Issue 051. February 19, 2021.
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Ray Taylor (Warrington)

Disappointed but not surprised that the season is over.  

Enjoyed the coverage of the match on Tuesday but not the result! 

I do hope the likes of Neil Jacques and Robert Beaumont continue to post their opinions, and of course, continue to support the club.  I wish I had a £1 for every time I have come away from a match over the years stating "That's it, never again"  

But of course, come the next fixture I am in attendance.  

Or, in my recent times,  being glued to the radio if I cannot get to the match.  

Had I saved all the money I have spent following City over the past  73 years I could now be living in a luxury villa on a Caribbean Island.  

But I would not swap that for all the memories, good and bad.  

Keep smiling folks. It may get better!
Ben Prokop (Epping)

>>>>"We are in a new ground now (playschool seats included) and hopefully we can move on without all this negativity." <<<<

A wise and witty man once said " ..that optimist of yours is always ready to turn hell's backyard into a playground."

Perhaps a great number of York City supporters have found that their negative viewpoint has come from seeing our collective playground of supporting York turn into hell’s backyard.  

There is a superb fan compiled Twitter thread available detailing the sheer scale and quantity of amateurish decisions from 2014 to the present entitled the “Banter era” that is well worth a read.

Rather than repeat it here, I would simply comment that it is only surprising in the sheer quantity of material available to be included in it. Reading through it really does help to confirm exactly why we are wallowing in tier 6 of the football pyramid.  

But at least we’re in a new ground so now all this amateurism will finally stop … 
Donald Horsfield (York)

Seems a bit unreal that the last games at Bootham Crescent will be played by Hull City Reserves. 

I see one of the scheduled games is against Ipswich; will this be the first appearance of an Ipswich team at York?
Simon Turner (Hornsea)

I think Neil Jacques’ views (TOOAB Issue 049) mirror a lot of the deep-seated anger that dwells within many of the supporters.  

Mr Uttley’s comments (TOOAB Issue 050) about Neil“ being very much anti-McGill and pro- trust” just about sums up the whole situation.  

Why on earth can we not have a trust and a chairman who work proactively together, which I am sure what Neil and most fans would like. 

A month or so I queried in The Press where it all seemed to go a bit sour for our chairman and York and suggested the Worthington resignation.  

I for one do not know all the in and outs of our finances, but have always questioned the logic of spending so much on full-time teams, to still do badly.  

I know that it went wrong with Jackie Mac, but there was at that time at least a new idea which was to try and select good players from the league below and develop them to sell on.  

Sadly the process was rushed and the selections not good enough. But an examination of our teams over the last few years in the conference has seen us have some young players that have gone on to play at higher levels and some more experienced players that continued to play at a good level or higher when they left York.  

I would like to know why this happens, why are players poor at York, but better elsewhere?  

Maybe I just do not notice the ones that drift off to lower levels?  But that plan was swept under the carpet in the panic of 2 relegations, but that plan had its merits.

Returning to another part of John Uttley’s letter. He feels that a club cannot do without some serious financial backing behind it. But have York had it?  

Yes, they have had their losses bankrolled by the chairman, but will he get his money back?  Is this true bankrolling? It is not if you lend money to the club only to get it back.  

But as I said I do not know the finances - but this is the accusation that is always laid at the chairman and is will continue to cause unrest amongst fans.

I personally feel that York will have more success and a more motivated and loyal fans following, if it cuts its cloth to what it can genuinely afford.  

I would understand if we struggled at times in the league, if we were trying to develop our own players, with a few seasoned experienced players alongside them.  

I also think that the team should be part-time as they will get a better quality of player, because we cannot afford the wages of decent full-time pro’s- well, certainly not 11-15 players.

I hope that now the season is over (I personally think that is also a scandal) and we have moved to a new stadium, that a more prudent budget can be set in future.  

I think this might also benefit the manager, as a smaller squad may be easier to work with.   

A longer-term plan needs to be put in place to make the club viable (not on 4K crowds either) as at some point the bankrolling will have to stop one way or another.  

But the danger is that once BC is sold off and all the monies owed settled and money left in the York City kitty (maybe from Ben Godfrey) will be plundered yet again and another fruitless attempt will be made to get out of this league using full-time players.

