GARY DICKENSON has withdrawn plans to take over troubled York City Knights - and reckons the only way forward would be for York City owner JM Packaging to take on a new rugby league set-up.

York businessman Dickenson has been involved in talks with current chairman John Guildford while also seeking guarantees the club would be able to play at City's Bootham Crescent ground next season as part of City of York Council's community stadium plan.

But he has said there are too many hurdles to overcome, including those related to Guildford’s previous fall-outs with the council. 

He said: "I went into it with good intentions. Other people have their own motives and own agendas and I can't see a future in it for me.

"The council won't work with a company John Guildford had owned and the football club won't let us use their ground.

"Even if I buy the club 100 per cent they won't let us play there because it's a company once owned by John Guildford.

"There is no security over using Bootham Crescent and that was key to keeping York City Knights afloat. That means the only way to go is through Jason McGill (JM Packaging owner). 

"We can't do another season playing at Heworth ARLC or travelling to Doncaster to play home games - the club would not survive.”

A spokesman for JM Packaging offered no comment other than to say it “remained willing to assist with any future proposals in connection with the rugby league club”.

He also reiterated the football club would “comply with their agreement with City of York Council regarding the use of Bootham Crescent”.

A falling-out between Guildford and the council saw the Knights sidelined from the community stadium plan and rendered homeless in 2015, having left their old Huntington Stadium home in 2014 for that site to be redeveloped as the new shared arena.

They got back into the project last year and have used Bootham Crescent this season, but issues staging some games led to Guildford last month saying he would have to pull the plug on the club, before then announcing he would keep it going for the rest of the season amid takeover talks.

McGill, meanwhile, has recently outlined an interest in developing a “Team York” sporting entity, including the football and rugby league outfits, at Bootham Crescent and the planned new stadium.

Dickenson added: "The council has said if I buy a company once owned by John they would not have confidence in that company and would not provide the compensation figure given to the Knights for no longer having Huntington Stadium.

"There's no way forward for me. The only way forward is the York City FC thing.”

Dickenson’s withdrawal follows on from Guildford’s lengthy notes in Sunday’s match-day programme in which he reiterated his issues with the council’s stadium project.

He wrote that “the current stadium proposals are wrong for the Knights and wrong for the taxpayers of York hence the desire in some quarters for YCFC to swallow up the Knights and avoid critical comment on the proposals”.

The council has reiterated its statement of two weeks ago, when confirming it would no longer give a compensation figure to the Knights as things stood.

A spokesperson said: "Prior to 2015, York City Knights agreed a financial settlement with City of York Council, which included license to use Bootham Crescent. Following the elections in 2015 the council agreed to uphold this previous arrangement. 

"On expiration of this agreement and due to the uncertainty of the Knights current ownership and ongoing trading, the council will not be continuing any further financial relationship with the club in its current operation.

“Should the ownership and ongoing operational matters regarding the club be resolved to the council’s satisfaction then it will review its position.

“City of York Council and York City have an agreement (in principle) for York City Knights to continue to use Bootham Crescent for the 2017 and 2018 season until the opening of the new community stadium. This requires adequate resolution of ongoing ownership matters.

“The authority firmly believes there is a future for professional rugby league in York and remains fully committed to supporting any new potential buyers and entities for the Knights.”