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Rewind Extra: Fans march to 'Save City'

Rewind Extra: Fans march to 'Save City'
Turning back to 12th January 2002, as York City's fans march through the city with their club suddenly threatened by extinction.

More than 1,000 York City supporters took to the streets on Saturday afternoon as a collective trail of red blazed across the famous old city.

Initially gathering at the Eye of York before moving towards Coney Street, York fans poured along the length of the popular thoroughfare, with rousing chants of defiance and accompanying protests against chairman Douglas Craig, whom they labelled as a "Judas".

The supporters continued their progress until arriving at Bootham Crescent to take in the Third Division fixture against Torquay United, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

March organiser and lifelong City fan Greg Stone later told The Press: "I'm thrilled with the turnout for the march. It has been a peaceful but enthusiastic expression of the fans commitment to the club.

"There is solidarity among all these fans - who are the true owners of the team. We just hope people sit up and listen."

Their actions had been prompted by football club chairman Craig announcing in December that a record annual loss of over £1.2m had been incurred, and with the limit of its overdraft facility already virtually exhausted, the bankrupt club would be put up for sale at the end of the season.

Furthermore, a subsequent announcement proposed that Bootham Crescent, York's proud home since 1932, would close by June 2002; thus leaving the club disastrously homeless and any potential buyer having to relocate it to another venue, unless offering £4.5m to purchase both the football club and its stadium.

A formal notice was also served to the Football League that the club would be wound up on 1st April in the event of no buyer being forthcoming.

Craig had previously secured a transfer of ownership of the stadium to Bootham Crescent Holdings PLC some three years earlier; a move intended to guarantee the football club's security but also effectively stripping it of its major asset.

As a result, the former magistrate and his fellow directors, John Quickfall, Colin Webb and ex-York captain Barry Swallow, together responsible for just over 94% of the holding company's total shareholding, would stand to split around £3.5m in profits.

Meanwhile, a hastily organised public meeting staged earlier in the week already witnessed 300 distraught City supporters packed into the Tempest Anderson Hall, with many more locked outside.

That unanimously decided to attempt to form a supporters' trust in a bid to rescue their beloved club from total oblivion.

The meeting had begun with its chairman, Paul Rawnsley, making an impassioned plea to the assembled gathering: "We must not let the club die and we must do everything we can to ensure the club survives for future generations," he exclaimed.

"We have more than 100 people locked outside, which I think demonstrates the commitment and passion for our club and that we will not let York City die.

"We urge everyone to focus on securing the future of this special football club playing in the Football League.

"Whoever takes over York City Football Club will have a difficult job to do," Rawnsley continued. "The owner may be a Supporters' Trust or it may be someone else.

"Whatever, the Supporters' Trust will have a role to play in the future running of the club."

Rewind Extra - January 2002

Writer:Vital York City
Date:Wednesday February 7 2018
Time: 4:37PM

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