Owner Jason McGill says he has “no sinister ulterior motive” over acquiring 100 per cent of York City’s shares.
The City chairman, whose business JM Packaging holds 75 per cent, intends to claim the remaining 25 owned by the York City Supporters Trust.
A special Trust general meeting has been called on March 22 where members will vote on whether to hand over the shares to McGill in return for him to continue funding the club as he has done since 2006.
The Trust rejected McGill’s initial proposal for the shares and instead offered him 20 per cent, leaving him with 95 per cent of the shares.
The deal also included a clause that would see the Trust receive a payment if McGill sold his shares within two years of moving to their new Monks Cross stadium, as well as 21.35 per cent of any equity from the sale of their current Bootham Crescent ground once the club’s creditors have been paid.
However, at the Trust’s annual general meeting earlier this month, they revealed McGill had rejected the proposal.
Bootham Crescent has previously been valued at £4.5m by the City of York Council which is understood to be enough to cover the money McGill has loaned into the club through JMP.
The club’s auditor, Steve Kilmartin, speaking on behalf of McGill at the meeting, claimed the land would not receive offers of more than £3m after the Trust stated they would seek a new, independent valuation of the land.
Kilmartin also said that the club going out of business is a real possibility if the Trust vote against any further offers, although did not intend the statement to be a threat.
The auditor believes acquiring the Trust’s shares would be a “reward” for McGill’s efforts at York. However, those shares currently have no value and if there isn’t a surplus from the Bootham Crescent sale then McGill wouldn’t stand to gain anything, raising questions behind his motives.
Supporters have urged McGill to be open about his vision for the club, which made a significant six-figure loss last season, by providing business plans and management accounts for the past two years, and the next two, so Trust members can make an informed decision on any future vote regarding the shares.
In a submission to the Trust, McGill wrote: “I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. In the 15 years I have been a director of York City Football Club and majority shareholder since June 2006, I have always acted in the best interests of the club.
“I have made mistakes over the duration and take full responsibility for the current playing status, but I am immensely proud of the non-playing side of the club which has been turned around and enhanced since the dark days of 2002/2003 when the club was 30 minutes from liquidation.
“The club and supporters can especially look forward to long term security at the New Community Stadium, due for occupation in June 2019 and all the associated income streams that the facility will bring to the club on match days and non-match days.
“I raised the issue of future funding with the board of the Supporters’ Trust in May 2016. My initial agreement with the YCST was to end in June 2011, but the club needed access to financial support until delivery of the new stadium, so I agreed to continue to finance the club and dedicate my time until June 2016 when the stadium was due to be opened.
“The project was delayed again with the likelihood that the stadium would not be completed until June 2019. The club needed financing until this date which was raised with the Trust Board in May 2016.
“Over the period, since 2006, my company, J M Packaging, has continued to fund the club and subject to agreement of the proposal set out to the members, will continue to do so until occupation of the New Community Stadium, but I believe it only equitable and reasonable that J M Packaging receives the Trust’s 25% shares for the £1 million plus needed from my company to fund the club from June 2016 to June 2019. Contrary to some there is no sinister ulterior motive.
“After meeting with the board of the Supporters’ Trust on Monday 12th February 2018, to further demonstrate my intentions, I agreed to sign a legally binding document stating that J M Packaging will not profit from the sale of Bootham Crescent. Since 2011 I have consistently confirmed this position.
“I also agreed that the Trust would hold a Golden Share whereby the Trust would receive their 25% shareholding back, at no cost, should YCFC not play at the new stadium. Ultimately the decision to accept or reject the proposal is down to you the Trust Members and whatever the outcome I know you will have made your decision by taking into account the best interests of York City Football Club.”
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