I am not sure which players are on contracts into next season. Not many I would guess as that is usual at this level.  

There is no doubt that this season’s team was weaker than last seasons, with no improvement, rather getting worse up front.  

There are a couple of good players in Dyson, Bunn and Redshaw can be good also.  

The defence has been up and down. I like Joshua King and he is the kind of young player who we need 3 or 4 of in our team.  

Not sure about the rest of the defence and our keeper sadly seems to have some mistakes in him. However, I have to put a health warning on this.  

The season has been so disrupted have players have had a chance to really show their best?  

We had a good run after our first Covid break in Nov/Dec, but since then have been underwhelming, but have had numerous disruptions, so no chance to get any kind of momentum.

Finally, I would like to say that maybe the lockdown is getting to some York fans and we have been getting a bit tetchy on here.  

TOOAB has always been a civil environment, where interesting views are put forward. While it is OK to vent, as we do not have the chance to do it in the pub after the game, it is not alright to start being quite confrontational in response to views you maybe do not agree with.

I have tried to steer clear in this post, maybe I have not managed it, if so I apologise.

Let us all remember York City have been a team with a long history of failure, punctuated by rare moments of success.  

Their fans are probably seen as masochists.  But being a York fan has always been about more than on-field success, it is about the banter, the odd bits of skill in game, the great goals, the booing at the cartoon bad man in the other team.  

Basically, all the stuff that you do not get much of watching Man Utd on TV.  

As York moves to a new ground there is a danger that a failure to be top of the league is seen as a reason to stop going, people are impatient these days.

If the club does not change its attitude to its fans it will die. People need to feel part of a club. That is the definition of a club; something you join.  

I do not feel I can really join the York club these days - how do you do it?  

I can join the Scarborough club; it tells you how on their website and you get a vote.  

I could probably go to Bridlington Town and get to know all their fans personally as I did when I lived in Liversedge.

With 24 teams in a league, only two can be promoted. There have to be other measures of success in case you don’t achieve this.  

For example: selling on players, playing an attractive style of football, a good match day experience, cheap seats for young fans, families.  Local players in the team.  “Character" players that you want to see. Books balancing. women’s teams and other age teams all going strong.

I hope that York starts highlighting other measures of success and works to involve fans at every level they can. This will require a big change at the club and thesis where I came in at the start of this essay (apologies for this- but it is lockdown).  

The chairman and the trust need to work together, not against each other.


Following the result of the resolutions issued by the National League to null and void the season, York City Football Club has joined together with 18 other teams in the National League North and South to propose a continuation in the form of a mini league.

The collective, made up of teams who all voted to fulfil the season, released an open letter to the National League this evening (Friday 19 February) asking the league to #LetUsPlay with promotions honoured. 

Chairman Jason McGill said: “We need to keep playing consistent, competitive football in order for the team to operate with the ultimate aim of promotion.  

“While we understand that some teams have to protect their own interests, it’s encouraging that others have united as a group to fight for the continuation of Step 2 football.  

“The integrity of the league and that of the leagues above is in doubt if this suggestion is not considered and promotion and relegation is not honoured.” 

While we wait for the National League to review this proposal, we would ask fans to show their support by using #LetUsPlay on social media. 

Thank You. 

The below letter, agreed to by 19 clubs, has been sent to the National League;  

Dear Mr Ives,

Following the results of the voting on the National League resolutions dated 1 February 2021, we write to you on behalf of the clubs that voted to fulfil the 2020-21 National League North and South season.

We feel the options presented in the resolutions did not provide an alternative solution to a Null and Void scenario and the result of Resolution 3 was very closely divided with a very small majority determining that the season will be ended with immediate effect. However, as a league of members (66 clubs) the vote delivered a majority result in favour of continuing the season albeit you chose to adopt the four votes each rule for NLN and NLS as opposed to one each for the NL.

We believe that the 19 clubs at Step 2 that wish to continue, should be afforded an opportunity to do so, with playoffs and promotion, as per normal.

We believe the following reasons support the resumption of the 2020-21 National League North & South seasons:

Our feedback and experiences week to week leave us in little doubt that the majority of our communities and supporter base are under extreme strain within the current lockdown conditions. Looking forward to better times and more normality is a large part of keeping people positive. We believe that a Null and Void scenario would negatively impact the mental health of our supporters and communities. 

