York City chairman gives his first response to relegation and reveals plans for next season

The day in November 2015 when York City chairman Jason McGill (right) signed up Jackie McNamara as manager. Photograph: Mark Comer
1 May 2017 @ 7.33 pm
| Sport

Jason McGill has spoken for the first time since York City were relegated to National League North for the first time in the club’s history.

The City chairman has issued a statement in which he:

  • takes sole blame for events
  • admits appointing Jackie McNamara as manager was a mistake
  • reveals he has offered Gary Mills a new contract
  • and pledged that the team will stay full time.

‘Jackie wants to put things right’

Much of the anger and frustration of fans has been directed at Jackie McNamara.

Appointed manager in November 2015, under his tenure City were relegated out of the football league and into the National League.

Jason backed him to turn things around. But he resigned in October 2016 after a series of terrible results, culminating in a 6-1 defeat at Guiseley.

Yet when Gary Mills was taken on as manager Jason appointed Jackie as chief executive of the club.

Jason said: “The appointment of Jackie McNamara as manager, in hindsight, did not work and, as a consequence, has been a major cause for the current situation.

“Jackie has, however, made some important behind-the-scenes changes, since becoming CEO at the club and more importantly, feels responsible and wants to help put things right.

“It would have been easy for him to walk away and not take the abuse, but he wants to assist with implementing changes to the non-playing side of the business.”

He said he trusts Jackie to represent his interests in the daily running of York City.

Mills offered new contract

Gary Mills: will he stay on? Photograph © Ian Parker on Flickr

A clause in his contract means that Gary Mills could go after relegation without it costing the club anything.

But Jason offered him a contract to manage the club next season soon after the game on Saturday.

“The offer is commensurate with the status of a club playing in the National League North,” he said, “and has certain criteria and goals that must be achieved at key points during the season.”

Gary has until Wednesday to decide whether to take that offer.

The club will stay full time and, according to the chairman “the proposed YCFC playing budget for next season would have been in the top three, based on this season’s figures”.

Emotion and abuse

Jason also spoke of his pain as a City fan at the relegation – and his understanding at the anger some fans have expressed after the match on Saturday, and subsequently on social media and in the online forums.

“I’m hurting as much as anyone having given 14 years of my life, in time and financial assistance, to a club that was 30 minutes from oblivion in 2003.

“I can understand the frustrations of the supporters which led to the emotion and abuse, by a number of individuals, after the game on Saturday.

“I needed to gather my thoughts and not publish a knee-jerk response so soon after the game and following the immediate aftermath.”

The statement in full

I am sorry to the supporters of York City Football Club for taking time to issue a statement following the devastating events on Saturday. I have consistently maintained that I am solely to blame for making the decisions at the Club, that have led us to the position and status we are now faced with. Decisions were made with the best of intentions, but they ultimately failed to deliver the on-pitch results we all desired.

The appointment of Jackie McNamara as manager, in hindsight, did not work and, as a consequence, has been a major cause for the current situation. Jackie has, however, made some important behind-the-scenes changes, since becoming CEO at the Club and more importantly, feels responsible and wants to help put things right. It would have been easy for him to walk away and not take the abuse, but he wants to assist with implementing changes to the non-playing side of the business. I must focus on running the parent company, because without J M Packaging there would be no financial support for York City Football Club.

Trust is very important for me and I trust Jackie McNamara to represent my interests in the day-to-day running of the Football Club.

I’m hurting as much as anyone having given 14 years of my life, in time and financial assistance, to a Club that was 30 minutes from oblivion in 2003. I can understand the frustrations of the supporters which led to the emotion and abuse, by a number of individuals, after the game on Saturday. I needed to gather my thoughts and not publish a knee-jerk response so soon after the game and following the immediate aftermath.

There are many things to consider following the ignominy of relegation and a further statement will be issued in due course, but one of the first things to resolve is the managerial situation at the Club going forward. It is imperative that the Club has stability and a recruitment plan in place for next season at the earliest opportunity.

The Football Club had, at its discretion, following relegation, the option to part company with Gary Mills without financial implication to either party. I decided, however, to make an offer to Gary, immediately after the game on Saturday, of further engagement as YCFC manager for season 2017/2018. The offer is commensurate with the status of a Club playing in the National League North and has certain criteria and goals that must be achieved at key points during the season. Following discussions with other National League North clubs, the proposed YCFC playing budget for next season would have been in the top three, based on this season’s figures. For the avoidance of doubt, the Club will remain full-time next season.

I have given Gary until Wednesday this week to make his decision, as I believe the Club cannot have managerial uncertainty, by leaving a decision until after Wembley. The manager needs to begin recruitment for next season immediately and we do not need to be playing catch-up with other teams in the league.

It is great to see York City Football Club playing at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final, but it is more important to begin our campaign for promotion next season now.

Following Gary’s decision, a further statement will be made regarding other issues facing the future of the Club.

– Jason McGill