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York City ‘ran without a manager on business’ for 15 years

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NEW chairman Glen Henderson believes that York City has been “run without a manager on the business side” of the club for the past 15 years.

Henderson purchased a 51 per cent stake in York on Tuesday, shortly after the club’s Supporters’ Trust reclaimed full ownership from ex-chairman Jason McGill’s JM Packaging, which held 75 per cent. The Trust now has a 49 per cent stake, having held 25 per cent under McGill’s reign.

City’s new chief arrives following 16 years with McGill at the helm and believes that there are several changes that need to be made to the club’s business operations.

“For 15 years the club has been run, I’d say, basically without a manager per se on the business side of things,” said Henderson.

“I’m going to be involved in day-to-day business. I’m going to know exactly what is going on: budgets, players, what’s happening in the stadium, everything.

“We’re hoping to get the commercial side running again and give the fans what they want.

“I’m not the person that would own the business and think ‘I’m the business owner and I’m the bee’s-knees’. That’s not me.

“I’m normally the one in the background getting things done and that’s what I’m looking to do.

“I’ll be out there mingling with the fans because I have to see this entire business.”

Henderson’s path to owning York is far from conventional, having been born in Hartlepool, raised in Johannesburg and educated in Atlanta.

After a short semi-professional footballing playing career with South African sides Benoni Northerns and Boksburg, Henderson moved to study in the USA, earning an international marketing management degree and a BA in business administration.

He co-founded Amazing Athletes, a company which taught sport in pre-schools across the States before selling the business in 2018.

“I’ve always had businesses that have dealt with people, whether that be chiropractors, restaurants or my youth sports (business), that I did”, explained Henderson.

Did he ever think that he would end up owning a football club though?

“No,’ he replies. “I look around this stadium and think that I’m going to be part of this history. How am I going to make that history?

“It’s surreal and crazy. It’s a job that everyone wants but no-one really wants to take on.

“Everybody has an opinion but will never do it. It’s going to be one of the hardest jobs that I’ve ever taken on but it’s also going to be one of the most rewarding.”

Henderson is not a complete outsider to the city though. He moved to York in 2017 and his son, Ethan, had a spell with City, being an unused substitute in the 4-1 home defeat to Hereford in March 2020.

Two years earlier, Henderson began conversations with Trust chairman Mike Brown, expressing his interest at taking over.

“We started this four years ago and we had the same vision and the same interests,” explained the new chief.

“I did have my doubts at some stages once Covid hit. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

“But when a bucket-list (chance) comes along like this, if you could own a football club, would you own a football club?” he rhetorically asks.

A change in ownership coincides with York preparing to return to the Vanarama National League next month after five seasons in the doldrums of regional football.

Promotion out of the National League North was secured through the play-offs primarily through the management of John Askey, who has already spoken of his desire to keep up the club’s momentum and aim for another rise up the pyramid.

“I’m very ambitious,” stated Henderson. “If you’re going to buy a football club, obviously you want to win.

“I’m also a realist. We’re back in this league and we haven’t been here for five years.

“But I think the camp is in very high spirits and I think you’ve got to aim high. Let’s aim for promotion and if we fall short, we fall short.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs, but we’ve got to aim high.”

To do just that, according to the common consensus, then financial backing is needed, particularly to compete with the likes of big-spending Wrexham, last season’s title challengers and defeated play-off semi-finalists.

“I think financially and budget-wise, we have to look at things,” said Henderson. “We’re still gathering information.

“John thinks he has a great squad at the moment and he thinks he’ll be able to compete with youth, experience and players in their prime.

“For me, money is not the answer. I think that the culture is the answer. I’ve got to fix the culture.

“I’ve got to make everyone work together, feel like they’re part of the club and that’s the way we’ll move forward.”

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