Our supporters, season ticket holders and commercial partners have demonstrated a huge amount of goodwill and faith by retaining their season tickets and accepting that their interaction with their club will be remotely and digitally rather than what they signed up for and attending matches. A Null and Void season would require either substantial refunds or carrying over the commercial and ticketing revenue into next season. This would have a huge impact on future commercial revenues. 

With the outcome of the vote being Null and Void in Step 2, the ability to have promotion and relegation between Steps 1 and 2 is lost. Promotion and Relegation within the National League system is a fundamental value which the league has worked hard for over the years and which was the motivating driver in reaching a sporting conclusion to last season. We feel it important for our relationship with the EFL that both promotion and relegation be retained at Step 1 and Step 2. 

Last year, although the clubs voted to curtail the season, the playoffs and automatic promotion places were sanctioned, and we believe a similar approach should be adopted this season to maintain the integrity of the overall competition. 

All clubs have accepted financial support from the National Lottery for the months of October, November and December and also FA grant funding in order to prepare and proceed with league matches behind closed doors. Those conditions remain and we feel we have an obligation to proceed and complete the season having already accepted that funding. 

We have all invested considerable sums, by entering into contracts and taking on liabilities on the basis the season would progress to a full conclusion whether behind closed doors or not. How are we expected to now reconcile this investment and commitment? Numerous clubs are entering dialogue with Sport England regarding grant and loan funding to continue operating and are exploring every option to fulfil this season.
In summary, we respectfully request that the league strongly consider that the two divisions at Step 2 continue playing their seasons, either separately or as one.

We believe that this is in the best interests of all National League members allowing the league to cater to the needs and drivers of all clubs in a sympathetic manner, allowing those who wish to continue to do so, and those who cannot or do not wish to continue to end their season.  

Promotion and relegation can be maintained between the National League and National League North and South in order to recover a full National League of 24 clubs next season, as well as maintaining the integrity of our relationship with the EFL. 

Yours in Football, 

AFC Fylde - David Haythornthwaite
Gloucester City - Alex Petheram
Boston United - David Newton
Havant & Waterlooville - Trevor Brock
Chelmsford City - Steve Shore
Hemel Hempstead Town - Dave Boggins
Chorley - Graham Watkinson
Hungerford Town - Patrick Chambers
Concord Rangers - Antony Smith
Kidderminster Harriers - Neil Male
Dartford - Dave Skinner & Steve Irving
Oxford City - Paul Lyon
Dorking Wanderers – Marc White
St Albans City - Lawrence Levy
Eastbourne Borough - John Bonar & David Blackmore
Welling United
Ebbsfleet United – Damian Irvine
York City - Jason McGill

Numerous Step 2 clubs vow to battle null and void verdict

By Jacob Kilbride

A NUMBER of Step 2 clubs have said they will fight against the National League's verdict to null and void the 2020/21 season.

Gloucester City, Dorking Wanderers and AFC Fylde have all issued statements following the news that the majority of Step 2 clubs voted to end the current campaign.

A number of clubs in the North and South divisions were unhappy at the prospect of taking loans, rather than grants which had previously been in place, in order to complete the season.

However, those arguing against null and void, have said they are now considering legal action against the National League to overturn the decision.

A Dorking Wanderers statement, published on Thursday evening, read: "Following tonight’s announcement that Step 2 is null and void with immediate effect, we would like to confirm that we are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the resolutions put to National League member clubs.

"We fully recognise the varying challenges and support those member clubs that had concerns about their clubs existence and survival, given the misleading information received surrounding grants, and we felt strongly from day one that these clubs should be protected.

"As a club however, we did not feel that a vote was necessary. Instead we felt that a much more collaborative approach was required given the very difficult circumstances people found themselves in.

"We also thought on top of that that it wouldn’t require a vote to enable people to opt out of the league for the season.

"Then the vote (and resolutions) were brought forward, and we were extremely concerned to see that the league were attempting to change the constitutional voting.

"This was a clear sign that, given the only clubs that had requested for the season to finish were North and South clubs, it was a way in which the National League could deliver on this resolution to protect their own interests.

