old company.  Incredibly, Citys supporters (just) reached their target of around 1/2 million to fund the Rescue Package.


 


The following day was the first City game as a community owned and run football club (and we got a home win!).  On the pitch at half-time, the Trust praised the commitment and spirit of Citys supporters to overcome a situation that many people thought was beyond salvation.  We also said, This is the start of a new journey.  There are many challenges ahead.  Two years on, in a variety of ways, how true that has proved!


 


Clearly, the general effort, performances and results on-the-pitch have been hugely disappointing.  Most rationale City supporters realise that were not going to see Premiership skill and style at BC each week.  However, we do want and expect some determination, commitment and organisation from our team.  Hopefully, Billy can help the team deliver that in future.


 


Off-the-pitch, there have been a lot of changes to fundamentally restructure the Club we inherited including the not insignificant matter of gaining ownership of Bootham Crescent and the Training Ground.  The Trust and Club Boards firmly believe that these changes will help provide the foundations for a more successful football club in the future, both on and off the pitch.  Getting there will continue to be a somewhat painful and frustrating process in some respects, but they are challenges which have been and are being overcome.


 


Owning its own football club has also brought about a change of role for the Trust itself, and for the relationship that is possible between fan and club that is different to the traditional relationship of the past and the one still in place at 90%+ of clubs.


  


Governance


The Independent Football Commission recently launched its third Annual Report that is widely distributed within the football industry and is available to order or download from www.theifc.co.uk .  Within the publication there is a section about finance and governance.  It perhaps makes pertinent reading for some City fans and, in some respects, it may help to realise that were not alone.  Similar issues can also arise at the likes of Wimbledon, Telford, Exeter and other supporter-owned clubs.  For instance, the publication lists five common dilemmas for supporter owned clubs:


i)                    Tension between the confidentiality of some Club Board discussions and decisions, and the total transparency expected by fans of their directors;


ii)                   Donor fatigue (especially in circumstances of poor sporting results);


iii)                 The inability of Trust-elected directors to meet traditional expectations and become personal donors;


iv)                 The employer vulnerability that goes with unpaid volunteer labour; and


v)                  Supporter disillusionment if the results are no more comfortable than under previous regimes.


 


The report also quotes from Deloittes Annual Review of Football Finance about the challenges for the supporter movement in relation to corporate governance: the nature of a football club means that it is of great public interest and the actions of the clubs board can be the subject of great scrutiny and opinion.  Tensions can arise between the club directors and the trusts own board and its members.  Those charged with the operation of clubs have many obligations and responsibilities and it isnt an easy life.


 


Your Trust recognises that there are frustrations amongst some supporters about the reality of a mutually owned football club.  Whilst better performances and results on-the-pitch would alleviate the pressures, the Trust and the Club are working to put in place the foundations of a club where supporters can and do make a difference.


 


Part of this structure will be the finalisation of Project Spirit.  Following completion of the deal to gain ownership of Bootham Crescent in February, the Trust is now working to finalise and publish its governance review and recommendations.  This seeks to put in place a framework of structures and processes to help ensure that York City continues to be managed in the best interests of its supporters.  Project Spirit is expected to incorporate the processes that were approved by the members at the last AGM (a report on how those resolutions have been actioned so far was included in the last match programme and is available on www.ycst.org.uk) .  The review is unprecedented and the publication will be viewed with interest, not just by City fans.


 


The role of York Citys Supporters Trust:


i)                    Acting as the guardians of the Football Club and its home ground


ii)                   Ensuring that the interests of the local community and supporters are represented in the way in which York City is operated


iii)                 Promoting York City within the local community and within the wider football community


iv)                 Activities to provide funds to help the Football Club's finances


v)                  Helping and organising for volunteers to work for the benefit of York City


vi)                 Carrying out the operations of the Trust itself, as a separate legal entity with around 1,500 members

 
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