STEVE Beck has stood down as York City chairman in an historic switch by the club.

The 47-year-old has renounced his title in favour of a more democratic approach to the club's board of directors, believing the position is inappropriate for a supporter-owned football club.

It is believed City are the first professional club to operate without a chairman.

Beck will remain on the board at Bootham Crescent and his new title will be director of youth development and fan liaison.

Said Beck: "As a supporter-owned football club I do not believe the traditional role of an autocratic chairman is appropriate for York City. I informed the board of my intentions to renounce the title of chairman at our last board meeting and the move was fully supported by my fellow directors.

"Both supporters and the media were often confused by the title and tended to view me as a traditional football club chairman. This is not the case.

"I am part of a team of directors and feel my new title as director of youth development and fan liaison better defines my role."

Beck is hoping more clubs follow the Minstermen's example and abolish the chairman position, adding: "This is a unique move as I believe we are the only professional football club in the country not to have a chairman.

"As a board, we have always said we hope to be a blueprint for lower league football clubs and I feel this is another step in the right direction."

Beck's decision was influenced by his participation in meetings held by the Independent Football Commission the Football Supporters Federation and Supporters Direct, where he has experienced a greater insight into the football industry.

Commenting on Beck's decision, fellow director Jason McGill said: "We support Steve whole-heartedly in his renunciation of the title of chairman. This shows his commitment to promoting a democratic board of directors with specific skills and roles which benefit the club."

Updated: 09:53 Wednesday, September 15, 2004