"Indeed, it created a direct conflict of interest by the National League voting for the voting to change, which meant that in the event that Step 2 was null and void they would avoid relegation, so there was an incentive to vote for Resolution 1 (the voting constitution to change).

"At this stage we are in ongoing dialogue with our legal team and are taking high level legal advice to ascertain the validity of the resolution."

Gloucester City, who were top of the National League North table when the season suspended, have also said they will resort to legal action.

Gloucester co-chairman Alex Petheram said on Twitter: "Disappointing is the word of the day.... but we're never out (of) the fight.

"I can confirm that we have now formally started legal action at Gloucester City Football Club against the 'null and void' outcome.

"This isn't to make club play on, it's to allow promotion and relegation. #PromoteStep2".

AFC Fylde, who were second in the North division, have also publicly stated their anger at the verdict.

They said on Twitter: "In light of yesterday's resolution, we are deeply disappointed with the outcome. We firmly believe that there is an alternative solution.

"Our stance is unchanged and we will fight to continue to 2020/21 National League North season. #Step2Continue"

York City U-turn on Bootham Crescent pitch hire to Hull City

By Jacob Kilbride

YORK City have withdrawn on their deal to hire out Bootham Crescent to Hull City Under 23s.

York announced on Thursday that they were to hire out the club’s former home ground to Hull for the months of February and March.

The move would have seen Hull U23s play four home matches at the ground in their Professional Development League season.

Instead, the youth side played just once at Bootham Crescent, in a 2-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic, on Thursday.

Explaining the decision, the Minstermen said the deal would “bring much needed income into the club”.

However, York have reversed on the deal after fans reacted angrily to the news that the final game at the historic ground would not involve York City.

On Twitter, a York City statement read: “You asked. We listened. We have listened to our supporters and withdrawn Hull City FC’s pitch hire of Bootham Crescent.

“After the devastating impact of the pandemic on the club’s income we had intended to hire Bootham Crescent to Hull City FC for four matches, to bring some much-needed funds to the club, but after receiving feedback from supporters these games will not go ahead.

“Your feedback is noted and valued. Thank you.”

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The first in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson 

IT has been a National League North season like no other. The sentiment is hackneyed - but only so because it is true.

The season started two months later than usual and was interrupted by all manner of events that would have seemed unthinkable not 18 months ago. Club opinions of the National League governing body must be nearing an all-time low.

Now, sides have voted, and the season at Step 2 has been ended with immediate effect.

How did we get here?

The Press takes a look back over a bizarre year, starting in 2020.

The scale of the pandemic emerges and the 2019/20 season comes under discussion

March 7 – Two Sean Newton free kicks help York City to a 3-1 National League North win at Alfreton Town. It is their last fixture until July.

March 13 – York City’s National League North weekend fixture at home to Altrincham is postponed with people at both sides showing coronavirus symptoms.

March 16 – All three divisions of the National League are suspended until at least April 3 following a board meeting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 17 – York City’s North Riding County FA Senior Cup semi-final against Thornaby is postponed as grassroots football (matches and training) is hit by the response to the coronavirus.

March 18 – York City shut their doors “until further notice”. Bootham Crescent undergoes a deep clean.

March 25 – The National League asks the Football Association to help end its season “as soon as possible”.

March 26 – National League North leaders York “make a strong case” about how the 2019/20 season should be completed “in light of York City FC's position in the league”.

March 31 – The National League North season is suspended indefinitely.

April 2 – York City players and staff are put on furlough.

April 14 – The National League asks clubs to vote to cancel the remainder of the season.

April 22 – The rest of the 2019/20 National League North season is cancelled with a majority of respondents in favour. York reiterate stance on ensuring promotions are honoured.

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The second in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson

AFTER initial upheaval and the 2019/20 season being ended prematurely, attentions turned to making sure York had a fair crack at getting promoted.

The battle for the play-offs

April 28 – A letter is reportedly sent to National League clubs warning that the number of promotion places could change.

May 21 – The English Football League calls relegation “integral” to the competition’s integrity, allaying some fears about promotion from the National League.

May 27 – The FA grants the National League an extension to the deadline by which play-offs must be completed. Play-offs are still not guaranteed.

June 11 – The National League propose the season should be determined by points per game. First-placed in National League North, York are now set to cede top spot to King’s Lynn Town.

