YORK City chairman Jason McGill has fielded questions in The Press’ festive fans’ forum on a series of topics including the community stadium and contingency plans for relegation.

No question was off limits for McGill and we would like to thank the club’s owner and our readers for taking part in this venture during the busy Christmas period.

In no particular order, here are some of your questions and McGill’s responses. More from the forum will be included in The Press next week.

David Wells: Should, heavens forbid, City get relegated can you give an assurance the team will stay as a full-time outfit rather than go part-time?

Jason McGill: We fully realise we are in a difficult situation regarding our League position at present, but are doing everything possible to improve this and this was the principal reason for changing our manager in November. We are confident our situation will get better.

It would not be right, however, if we didn’t have a view regarding relegation. Should the club drop out of the Football League, we would receive a significant parachute payment in season one, which would provide us with important financial support to give the club the best possible chance of building a team capable of promotion.

We have seen this in the case of Bristol Rovers, who bounced straight back and in the case of Cheltenham Town, who are doing well in the National League this season. If the club was not immediately promoted, we would maintain full-time status, but would have to reduce our playing budget significantly.

The biggest impact of relegation after season one would be to our academy. This would suffer the most, as we would not be in a position to continue this part of the club without the funding we receive from being in the Football League. With all this in mind, we are determined to ensure Football League status is maintained.

Steve Aldous: In our 2-1 win against Morecambe, Femi llesamni was one of our best attacking players on the pitch in the first half. Why not play him on the wing?

What is going on to sack/release three greatly-experienced, ex-York City players in Andy Leaning, Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening who are all locally born and with York City in their blood with a willingness to run through a brick wall for the club?

Why were diehard fans kept completely in the dark with no official explanation from the club regarding the reasons for them leaving York City?

Jason McGill (JM): With regard to Femi playing on the wing, this is a football tactical matter and the board leave such decisions to the manager. We believe it is entirely wrong to interfere with team selection and rely on the expertise of the management team.

We are not just directors. We are all fans and we, of course, have our own personal opinions, but we try not to officially share our thoughts. Football is all about opinions!

The decision to part company with Andy Leaning was prompted by Jackie McNamara feeling that we needed a fresh approach to goalkeeping coaching at the club. He wanted to bring in Craig Hinchliffe, who had been part of Jackie’s successful management team at both Partick Thistle and Dundee United.

Andy Leaning is a great guy and, although disappointed, understood the decision. We will be keeping in touch with him and he is always welcome at York City.

In terms of Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening, this was a different situation. I would like to stress that the decision for them both to leave York City was reached mutually and they were involved in this decision.

The board were sad to see them go, but Richard, Jonathan and the board realised it was in the best interests of the club at this moment in time. They are both true York City legends and I’m sure we’ll see them back at Bootham Crescent.

Peter Thorndyke: As a long-term season ticket holder I am interested to know how much control you and the board exercise over the manager? For example, our new manager came into the club and almost immediately told senior professionals (team regulars) that they were surplus to requirements before, it would seem, ensuring that he had adequate replacements.

Did he have to have your blessing to do that, or did he have the freedom to make that decision without consultation?

JM: As a board, we appoint a football manager to oversee and make all football decisions for the first team. We rely on their expertise and have to allow them the freedom to make difficult choices in the best interests of the football club.

Jackie has come into York City and has made a full analysis of the current squad and has indicated which players he believes will be the right ones to ensure we remain in the Football League. Sadly, some players have not responded in the way the new manager would like them to and are not deemed to have the skills and desire we need to take us forward.

I think Jackie has taken a brave approach and one that has been needed for some time.

Andy Wood (AKA The Clock Man): Is it true that Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening left because they were headhunted and why were they not given a chance at York City because they are City through and through?

JM: I am not aware that Richard and Jonathan have been headhunted, but they are both very talented and I’m sure they will be managing at a club soon, as this is something I believe they are they are keen to do. Thank you for the clocks you have made and gifted to the club. We are very proud to hang them in the Boardroom!

Paul Rothwell: What was the rationale for bringing in the current manager? I accept he was a top-class player and has been a successful manager but this has all been in Scotland.

It is obviously a difficult decision because I totally agreed with appointing the previous manager Russ Wilcox and that didn’t work out. Why do you think Jackie is the right man for the job, Jason?

JM: When we appointed Russ Wilcox we felt it was a very logical decision. He had achieved promotion from League Two for Scunthorpe United the previous season with a tremendous run of results and knew what was required to create success at this level.

He had also won League Two Manager of the Year and was well respected in the game. We very much wanted him to succeed, but it was not to be.

Following Russ Wilcox’s departure, we were inundated with applications for the manager’s position and we decided to embark on a carefully considered intense interview process. We shortlisted eight candidates with varying experience and different approaches to football management.

We looked at the statistics and win ratios for each candidate and assessed their ambitions and football philosophies. The personality of the individual was also important.

We felt we required a strong leader to take us forward. We decided Jackie McNamara was the right person for York City in terms of improving our current plight, and someone able to deliver our long term ambitions for the club.

We are already seeing a fresh approach and hope that success will follow. He had a fantastic record at Partick Thistle and Dundee United.

