EX-YORK City manager Chris Brass has hailed the "leadership" of Steve Beck during some of the club's darkest days after the former chairman passed away this week.

Beck, who died peacefully in York & District Hospital at the age of 58 following a long battle against heart problems, played an instrumental role in the Save City campaign that ultimately resulted in the Supporters' Trust, of which he was a founder board member, assuming ownership of the club following the damaging reigns of Douglas Craig and John Batchelor.

One of Beck's bravest actions in those early days of the Trust was fronting the players during the 2002/03 season when it was clear their salaries would not be paid due to the financial meltdown Batchelor had overseen at Bootham Crescent.

Brass was a player in the dressing room back then and has admitted that the emotional manner in which that bad news was broken persuaded himself and other team-mates not to dessert the club during their hour of need.

City went on to secure their Football League status after the Trust, with the aid of supporters and a £50,000 donation from current chairman Jason McGill, struck a deal with the administrators to take over the club in March 2003.

Circumstances then meant a 27-year-old Brass was installed as the Football League's youngest manager since 1946 and the Minstermen tumbled into the Conference a year later.

But Brass is convinced that the club would not have been around to preserve its League status this week had it not been for the galvanising spirit, spearheaded by Beck and others, a dozen years ago.

Recalling the Riccall-based accountant's speech to the players, Brass said: "Steve stepped forward which must have been very, very difficult. As players, everyone was trying to hide away from the reality of what was happening a bit but he was brave enough to tell us how bad the situation was.

"I think we needed that leadership back then and to hear the truth because, before then, we were thinking somebody would come along and everything would be all right but he explained the situation the club was in and reality hit home. I always remember him sat there and seeing how sad he was and it made me really appreciate the importance of York City that day.

"Without him doing that, I don't think the club would have survived. I could have left and walked away there and then but, when I saw that, I didn't think I could because I wanted to help him save the football club.

"My time at York did not end in the best of circumstances but it was only because of what happened that I became manager when I did and the club will always have a soft spot in my heart because of the part everybody played, along with Steve, in keeping the club going back then."

Brass also added that Beck's affable, self-effacing nature made him popular with players at the club - a relationship that was first nurtured after he had won an auction to join in pre-season training back in 2001.

"That's the first memory I have of Steve," Bury's current assistant manager recalled. "It was clear that one quality he had was a willingness to laugh at himself and I found that endearing straight away.

"It can be quite intimidating doing that king of thing, because players are not always comfortable with people coming into their environment, but we all certainly enjoyed that day."

Paul Rawnsley, who was a fellow Supporters' Trust board member for the first four years of the body's existence, also spoke of the importance of Beck as an early figurehead for the new club owners.

He said: "I worked really closely with Steve for the Supporters Trust from 2002 to 2006 when ownership of the club was transferred to Jason. I will remember him as a big, friendly, kind guy who was always straight-forward and uncomplicated.

"He was somebody I felt you could trust and rely on. He was involved in all the early Trust meetings and put himself forward for various responsibilities and duties.

"He volunteered to tell the players and staff they weren't going to be paid when John Batchelor was holed up in a pub or wherever. There weren't too many contenders for that job, but he was brave and bold enough to do it.

"He also went to a lot of Football League and PFA meetings with myself and the commitment he gave to saving the club at that time was probably to the detriment of his own career and the rest of his life. Whatever has happened with the Trust since, I still look back fondly on what was achieved from 2002 to 2006 and Steve's leadership during those early years was so important.

"We needed somebody in that position who was proud of the club and what he was doing and I think people warmed to him in that respect. There were no politics with him.

"He told you things straight. He also went on to work with Supporters Direct later because he wanted to help fans at other clubs too."

City's players will wear armbands in Beck's honour for next weekend's final home match of the season against Newport when a minute's silence will be held in his honour too.

A club statement also read: "We are saddened by the news of Steve's death. He played a pivotal role in the Save City campaign and was a long-standing, dedicated supporter of the club throughout his life.

"The club sends its sincere condolences to Steve’s wife Carol, his family, and all his friends."

City newsletter There's Only One Arthur Bottom, meanwhile, was renamed There's Only One Steve Beck yesterday in his honour, while Twitter tributes included the following: Long serving City defender David McGurk - RIP Steve Beck. Gutted to hear the news and thoughts are with Carol and the family; former Conservative parliamentary candidate and Supporters' Trust board member Simon Mallett - Whenever I watch (Russ) Penn's goal I will remember Steve - a fantastic final goal for a fantastic fan; ex-Minstermen goalkeeper Russ Howarth - Lovely guy who was involved in trying to bring me back to City at one point.

Lowe and Penn in head-to-head for Press crown

RUSSELL Penn and Keith Lowe are locked together at the top of The Press Player of the Year leaderboard with three games to go.

The former Cheltenham and Kidderminster team-mates are three points clear of nearest rival Michael Coulson with Lowe looking to regain the title he won last term.

Penn drew level with his close pal after picking up three points towards the standings as our man of the match from Tuesday’s 2-1 home win over Morecambe.

The other points from that game went to Stephane Zubar (two) and Jake Hyde (one) as our second and third-highest rated performers on the night.

Penn, meanwhile, also collected the two Press Player of the Month bonus points on offer to the winner of our online man-of-the-match poll winner.

He also currently heads that competition.

During last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Hartlepool, Michael Ingham was our man of the match and also took the internet bonus points.

The efforts of John McCombe (two) and Lowe (one) were recognised too, as our second and third-highest rated players.

To be in with a chance of presenting The Press Player of the Month prize for April, register your man-of-the-match vote for today’s game at Shrewsbury on this website or tweeting @daveflettpress

The Press Player of the Year standings: Lowe 27 points, Penn 27, Coulson 24, Zubar 20, Summerfield 19, Hyde 18, Ilesanmi 18, McCombe 16, McCoy 16, Olejnik 14, Ingham 12, Fletcher 11, De Girolamo 9, Carson 8, Halliday 7, Montrose 7, Straker 7, Winfield 5, Coulthirst 4, Cisak 3, Jarvis 3, Platt 3, Benning 2, Sinclair 2.

The Press Player of the Month for April standings: Penn 9, Ingham 6, Winfield 6, Lowe 3, Zubar 3, McCombe 2, Summerfield 2, Hyde 1.

Goals: Hyde 10, Fletcher 7, Lowe 6, Coulson 4, De Girolamo 4, Summerfield 4, Carson 2, Coulthirst 2, Penn 2, Sinclair 2, Winfield 2, Zubar 2.

Assists: Coulson 11, Carson 5, Summerfield 5, Hyde 4, Penn 4, McCoy 3, Meikle 3, De Girolamo 2, Fletcher 2, McCombe 2, Halliday 1, Lowe 1, Montrose 1, O’Hanlon 1, Platt 1, Straker 1.

Bad boys: Penn one red, six yellow; Halliday one red, four yellow; McCoy five yellow; Carson four yellow; Hyde one red, two yellow; Coulson, McCombe both three yellow; Winfield, Zubar both one red, one yellow; Benning, Fletcher, Ilesanmi, Montrose, Summerfield all two yellow; Jarvis one red; Lowe, Olejnik, Platt, Straker all one yellow.