It is not clear whether play-offs are classed as ‘elite’ sport and allowed to go ahead.

June 12 – York start the #Promote2 campaign to push the National League North to keep two promotion places open. National League South outfit Havant & Waterlooville do the same.

June 14 – York City’s request that the second-placed team be promoted is knocked back. Alan Mak MP writes to National League chairman Brian Barwick calling for play-offs to be held, noting that the Government “has not expressed a view” on their elite status.

June 16 – York receive an ‘ordinary resolution’ vote on whether the play-offs should take place “if legally possible”.

June 17 – The resolution is “overwhelmingly” backed in the vote. York’s place in the play-offs is confirmed “subject to competition rules and Government guidance”.

June 18 – York push the National League to honour the second promotion spot in the event that the play-offs cannot take place.

June 19 – The FA say that Steps 1 to 7 will not be able to restart without fans. A September restart looks possible. Any restart after the New Year could see the 2020/21 season declared null and void.

June 23 – A play-off semi-final target date of July 25/26 is set. Clubs are required to present a thorough Covid-19 testing plan to the National League medical officer.

June 28 – The York City Vice Presidents Association matches the fundraising efforts of fans from a crowdfunder launched in March to take York’s 2020/21 recruitment budget to £30,180, guaranteed to be spent only on assembling and developing the team.

July 1 – City report no positive Covid-19 cases from the first round of testing.

The National League receives £200,000 from the Premier League to help hold the play-offs. York estimated in May they had lost more than £250,000 while chairman Jason McGill estimates that play-offs could cost the club between £120,000 and £150,000.

July 4 – Play-off date set for July 25. The FA are yet to ratify June 16’s resolution.

July 10 – York fans can buy cardboard cut-outs for the play-off semi-final, which will be against the winner of Altrincham v Chester.

July 17 – National League confirms rules for play-offs, including numbers of substitutes and the removal of extra time.

The FA Council’s ratification of the play-offs is confirmed.

July 19 – The FA and Government announce the Step 1 and 2 seasons will start no earlier than September 5. Pre-season friendlies between non-league clubs can take place from August.

Altrincham beat Chester 3-2.

July 25 – York lose the play-off semi-final 2-0 at home to Altrincham.

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The third in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson

THOUGH York's push for the play-offs to go ahead bore fruit, City were beaten by Altrincham in the semi-finals.

Another season in National League North beckoned - with a twist.

York look ahead to 2020/21

August 4 – City pull out of the 2019/20 North Riding County FA Senior Cup. They were due to face Thornaby in the semi-final.

August 5 – York are made aware that the LNER Community Stadium is “almost finished” but report difficulties in staging the requisite test events before it can open.

The National League confirms the 2020/21 season will begin on October 3 with an FA Cup fixture.

August 7 – Manager Steve Watson starts rebuilding his squad with the additions of Robbie Tinkler and Scott Barrow. In all, 16 players left York City during the off-season.

August 18 – York City unveil a season ticket resolution to allow season ticket holders to decide what to do with the remaining funds from the 2019/20 tickets.

September 5 – York start pre-season preparations with a 4-1 behind-closed-doors friendly win at Newcastle United Under-23s.

September 8 – City lose 3-0 at South Shields in their first pre-season friendly open to the public.

September 21 – Ryan Whitley is loaned to Scarborough Athletic. He returns in January having played just eight times because of coronavirus’s impact on the Northern Premier League.

September 22 – The National League North start date is thrown into uncertainty when the Government announces that fans will not return to elite football on October 1.

York confirm the LNER Community Stadium will not be ready until after October 9. The club had hoped to start the season at Monks Cross.

September 23 – York City’s friendly at Notts County is to be played behind closed doors. The Nottinghamshire club were previously hopeful of hosting 1,000 home fans.

September 24 – York City announce they are in favour of starting the season as planned, behind closed doors.

September 24 – The National League reveals it is in talks with the Government to secure a financial support package.

September 26 – York complete their pre-season fixture list with an excellent 3-0 win at National League side Notts County.

September 30 – The National League effectively receives the go-ahead from the Government after it confirms financial support to the league. A letter from the National League had warned the system could collapse without funding.

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The fourth in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson 

YORK were back in action, funding had been promised and things were starting to look more normal. There was even hope for fans soon passing through turnstiles again.

