FORMER York City FC chairman Douglas Craig has blasted the club’s decision to prevent York City Knights playing at Bootham Crescent on Sunday - and the way current chairman Jason McGill has been running the club.
Mr Craig contacted The Press to speak out in the wake of the crisis which has gripped the Knights since the League One rugby league team was unable to play a crucial Super-8s match against Doncaster at the football ground.
The Knights’ board declared their intention to close the club down last Thursday, saying the proposed groundshare with York City at Bootham Crescent and at the proposed new community stadium at Monks Cross left the business unsustainable.
The Press has since revealed there have been three serious expressions of interest in taking it over, including one from City.
The Knights’ game was blocked because it was due to take place only a day after City’s latest pre-season friendly, match against Bolton Wanderers the previous day.
Mr Craig said the decision to block the rugby match was an “absolute disgrace”, and not one that would have happened under his chairmanship - not at this time of year and with the pitch in good shape and with some work by groundsmen.
He said the rugby club had no stadium through no fault of its own and should be allowed to play at Bootham Crescent until the new arena was built - if the club survived.
“At the end of the day, if the rugby club does survive, the football and rugby clubs do have to work together if they are to share the new stadium,” he said.
“It clearly needs goodwill on both sides.”
Mr Craig, now 87, of Acomb, who was strongly criticised for his running of the club when he was chairman, went on to slate Mr McGill’s handling of York City from the moment he took over the reins.
He said Mr McGill had sacked a good manager and replaced him with a player-manager, under whom the team’s performance had declined after an initial good run of games.
The club had since then had a succession of ‘umpteen’ managers who had twice taken the club down to the Conference.
“They have had more managers than I have had hot dinners,” he said.
“I got a lot of stick when I was chairman, and gave as good as I got, but the club was never relegated to the Conference when I was chairman.
Mr McGill was contacted by The Press and informed of Mr Craig’s criticisms but declined to comment.