JOHN Batchelor has admitted "asset-stripping" York City Football Club during his time as owner.

The former touring car driver conceded to The Press he had asset-stripped the club in order to make a profit, but claimed it had not been his original intention on getting involved with the Minstermen.

The maverick businessman, who has emerged as the front-runner in the bid to buy relegation-threatened League Two outfit Mansfield Town, also claimed he would do things differently if he had a second chance at City - arguing he wouldn't "try to be everyone's mate".

The Press reported on Thursday how Batchelor contacted City's communications and community director, Sophie McGill, proposing the club take part - along with Mansfield - in a pre-season friendly tournament with Partizan and Red Star Belgrade.

City's board were outraged and reiterated that Batchelor was not welcome at York City in any capacity, but the former paper towel salesman is still largely unrepentant about his role in a period which saw the Minstermen on the brink of extinction in 2002.

Last week, Batchelor, who admitted making £120,000 from his brief stint as York owner, confirmed he had asset-stripped companies in the past.

When asked directly by The Press if he had asset-stripped while at York City, Batchelor said: "I didn't set out to do it but, yes, in as much as part of the value of that asset comes to me. That's not what I set out to do."

Batchelor, who said he wanted to get involved with the Stags because "football was like a drug", also claimed he still "felt a great affinity towards York City", but said: "I would do it completely differently (if I was City owner again).

"I would be a lot blunter with people and a lot more direct. I think I should have done that at York. I wanted to try to be everyone's mate.

"Why am I getting involved in Mansfield? Because there are a few things in football which I didn't do at York and which I wanted to make work at York."

With regard to his time at City, Batchelor - more than five years after his association with the club ended - still complained that "no-one listens to what really happened".

"On December 23, 2001, Douglas Craig was on Radio 4 and he says if he doesn't find a buyer he will close the club," Batchelor said.

"On January 7, I go to see him and, on February 14, we agree a deal. At the end of March, we completed that deal.

"The club then has a future but, 14 days later, ITV Digital closes and every player we have is now worthless. In nine of the previous ten years, York survived by selling players.

"So now I've got to make a decision. Do I go for it and make it work - filling in a £1.3 million hole - or do I close the club? So I kept it going all the rest of the year until November. I just couldn't fill that hole."

Responding to Batchelor's revelations, McGill said: "In my opinion, John Batchelor's involvement with York City was disastrous for the club. I believe he saw York City as an opportunity.

"It is only thanks to our supporters and their donations that the Trust was able to save the club through a £500,000 rescue package. Today, the current board of the football club continues to try to pick up the pieces from the chaos.

"I find it unfathomable that he is trying to get back into football at Mansfield Town."