York City Knights chairman John Guildford has revealed he may have to walk away from the club in order to secure it’s long-term future.
Guildford has been barred from negotiations with City of York Council after talks over the Knights using the city’s football stadium, Bootham Crescent, broke down.
York played their last game at Huntington Stadium in September, when their lease there ended, and the stadium was to be torn down to make way for a brand new Community Stadium. The Knights were due to play a friendly against Hull FC last Sunday at Bootham Crescent but were forced to switch the game to Doncaster’s Keepmoat stadium.
Council leaders and Guildford have played out a public war of words over the situation, with Director for City and Environmental services saying; “It is with deep regret that the Council finds that it no longer has confidence in the working relationship with Mr Guildford so is unable to enter back into negotiations with him on the Community Stadium development.”
York City FC have also refused to deal with the rugby league club, which led to the club releasing the following statement:
“John Guildford has confirmed today that he would be willing to step down as chairman if it secures the future of the rugby league club in York.
“Following on-going disagreements over the future of the Knights and the location at which the Knights will play while the York Community Stadium is constructed, alongside calls from both City of York Council and York City Football Club for Mr Guildford to stand down, on top of their action in embargoing him from any future discussions and meetings, the Knights chair believes standing down will enable bodies on the Knights side to begin discussing the project again and agree a deal for the immediate/long-term future.”
It is thought that Guildford was concerned about the amount of power the football club would have over the stadium and it’s stifling impact on any potential revenue the Knights may be able to gain.
The Knights are currently homeless and begin their first home Championship One fixture of the new season is on April 19th against North Wales Crusaders.