Nick Sanderson: Can you reassure fans that relegation back to the Conference has been considered and planned for by the board and, though unpleasant, would not be terminal to either the club’s future or plans to move to the new stadium?

It must be incredibly difficult balancing the fans’ thirst for reassuring information and the club’s need to protect the privacy of individuals by keeping certain decisions and information out of the public domain. However, do you worry about the rumours that originate in the absence of clear information and the damage that can have on the relationship between club and fans?

JM: Hopefully, I have explained the impacts of relegation in the question from Dave Wells. I think it is also important to say that relegation would not affect the move to our new community stadium.

We were indeed in the Conference when this project started and this was the basis for the original plans. In answer to the second question, in every business you are obliged to maintain levels of confidentiality and this is no different in football.

We feel as frustrated as the fans when we cannot communicate issues happening behind the scenes in a more open way. Hopefully, this question-and-answer opportunity will create a feeling of greater openness and transparency.

We make decisions and operate in the best interests of York City, but there will always be rumours and negativity surrounding events. I feel that things become even more exaggerated and scrutinised when the team is not performing well.

Hopefully we can all start enjoying the football again soon! I would like to take this opportunity to say that although our league position is precarious at present, the club is not in crisis and the people involved in operations are as enthusiastic and determined as ever to bring success to York City.

We really appreciate the way fans have stuck by the club in the past, few, difficult months.

Sam: Gary Mills and Russ Wilcox were relieved of their duties when the club was in no danger. Why are hasty decisions like this made?

JM: We are a board that believes in giving our managers time to achieve success and would not make a managerial change without believing League status was in danger. Many would argue we have not been hasty enough!

If you look at the situation immediately before the departure of Gary Mills and Russ Wilcox, I believe a change was necessary in both cases.

Gary Mills - League position 18th, six points from a possible 33, one win in 14 matches.

Russ Wilcox - League position 21st, nine points from a possible 36, one win in 11 matches.

It’s difficult to communicate to fans but, with experience and a close knowledge of operations behind the scenes, you get a feeling for when a change is necessary. However, I’d like to say we make all managerial appointments with a long-term view and yearn for longevity.

Relieving a manager of his duties is an awful thing to do when you have built a close, working relationship with them.

David Nicholson: What were the events that saw Steve Torpey return to the club?

How confident are you that this new stadium will ever happen?

What is the club’s relationship with York City Knights now?

Without specific numbers, is a sustained promotion push ever realistic with our budget?

How confident is the club Ben Godfrey will sign a professional deal?

JM: When Jonathan Greening left the club, the youth-team manager role for the 16-18 year olds became available. Steve immediately sprung to mind and I contacted him to see whether he would be interested in returning.

Steve had been an excellent, loyal employee of the club for many years and the board still felt regret and unease regarding his departure. Steve was very honest and explained that he believes his forte is coaching at a youth-team level rather than first team.

He was successful in this role previously and I’m sure he will improve our current, disappointing league position for the youth team.

I am confident the stadium will happen and have received assurances it will be complete by April/May 2017.

The Knights will soon be occupying Bootham Crescent for their matches and we are pleased we have reached this point. I think most people know the relationship has been strained due to the Knights’ lack of support for the new stadium during the approval process, but we are now working together and look forward to life here and at the new stadium. We really want to see both football and rugby league flourish in the city.

The Football League embarks on a bench-marking study each season and the results have recently been issued to clubs. This document disclosed we currently have a top-ten playing budget in League Two. With this in mind, there is no reason why we should not be pushing for promotion and it is clear we are under performing in relation to our budget at the moment. Reaching the play-offs under Nigel Worthington shows this is a realistic target.

Ben Godfrey was offered a professional contract by the club many weeks ago. As yet, he is keeping his options open. He has attracted Premier League interest and is an exciting prospect for the future. We hope he does choose to sign for York City as he has progressed through our ranks.

Thomas: As a fan who spends my own money on the making of flags and banners for matches, could the restrictions on displays be relaxed at Bootham Crescent or other ways found so the fans can be encouraged to get behind the team?

The atmosphere has dwindled at home games, we have no walk-on music and I remember a time when the PA guy was shouting and it got the fans going but it’s all a bit dull now. Could something be done to encourage the fans to get behind the team more?

JM: Thank you for your suggestions regarding an improvement in the atmosphere at Bootham Crescent. I know our antiquated PA system creates all sorts of challenges for our volunteer announcer, Rob Havercroft, who does a great job and still buys his own season ticket each year! I will initiate an internal discussion regarding banners and flags. This kind of support does help the team.

Rod Cruickshank: What are your plans for York City in the future and once Bootham Crescent is sold will you still financially support the club or will you look to pass on the ownership back to the Trust once the club no longer own substantial fixed assets?

JM: I have made a long term commitment to York City and aim to maintain ownership and continue my chairmanship well into the future. I was born in York and am a life-long fan of York City and consider it a privilege to be involved in the club I love.

Since 2002, I put a lot of time, effort and money into York City and my absolute desire is to see the club be as successful as possible. I do believe we should be competing in the top half of League One.

I am hoping the club will be self-sufficient and sustainable in the new stadium, which will ease our financial pressures.