YORK City auditor Steve Kilmartin insisted that he believes the club will go out of business if Supporters Trust members vote against any future proposal to relinquish their shareholding to chairman Jason McGill.

The statement, made at the Trust’s AGM, was quickly followed by clarification that Kilmartin did not intend his comments to be perceived as a threat but they did represent what he felt is the reality of the current shares issue at Bootham Crescent.

Former club director and Trust board founder member Mike Brown, who drafted up the compromise proposal that was rejected by McGill, accused the 75 per cent majority shareholder of brinkmanship, however, arguing that the closure of the club would not be in his interests.

At the Burton Stone Working Men’s Club event, Kilmartin said: “The football club is in desperate need of cash to continue. There’s no doubt whatsoever about that, but where’s it coming from?

“Last week, Jason put in £90,000 to make sure the players got paid. How much more can he do?

“As an accountant, I think what he’s doing is foolish, but he has a passion for the club. An estimate was made two years ago that £1million would be needed to see us into a new stadium, but that was based on being there in July 2018.

“I believe we’re probably looking at it being £1.5million or £1.75million now. He has to have some reward for that and he knows he won’t get all of his money back after the sale of Bootham Crescent.

“There have been 22 months of negotiations in which tempers have flared, but there has to be an answer to this issue now. The club won’t break even straight away at the new stadium either and it will take time to make a profit, so there will still be a need for somebody to put money in then and there’s still a considerable sum of money required to get there.

“The reality is, if that’s not provided, a football club goes out of business. People need to think about that very seriously and Trust members hold the cards.

“Jason has offered to put £1million in to increase his share capital, but the value of York City Football Club is zero – you can see that just by looking at the balance sheet.”

Kilmartin went on to conclude: “If the answer is no to his offer, then that’s the end of the football club. That’s not a threat, it’s a fact.”

But he then added: “I apologise for that last remark. It was made out of frustration and passion and not intended as a threat, but I’m really, really worried because, the fact is, that without funds, the football club does not exist.”

Brown added that the clause in the compromise proposal regarding a Trust payment, commensurate to their shareholding, should there be any surplus money following the sale of Bootham Crescent and the settling of payments to creditors, was designed to provide a “fighting fund” if the club ever face the types of scenarios experienced during the Douglas Craig and John Batchelor regimes in the future.

He went on to point out that, if the proposal had been accepted by McGill, then it would be subject to a members’ vote with solicitors on hand to expedite the deal if it was given the go ahead.

On the rejection of the proposal, economist and digital marketing consultant Brown declared: “Last Friday, we had a reply from Steve Kilmartin which, in a nutshell, said there was no prospect of a deal and it wasn’t right for the Trust to be asking any demands of Jason whatsoever. Jason has gone on record as saying he does not intend to sell the club or profit from sale of Bootham Crescent, so I don’t know why he would have a problem signing the deal.

“He has threatened to put the club out of business, but that would not be the way to move things forward – it’s brinkmanship. He has got to come back to the table and make an equable agreement.”

Former City general manager John McGhee, meanwhile, also provided his views on the club’s funding problems ahead of relocation to Monks Cross and the implications of an end to McGill’s financial input.

“How will we get from here to there with no money?” he asked. “The club relies entirely on its parent company and the chairman is at the end of his tether with all the shenanigans over the last five years.

“He’s been on the verge of saying enough’s enough and giving up on a number of occasions out of frustration with the council, Persimmon and this body (the Trust), but he’s given some pretty firm assurances that he won’t do that and will continue to support this club. Being present at this meeting, I don’t see why he should, apart from the fact that he’s a fan and has a very big financial stake in the club.

“He could walk away and stop paying the bills and JMP would be the biggest creditor, but there would be a hell of a lot of others it would affect too. Staff would lose their jobs and this club supports so many people from local bakers to the Foundation, which does amazing things in the community, but it would not be here without Jason’s money.

“Players who shouldn’t be playing at this level are also paid by the money Jason is putting in to meet their demands. Who else will put the money in and why the hell should it be JMP?”