FORMER York City Supporters' Trust chairman Richard Snowball has suggested fans could retain ownership of their football club by making weekly £6 donations until the end of the year.

Snowball has based the calculation on 2,000 supporters offering the contribution in order to cover the £500,000 debt the Minstermen are currently facing.

The club have announced that they are expecting six-figure losses over this season and have failed to meet the first £100,000 repayment on the £2million Football Foundation loan, which was due last month.

JM Packaging, whose company secretary and director Rob McGill is the father of City directors Jason and Sophie McGill, have also informed the Trust that it requires assurances that a £300,000 loan, facilitated to the club by the Malton-based company, can be met by its January 2007 settlement date.

Snowball, who stood down as Trust chairman in June after three years in the position and recently resigned his board membership for personal reasons, put forward his suggestion this week, saying: "The reality of the situation is that the club has been under-funded since day one and, if it wasn't for the £300,000 loan put in to bankroll the club last year by JM Packaging, we probably would not be in existence now so, if Trust members and supporters want it to remain a supporter-owned club, they have to find ways of funding the £500,000 shortfall and meeting the annual £100,000 repayments.

"One simple answer is that if 2,000 regular supporters pledged £25 per month for the remaining ten months of the year and then £5 every month, starting in January 2007, for the next eight years, then we would have the required money and the Trust could retain ownership.

"The Trust will continue to organise fund-raising schemes and events but they will not raise anywhere near the amount of money required."

Snowball added that great efforts during the last three years to halt a slide in Trust membership from 2,000 members to just under 1,300 have proven fruitless with people's interest waning after the club had been saved.

He also pointed to the general apathy towards standing as a candidate for a place on the Trust board during the last two years.

But Snowball added: "We have nearly 40 members who make regular donations to the Trust.

"They contribute more than £5,000 per year and should be congratulated for their generosity."

Snowball also ruled out the possibility of launching a shareholding scheme to raise money, saying: "You have to abide by Financial Services Authority rules and regulations and it cost AFC Wimbledon more than £100,000 to set up. That's not really an option as the Trust do not have that kind of spare money."

Updated: 10:41 Wednesday, March 01, 2006