York secure financial lifeline

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The Independent Football

There tends not to be much good news for the smaller clubs these days, but yesterday two of them received a fillip.

York City learned that their financial future could be secured when John Batchelor confirmed that the club will move away from Bootham Crescent. The announcement was made as the motor racing team owner was unveiled as the new owner and chairman of the Third Division club.

Batchelor said he is in talks with various people and has two specific sites in mind for a new 15,000-seat stadium in the city. Batchelor is believed to have bought the club for a figure in the region of £4m and he revealed he was attracted to the Minstermen as they were "the best club available in the least financial trouble". The club have a £100,000 overdraft but no more debts and they expect to make a loss at the end of the season of between £400,000 and £500,000.

Batchelor also promised the club "exposure Premiership clubs would die for". With a seven-figure sponsorship deal due to be announced next week, he said his touring car team will also bear the name of York City. "I am here for the long haul but the club needs to move forward and it has the potential to do that," he said. "I have worked with football clubs and motor sport in the past and made it work there so it should be no different this time.

"I've taken the touring car business from nothing to a premier outfit in four years and there's no reason why York City can't do the same." He added: "We have sites in mind for a new stadium, which will be attractive to other activities such as pop concerts."

Paul Rawnsley, vice-chairman of the York City Supporters' Trust, who helped kick off the Save City campaign, was delighted with the takeover.

"A huge amount of organisation and hard work has gone into the campaign and everyone should be proud of the achievements," he said. "However, the hard work is not over. In future the new York City will be seeking more support than ever before from the fans, the council and the local businesses."

Bury were given a stay of execution when the High Court extended the club's administration period to 26 April, six days after Bury's final Second Division match away to Peterborough United, after the administrators proved they had enough money to fund the Shakers to the end of the season.

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