THE Friends of Bootham Crescent are recommending that York City Supporters' Trust board members reject the proposal to make JM Packaging 75 per cent plus one share owners of the football club.

A special general meeting has been called by the Trust board on Tuesday, June 6 (7.30pm) to vote on a motion, which would see City managing director Jason McGill's Malton-based company cover £150,000 losses made over last season and provide an annual cash injection of £100,000 for the next five years.

That £650,000 investment would then be treated as a loan with an interest rate of 11 per cent.

But, under the proposal, JM Packaging would waive the loan and only receive interest payments when the club are in a position to sell KitKat Crescent and move to a new stadium.

McGill has also offered to exchange a £300,000 loan to the club, already facilitated by his company and now due to be repaid in January despite original assurances it would only need to be settled on the ground's sale, into shares.

The Trust board have explained the change in the anticipated loan's settlement date was necessary at the bank's insistence but the FoBC action group, who strongly backed the Trust's efforts to take over the club in 2003, believe further investment streams should be explored before the Trust relinquish its ownership.

City's Trust board feel such alternatives have already been considered and that the JMP proposal would provide the only viable option for the club's future management and financial stability.

But in an official statement, FoBC said: "We seek to provide a voice for the many City fans who have donated much money in helping to save the football club, contributing to bucket collections, purchasing loan notes and supporting the many fund-raising initiatives organised by fans' groups and the Supporters' Trust. FoBC feels that it is unjust that your money is not worthy of shares in the club and yet Jason McGill's is.

"Consequently, before rushing into giving away the football club at a very undervalued price, FoBC are calling for a No' vote ahead of the Trust special general meeting to allow negotiations to be reopened and consider all options for future investment into the club, including the Hurst Group offer proposed by Mike Grant, as well as opportunities for all fans to contribute to a loan process which would allow the Trust to retain ownership and generate investment.

"We are concerned that the Trust board has not done enough to negotiate a better deal or to consider other options to the JMP deal. We feel strongly that any deal affecting the future of our club should be based on what it will mean on the field and for our stadium, not about shares and loans.

"Supporting FoBC's stance could be the last chance for City fans to retain ownership of York City an asset which many City fans fought so hard for in their days when the wind-up of the club seemed inevitable."

An unelected, pressure group without a constitution, FoBC were formed in November 2002 to support a campaign to stay at Bootham Crescent and speak up as an independent voice for City fans.

In response to FoBC's comments, a Trust spokesman said: "We appreciate that whichever way people vote there may be reservations. We want the club to survive and prosper and, having investigated possible alternatives, we are recommending the proposal from Jason to achieve this.

"It is crucial that the uncertainty is lifted from the club as a matter of urgency to enable the preparations to progress for next season."

Ballot box vote decider

NEXT week's York City Supporters' Trust vote will be carried out by ballot box.

Previous Trust motions have been passed by a show of hands but different arrangements will be in place for next Tuesday's special general meeting.

Robert Pepper, from Huddersfield Town's Supporters' Trust, will also act as an independent scrutineer and the results will be announced on the night.

Prior to the vote, Trust members will have the opportunity to address questions to the Trust board with National Football Supporters' Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke chairing the meeting, which is expected to finish at around 9.30pm.