YORK City’s financial management consultant Peter Rookes believes the club’s new board face a “mammoth task” if they remain in control of affairs at Bootham Crescent next season.

Rookes is predicting a “challenging” campaign after the club’s accounts revealed an operating loss of £500,000 for 2016/17.

If an interested party is not found to buy JM Packaging’s 75 per cent majority shareholding in the Minstermen before the April 30 deadline, then City directors Steve Kilmartin, Ian McAndrew, Dave Penney and Richard Adams will be tasked with overseeing a break-even budget for the 2018/19 season.

The total loss in central funding since City’s last season in the Football League two years ago and the start of next term, when all parachute payments will cease, will amount to approximately £1milllion and Rookes said: “Trying to offset this reduction in funding, whilst maintaining a playing budget to meet the supporters’ expectations, will be a mammoth task for the new club board with the move from Bootham Crescent still over a year away and 2018/19 is expected to be a challenging season.”

City suffered a second successive relegation during 2016/17, but ended the season by lifting the FA Trophy at Wembley.

The operating loss in the National League was still £200,000 more than was accrued during the club’s last campaign in the Football League and, explaining the 2016/17 figures, Rookes added: “The reduction in parachute payment from the Football League was offset slightly by the FA Trophy prize money.

“However, overall income from central funding, donations, transfer fees and sponsorship was reduced by around £310,000. Reduced attendances (the 2016/17 average was 2,570, compared to 3,218 for 2015/16) also meant a reduction in net gate income, although this was slightly offset by gate income from the FA Trophy final, meaning a net reduction of around £140,000.

“The consequence of this reduced income meant a reduction of £265,000 in playing costs was necessary. As in previous years, the major expense for the club was wages.

“The total income during the financial year was £2,167,768 and playing costs, including player and football management wages, bonuses as well as administration and match day wages, represent 87 per cent of income. That is a slight increase from 82 per cent in 2016, which is due to the fact that wage costs have not reduced as much as income.”

The published accounts’ overall loss for 2016/17 is stated as £969,475, which includes £447,000 of interest on loaned money put into the club by McGill, which he has agreed to waive.

That figure also includes £22,000 of interest due to the Football Foundation, in relation to their loan to the club.

As of June 2017, the amount due to JM Packaging on the sale of Bootham Crescent, including accrued interest since 2006, was £5.8million.

Without the interest that McGill has promised to forego, that figure is reduced to approximately £4.5million.

City sporting director Penney, meanwhile, has stressed that the club’s new board must continue to adopt a short-term and long-term approach to operations at Bootham Crescent, even though the ownership structure for next season remains uncertain.

He said: “As a board, we won’t really know where we are until the April 30 deadline, but we still need to look after the club on a day-to-day basis, while looking at the bigger picture of next season and that means having two possible lists of players to recruit depending on which division the club will be in.”

Penney added that the new board aim to improve communication between the club and its fan base, adding: “I’ll be more of a club spokesperson and will be looking to communicate to the supporters and media on a regular basis.”

Elsewhere, City’s Supporters Liaison Officer Phil Howden has left the club.

Howden was appointed to the role in January 2016, having previously worked at the club as a cameraman, programme editor and media host.

During his time as SLO, Howden also edited DVD match highlights, worked in the club shop, edited the programme and assisted office staff.