THE historic takeover of York City by the Supporter's Trust gained momentum today - but absolute control may yet be another month away.

After ten days' wrangling with the tax authorities over what was due to them, the Trust's Company Voluntary Arrangement was primed to be finally agreed when the creditors' meeting was re-convened at Bootham Crescent for the third time today.

The final barrier to clearing the CVA was straddled when the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise accepted a £100,000 payment towards the overall £160,000 owed in tax by the cash-strapped club. That effectively puts the fans' group in charge of the Minstermen ahead of Saturday's visit of Third Division rivals Southend.

The sale agreement for the Trust to purchase the club could even be signed later today.

But while the City faithful keenly anticipated the prospect of fans running the show at the club after 15 months of big-dipper fortunes propelled by confusion, the Trust will not be able to exercise outright control until they are granted the critical Football League share.

The share, suspended since the club went into administration, cannot be transferred until the next meeting of the Football League Board, which is not scheduled until April 22.

So with the Trust having no option but to seal the deal for City before Monday's CVA deadline expires, the supporters' body face a near four-week spell without what is needed for them to become a member of the 72-strong Football League.

That period of limbo will hover ominously over the Trust even though their actions in seeking to gain control of York City were commended in a meeting with Football League representatives yesterday.

Trust board members Paul Rawnsley and Steve Beck - the latter one of five would-be directors of the new football club - attended the meeting at the League's headquarters in Preston.

Sources say the meeting went 'very well'. The League were said to be satisfied with all the Trust's considerable endeavours since the time the club went into administration.

The League were especially impressed with how the Trust had managed to secure a ten-year lease at the Huntington Stadium, which under the proposal will undergo substantial renovation to bring it into line with Football League stadium criteria.

The settlement of the CVA dispute with the Inland Revenue had gone down well with the League as had the Trust's proposal as to how best to tailor the interests of the current City playing staff.

But hopes that the vital Football League share could be transferred yesterday in time to neatly rubber-stamp the Trust's takeover after today's gathering of creditors were dashed by the discovery the FL Board alone can sanction the share's transfer.

While all the boxes are said to have been 'ticked', it could still represent a calculated gamble by the Trust to take over and then have to wait until April 22.

One way of shortening the unnerving wait would be if the FL Board could be brought into emergency session before then. According to sources close to the League that has been done before, but as yet it is not clear whether any meeting will be scheduled ahead of the April 22 meeting.

Updated: 10:56 Wednesday, March 26, 2003