100 Owners: Number 86 – Douglas Craig (York City)


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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7 Responses

  1. Stewart McCartney says:

    I am a life long City fan – a very, very good piece – well done.

  2. Graham Goforth says:

    Craig Out ! The rallying call for City supporters.
    When clubs moan about not getting into Europe or not spending millionS on new players I often think : Do they know what true hardship is ?

  3. JD says:

    Worth pointing out that Craig was also on the FA committee that sanctioned the wholesale betrayal of another group of supporters – those of Wimbledon.

    Being a City fan is immeasurably more pleasurable these days.

  4. johnbyrneshair says:

    An excellent piece. I didn’t know the full story of Craig’s and Swallow’s greed until I read this article. Typical Conservative attitude: stuff morality and society, money is king. Well done the supporters, of York and other clubs, who helped save York City. The McGills now seem true, passionate supporters who led the club through a fantastic season. Onwards and upwards!

  5. David Evans says:

    I once met Craig when York played Chester City. I said that I has always been fond of the Club as I had been to University there. I told him that after turning up for a match with out any cash (mistakenly!) I had offered to pay by cheque (typical student) the ticket office had given me a comp – and so impressed was I that I came to virtually every home match I could get to – paying on the gate. His reaction? And I quote, ‘Yes that University has turned out a load of s**ts’. I also represented Chester City at the League Two meeting where York were the only club to vote against the anti racist campaign as described in the piece.

  6. Dave says:

    The piece brought back a lot of memories, as when the Trust was formed, I spent a week in York helping get it going. The Trust launch was the best I ever attended, compared for nowt by Jon Champion who was brilliant.

    Craig compounded his failure to back the anti-racism charter by accusing fans protesting against him of racism themselves for calling him a ‘tight Scottish bastard’. He tried to land the clean up bill for a red-card protest on those fans. Given he’d won a reputation for parsimony, the fact that in his last year, the club had a playing budget of 150% of turnover can only point to a deliberate attempt to kill the club in order to remove a planning obstacle.

    When the protests erupted, and he sold to Batchelor, the news was sprung from nowhere; people were googling him and not quite believing it. When he some days later talked of changing the name to York City Soccer Club (helping market in New York City, you see) and then bringing out a ladies lingerie range, you realised he was a cretin; but the deal he did with Persimmon turned the 25 year lease he’d taken on from Craig turned into a 1 year lease for 400,000

    Michael Sinclair gave an interview around the time (might even have been with David Conn) where he said he’s basically given the shares to Craig, because he considered it not something one made a profit out of.

    I recall the reply to the Trust letter, which I drafted for them. Nic Coward’s response was perhaps the most emblematic statement of the de-regulatory impulse, which David Conn rightly alighted on in ‘The Beautiful Game’. It’s worth remembering that he was the nominated representative of the Football League in the Wimbledon Appeal; it seemed stunning that such a man could be considered as the go-to man in an issue which revolved around supporters rights vs owners rights.

    Lawyers looked at the deal BCH did and said there were issues that could cause a challenge; it would have been costly, time-consuming and not guaranteed, underscoring how unhelpful – and unsuited – clubs are to the company corporate form. Redress and accountability need to inhere in the organisation, backed up by a legal framework, not reliant on a legal framework which is based on the concept of loss as purely being a function of whether one has personally lost out on a deal.

    Finally, the Football Foundation deal was still problematic; the interest of 10% (10%!) was due each year and was to be paid by the trust, leaving the club free from the need to raise this sum in addition to having its youth team cut. Given the deal meant that the Football Foundation would get 200% of the amount loaned; helpful at the time, and preserving the club at BC but ultimately something which sticks in the craw when the game will earn that amount from 3minutes and 40 seconds worth of football on Sundays at 4pm from next year.

  1. August 10, 2012

    […] team that went down at the end of the 2003-4 season. After the club had its ground taken from it by Douglas Craig – a man later to play a vital role in the move of Wimbledon to Milton Keynes – sold from […]

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