New owners for York City Knights

York City owner John Guildford is handing over ownership of the League 1 club to former director Gary Dickenson.

Dickenson is set to take over the Knights, giving the club a lifeline.

Chairman Guildford released this statement last night: “Today, the  25th July, as the owner of York City Knights since 2002 I wish to announce the handing over of the club, subject to contracts to Gary Dickenson Cfast Ltd as a virtually debt free, going concern that will allow the club to continue the season and compete in the Super 8s to hopefully gain promotion to play in the RL Championship next season.

“In the fourteen years from my initial involvement in the rescue package that resurrected professional Rugby League in this city with the emergence of York City Knights, myself and my family worked hard to keep the club going on a sustainable, debt free basis with a certain degree of personal funding injections that I made with no thought of return.

“However, since the club were evicted from Huntington Stadium to make way for the City of York Council’s Community Stadium project and the loss of the club’s income streams with only partial covering by the council, despite previous assurances that the club would not be financially disadvantaged by this project, It has become much more difficult to operate the club and survival over the last two seasons has relied largely on considerable financial input by myself.

“That financial input was willingly given to keep the club going and to provide the fans with a squad capable of challenging for promotion, an aim if achieved that would have given the club a major financial boost and lifeline going forward.

“Added to this the ground sharing arrangements put in place by the council to enable use of Bootham Crescent by York City Knights this season have been less than satisfactory and a number of obstacles and additional costs had seemingly been placed to impede the club’s progress.

“Matters came to a head with the difficulties encountered over the playing of the Super 8s on the dates scheduled by the RFL, the subsequent postponing of the fixture on the 24th July as well as issues in agreeing dates for 2 of the 3 other games.

“Facing these issues I was not willing to continue the struggle against outside forces that would have had the effect of curtailing the promotion prospects of the club and its financial lifeline and my continuing financial support of the club therefore became irreconcilable to me.

“The decision to cease the operations of the club once all our obligations had been met and after speaking to the players last Thursday evening, was a very difficult and sad decision for myself and my family to take after putting fourteen years of our lives into this club.

“After Gary Dickinson Cfast ltd expressed an interest in taking the club over I have decided therefore to hand the reins over to them.

York City Knights will be passed over virtually debt free with the funding I have provided in the form of Directors loans on the balance sheet not required to be repaid.

“That is my gift to professional rugby league in York to give somebody else the chance to take the club forward with the best possible start, furthermore I intend to continue supporting the York City Knights Foundation Charity for the time being to ensure that the good work in the community continues.

“I hope the new York City Knights administration have success both on the field and achieve promotion and crucially enjoy greater success in dealing with the other third parties in these matters to resolve the other much publicised issues.

“I have done as much as I could to sustain professional Rugby League in York and the club is handed over on a much firmer financial footing, despite the difficulties of the last two seasons, than it was in 2002 when I took control. The deal now just needs the legal formalities completing and the RFL approval, which should be completed in the next few days.”

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