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Peter Rookes Trust Q&A Response

By Phil Howden | 15th March 2018

York City Football Club was contacted this morning by Peter Rookes, a former York City Supporters’ Trust Board member and Chartered Accountant, who asked the club to post the following statement on the club website and on all YCFC social media platforms. Peter has already posted this, under his own name, on the internet message board Red and Blue Net and on the e-mail newsletter “There’s only one Arthur Bottom”. Peter wanted to make it clear that his statement has also been corroborated by a former Trust Board member.

“I am writing this to clarify a few points on the Trust Q&A. This is all written personally as a former Trust Board member and as someone who has been involved with various meetings between Club and Trust since then, as well as assisting the club in preparation of accounts and forecasts. I try not to get too involved publicly and if I do, will only deal in fact, rather than opinion.

However, I have to say that I find some of the Trust Board’s answers to some questions to be misleading. I was at the meeting in January 2010 referred to several times in the Q&A. At that meeting it was agreed that additional funding could be provided to the club at an interest rate of 5.5% over base. It was expected that this funding would be provided until moving to the new stadium, which at that time was anticipated to be within 2 to 3 years.

Q11 also refers to no consent having been given to loans since October 2011, yet I have attended Trust Board meetings since that date on behalf of the Club, with the sole intention of presenting the budgets, to the Trust Board, for the following season which fully identified the funding/loans required. The Trust Board had the opportunity to query/object to the loan amounts required and they took no action.

Q23 says “It’s important to note that during the Trust’s tenure as majority shareholders, the football club was operated on a breakeven budget, thanks to both prudent budgeting and contributions from fans.” Q24 refers to “the Trust’s experience of running the club at breakeven 2004-2006”. I would like to point out that during the financial years 30/6/04, 30/06/05 and 30/06/06 the club made operating losses totalling £194,946, which is nowhere near a breakeven position.

Q11 & Q34 refer to the original loan and “deed of variation” and suggest that as a result of the original agreement JMP should receive no capital and as a result of a public statement in the media they should receive no interest. The JMP public statement to only take out what has been put in, results in a c£2m saving to the football club in interest. I am sure that if the Trust Board wished to invoke the legal agreement, then JMP would be legally entitled to take all of the interest. I cannot believe that the Trust Board is suggesting an option that would surely be to the detriment of the football club by around £2m – to me this demonstrates a clear misunderstanding and lack of business acumen on their behalf.

As I mentioned above I am writing this purely as a York City supporter of nearly 40 years, who hopes to be still following them in another 40 years. I am not taking “sides” and I will cast my vote on what I believe is best for the future of the football club, but I cannot stand by whilst misleading answers are given to questions.”

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