York’s 2020/21 season kicks off amid positive Covid-19 tests and funding disputes

October 3 – York win their first competitive fixture of term, beating Warrington Rylands 1-0 in the FA Cup.

October 5 – Former York defender Ben Godfrey signs for Everton from Norwich City for a reported £25million. Since City included a sell-on clause into Godfrey’s 2016 deal with the Canaries, the Minstermen could have netted around £2.5m.

October 6 – York beat Chorley 3-1 in their first game of the 2020/21 National League North season, almost 14 months after the Minstermen’s 2019/20 campaign had kicked off.

October 9 – York City put seating from Bootham Crescent up for sale ahead of the Community Stadium move.

October 19 – £10million National Lottery funding is announced to help National League clubs through to December.

October 22 – A York player tests positive for Covid-19. Players and staff self-isolate until November 1. National League North games against Hereford and Kettering Town are postponed.

York City “seek further information” from the National League about the distribution of the National Lottery funds. The Minstermen claim the £36,000 per month they were to receive did not “meet the intended objective to compensate for loss of income from matchday ticket sales”. Teams in the National League were reported to receive either £95,000 or £84,000 per month, while National League North teams were to receive either £36,000 or £30,000 per month. York had a higher average attendance (2,705) in 2019/20 than one of the proposed top-earners, Torquay United (2,609), and an £84,000-earner Boreham Wood (724).

October 30 – Eleven clubs from Steps 1 and 2 ask the National League to reconsider “unsustainable” funding proposals. York did not sign the letter, which said: “We urge the National League board, or any independent panel otherwise instructed, to base their evaluation and decisions on the objective for the funding as per the DCMS press release: ‘Funding will be distributed to help cover lost gate revenue from the delay to fans being permitted to return’.”

November 3 – As an ‘elite’ competition, the FA confirms that the National League North will continue through the second national lockdown.

November 6 – York City’s scheduled return to action is postponed because of positive Covid-19 tests at opponents Chester.

November 13 – After returning to the field for a 3-2 win at Southport, York are again plunged into self-isolation following another positive Covid-19 test. This time, four games are rearranged.

November 18 – The Government explores the possibility of a post-lockdown, pre-Christmas return of fans in areas with low infection rates.

Nine National League clubs call for the resignation of the governing body's chairman Brian Barwick amid complaints over the proposed distribution of funding.

November 19 – The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announces a £300million ‘Sports Winter Survival Package’ to cover 12 sports. It “will be largely composed of loans” the press release reads.

November 23 – Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that outdoor and indoor venues in tier one and two areas would be allowed to admit spectators on a limited basis.

November 26 – York placed in tier two post-lockdown. City start preparations to host fans again.

December 10 – Four-hundred York fans watch City draw 1-1 with Spennymoor Town at Bootham Crescent.

December 17 – Ian McAndrew says York will be in the LNER Community Stadium by “early January”.

December 28 – York beat Guiseley 1-0 in front of 627 fans. It turns out to be the last game at Bootham Crescent as the LNER Community Stadium is declared ready for City to move in to.

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The fifth in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson 

THE situation had started to look more precarious as the furore over funding intensified.

To add to the mix, York had been struggling with in-house Covid cases - of which a high-profile instance was to emerge.

Uncertainty surrounds the National League North season

January 8 – York confirm manager Steve Watson has tested positive for coronavirus. Assistant Micky Cummins prepares to take charge of the side’s trip to Boston United, which is called off following further infections in the York squad. Games against Boston, Fylde and Gateshead games are postponed. The latter was meant to be the first at the Community Stadium, which is now set for Curzon Ashton on January 30.

January 12 – Twelve National League North clubs send a letter calling on “Oliver Dowden, the DCMS and the FA not to betray the trust National League clubs placed in them by agreeing to commence the season and to ensure the additional £11m in support is in the form of grants, not loans”. York City are again not among the signatories.

January 19 – York City chairman Jason McGill states that he wants the season to continue and says that he believes City can survive without fans, with Godfrey’s sale providing “quite significant funding”.

January 22 – The seasons at National League North and National League South are suspended for a fortnight amid continuing disagreements over funding. York release a statement saying: “We feel strongly that the season should have continued. Of course, we understand that individual clubs must represent their own views and interests. However, we feel disappointed that this view wasn’t shared by the National League board.”

