To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, this statement has been drafted by Trust board members independently of those who also sit on the club board. All Supporters’ Trust board members, including Mike Brown and Alastair Smith have had the opportunity to review and comment on the statement.
John Askey’s Departure
The last three days have been difficult days in the recent history of York City Football Club and the Supporters’ Trust; for that we are sorry. Mistakes have been made, they will be learned from and, to our best efforts, they will never be repeated.
Your Supporters’ Trust board were shocked and dismayed to learn of John Askey’s departure on Wednesday morning from BBC Radio York. John Askey united our fanbase leading our club back to the National League and gave pride back to supporters. For that we will be eternally grateful.
Dismayed at the initial decision, we were then disappointed throughout the day with the manner in which John Askey’s dismissal was handled and communicated. Such a major decision affecting both John and the football club should have been handled better by all involved.
On Thursday, we the Supporters’ Trust board held a meeting with our representatives from the Football Club board solely to discuss the events that led to John Askey leaving the football club and how it was handled. Between the briefing received from Club board members, and having listened to John Askey on the radio the previous evening, the Supporters’ Trust board recognise that the relationship between both parties had reached breaking point.
Whilst the Supporters’ Trust are 49% shareholders, all employment matters are strictly managed by the football club as required by law. There is no legal scope for the Trust board to be consulted or to intervene on confidential employment matters.
The role of the Supporters’ Trust board is to guide and scrutinise the actions of the Football Club board representing fans at the highest level of the Club. On the matter of John Askey’s dismissal, we have presented the Club Board with considerable feedback regarding the events that led to a breakdown in relationships, the lack of earlier interventions, and the overall handling of John’s dismissal. Our feedback reflected the depth of fan opinion. However, the Trust board recognise that the action taken to relieve John of his duties were the culmination of numerous factors that had led to an irretrievable situation.
While we deeply regret the situation, it is important for the good of the club to move forward and deal with the challenges ahead.
Going forward the Supporters’ Trust board have requested significantly more detailed updates from its representatives on the Football Club board. These updates, blended with fan opinion, will be used to provide significant recommendations, guidance and oversight into the goals and priorities for the Football Club. Lessons must be learnt; new policies and procedures must be put in place to avoid similar situations arising in the future.
This situation has reinforced the Supporters’ Trust board’s need to modernise the way in which we represent our members and draw clear lines of responsibility between us and the Football Club. In the coming months, whilst working alongside the Football Club and Football Supporters Association, we will be looking to update our own governance and procedures to ensure that now, and in the future, we remain best placed to represent the fans of York City Football Club.
We are sorry, we will do better.
With this statement in mind, we are pausing our Boost the Budget campaign. All monies received will remain under Supporters’ Trust control and will only ever be released to enhance the playing budget of the Football Club.