Footy fans Unite

Last updated : 22 January 2002 By The Chairman
We have been asked to bring the plight of York City to your attention! As it is a current football topic that could have repercussions on any team struggling financially we have included the article for your consumption:

When Mike Kettlewell and I launched Terrace Talk over twenty years ago, we thought we were just helping to keep a few dissident fans informed about coach travel to York City away games.To our amazement it actually turned out to be an early volley in a football fans’ fightback against the way our game was being consumed by corporate greed.

Terrace Talk always took the side of supporters against the money men. Commenting on the Fulham fans’ fight against David Bulstrode’s plans to merge their club with QPR, we said:"There are lessons in this for every football supporter who is concerned about the game’s future, OUR game’s future... Ralph McTell said, ‘someone has systematically dismantled this club.’ We all know that someone to be Bustrode, who stands to make a profit of £30,000,000 if his schemes are allowed to succeed."Little did we imagine that within 14 years our own beloved York City would be facing a crisis that threatened its very existence.

Around two years ago, majority shareholder Douglas Craig, forced through a scheme by which York City (YCFC) became a wholly-owned subsidiary of a new company, Bootham Crescent Holdings (BCH).YCFC then sold Bootham Cresecent to BCH for £165,000.A few weeks after putting City up for sale, Mr Craig announced that he would consider selling the football club and the ground separately.If that happened, he said, BCH would evict YCFC from Bootham Crescent and sell it to developers for up to £4,500,000.

By a bit of nifty bookkeeping, Mr Craig stands to walk away from the ruins of York City with upwards of £2,500,000 personal profit.But, as with Fulham and many other clubs since, the money men had not allowed for the supporters.City fans moved quickly: three hundred fans packed a meeting to set up a supporters’ trust with the immediate aim of getting the fans’ voce heard in the running of the club, and the longer-term goal of taking over the club entirely. Already thousands of pounds have been raised.An angry demonstration saw over 1,000 people marching through York - the biggest march the city had seen in decades.But the thing that has knocked most City fans sideways is the solidarity from other football fans.

A small band of City supporters supported Brighton fans occupying the pitch - that small show of solidarity is being repaid many times over; in messages left on internet message boards, in letters, phone calls and we hope, through a large turn out at our Fans United Day, called for February 2nd, when we play Lincoln City.But we don’t want just Brighton fans!

We hope Lincoln fans will join us too, along with fans of any and every club who can make it to York that day.This isn’t just a protest against what Douglas Craig and others like him have done to far too many clubs in the past.It will also be about celebrating football’s best traditions: solidarity, co-operation, and community.These are qualities which can also have a place of honour in football’s future, if we all pull together to make sure our game is for US the supporters, not the billionaires and the bankers.