YORK City Supporters Trust chairman Ian Hey has revealed he has been approached by the representative for a consortium of “Yorkshire businessmen” interested in buying the football club.

Hey forwarded a request from the front man to hold a meeting with City chairman Jason McGill, but the JM Packaging chief turned down the opportunity, insisting he is not prepared to sell.

It is understood Hey will now hold another meeting with the party to gauge whether they would be willing to invest money into the Minstermen in return for the Trust’s 25 per cent shareholding in the club.

McGill, who own the other 75 per cent, has asked the Trust to consider handing over their minority stake if he is to cover the £1million shortfall he believes must be met over the next two years to provide City with a competitive playing budget, having reached the contracted limit of his funding obligations towards the club.

Alternatively, he has asked the Trust for ideas to raise that money, with outside investment one possibility and Hey, speaking at an open Trust forum attended by 40 people in Bootham Crescent’s 1922 Bar, will be addressing that matter with the unnamed group.

He said: “I have received a phone call from an individual who said he was representing a consortium and wanted me to facilitate a meeting with Jason. The person I spoke to was a representative for a group of investors who he described as businessmen in Yorkshire who have money.

“He didn’t tell me who they were, but I contacted Jason, who told me there was no point in having a meeting as the club was not for sale. He does not want to walk away from York City at this stage having put too much time, money, energy and effort into the football club.

“Nor do I believe he is embarking on some Machiavellian plot where he looks to get the Trust’s 25 per cent shareholding in order to sell the club then. If the investor wants to meet me to see whether we would sell our 25 per cent in return for investment in the club, then I would listen.

“I can’t believe anybody interested in buying York City would want to put money in to buy 25 per cent, but Jason has said, if somebody else does want to fund the current shortfall, it would save him from doing it.”

Hey, meanwhile, has put forward a number of suggestions to McGill that could lead to future proposals – all of which would require approval from the Trust’s membership.

That meeting took place prior to the forum and former Trust board member Paul Rawnsley and club accountant Peter Rookes were also in attendance, with Hey revealing: “Jason told us he is concerned about insolvent trading because the sale of the stadium might not be sufficient to see him fully repaid in terms of the money he has put into the club.

“There is no timescale on when a vote will take place and the ball is in Jason’s court because we’ve told him there are various options and for him to go away and think about them. I have also told Jason that I don’t think he will win the vote if it is just a matter of the Trust handing the 25 per cent straight over.

“From the ideas we have suggested, there is the possibility we could hand over the shares in instalments – maybe the first £100,000 Jason puts in gets him five per cent and then 2.5 per cent for the next £100,000 and so on. Another suggestion was a rights issue, based on what the Trust and JMP contribute financially going forward and that could also lead to a dilution of the Trust’ shareholding.

“Jason has also agreed that, if the shares were released to the football club, they would be returned to the Trust if the community stadium is not delivered.”

There have been no talks, as yet, concerning whether the non-sale of Bootham Crescent until a new community stadium is built – a fundamental aspect of the agreement that saw JM Packaging take over ownership of City from the Trust in 2006 - would be included in any new agreement.

But Hey added: “A golden share option might be another idea, where Jason owns 99.9 per cent of the club, but that 0.1 of a share prevents the ground from being sold before the new stadium is built. If we agree to release the 25 per cent shareholding by whatever mechanism, there will be a new agreement and we can include anything we think is important.

“Jason has already agreed to some conditions as well. He wouldn’t change the name of the club or the colours.”

While the future make-up of the club’s ownership structure remains uncertain, meanwhile, Hey suggested that the football club intend to press on with a playing budget that will lead to £500,000 losses next term.

“In Jason’s words, the budget is aimed at finishing in the top five for the next two seasons and that includes a £500,00-a-year shortfall, so Jason has committed himself to some funding irrespective of how the Trust votes,” Hey explained.

The Trust chief also confirmed that there was a “family fall-out” that led to last month’s resignations from the board of McGill’s father Rob and sister Sophie.

“There has been a family fall-out, which has nothing to do with the football club and any rumours to the contrary are wrong,” Hey declared.

He added that a letter from the football club has been written to City of York Council asking them to consider financial compensation for the continued delays in the delivery of the new community stadium.

East Riding Minstermen chair John Uttley also announced he has joined the Trust board and another open meeting is expected in the future with the view to then holding an EGM during the following weeks.