The DCMS release a statement saying: “It is untrue to suggest funding to the National League was ever promised as all grants and they have been unable to substantiate this claim.”

January 25 – The 2020/21 North Riding County FA Senior Cup is cancelled.

January 27 – In addition to the Winter Sports Survival Package loans, clubs are told they can also apply for grants if the loans are demonstrably unaffordable.

January 28 – A formal "resolution to consider the outcome of the season" is announced by the National League on Thursday, to be received by clubs the following Monday. Precise details are not revealed.

York sporting director Dave Penney is among the participants in a virtual meeting with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on "how the Government can make the best decisions to support the National League".

National League clubs are invited to a meeting with Sport England the following day or the Tuesday after to discuss funding.

Late on Thursday, 16 clubs publish a joint statement calling for the season to be "curtailed no later than Friday, February 5 to allow all clubs to be assessed for grants".

The season has been declared null and void. How did we get here? The final chapter in a six-part series

By Joe Richardson

LITTLE seemed to have been resolved - at least publicly - during the two-week suspension period, which was coming to an end. How clubs would respond was the next instalment of the saga to look out for.

A slow slide towards the end

February 1 – A petition under the name of the National League on garners widespread support from National League sides, York included. The petition calls on the Government to change the nature of the promised funding from loans to grants.

The National League submits a request for the minutes from a key meeting called by the Government in which the league claims assurances were given that it would not have to pay back coronavirus crisis funding.

In the evening, clubs receive the resolution to consider the end of the season. The four possible outcomes are that the Step 1 season end and be declared null and void; the Step 2 season end and be declared null and void; both seasons end and be declared null and void; or both seasons continue.

February 3 – Sixteen Step 2 clubs back a statement calling for fixtures to restart until the resolution vote is decided, contingent on clubs being in agreement over the fixture; there being a fully funded Covid testing system in place; and clubs not facing sanctions for not fulfilling fixtures. Chippenham Town, a signatory, say they cannot fulfil their weekend fixture.

February 9 – Farsley Celtic flatly refuse to travel to York for Saturday’s league game. There were doubts about whether Alfreton or Darlington would be willing to play, but both those fixtures were postponed by the weather in the end.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston says the National League told member clubs they would receive grants after the National Lottery money ran out without confirming this with the Government.

February 11 – Dulwich Hamlet are charged for not fulfilling their fixtures. They are the first team to report a charge.

February 12 – Concord Rangers chairman Ant Smith says he will not respond to the charge brought against his team and says they had a “just cause” for not playing.

The National League release a statement saying charge hearings will not be heard until after the outcome of the vote on resolutions is known.

February 14 - National League general manager Mark Ives tells the Non-League Paper that "we need to ensure by taking the loans in the format they stand, the clubs aren't inadvertently breaking league rules."

February 16 – York finally play in the LNER Community Stadium. They lose 3-1 to fellow promotion-chasers AFC Fylde with captain Sean Newton scoring a penalty.

February 18 – The Step 2 season is declared null and void and ceases activity with immediate effect.

On this day 66 years ago York City saw off Tottenham in the FA Cup

By Joe Richardson

HE might have been the youngest player on the team but Norman Wilkinson was to make a big name for himself on this day 66 years ago.

The 5ft 11in forward had turned 24 just three days before York City’s much-heralded FA Cup fifth round victory over Tottenham Hostspur - and he celebrated in style with a pair of goals in what many believe to be the Minstermen’s finest hour.

Wilkinson cost City a £10 signing-on fee from Hull City in the summer of 1954 and made a blistering start to his first season in League football, scoring twice in York’s season-opening 6-2 win at Wrexham.

He would go on to find the net a total of 143 times for the Minstermen in more than 350 appearances across 12 seasons at Bootham Crescent.

A great aerial talent, he also formed a fine understanding with fellow heroes of the Happy Wanderers side, Arthur Bottom and Billy Fenton.

He made himself a household name within the York city walls - and his performance on February 19, 1955 against First Division outfit Tottenham thrust him into the national spotlight.

“Norman Wilkinson in his first season of League football is coming on leaps and bounds,” wrote the Yorkshire Evening Press York City reporter Wilf Meek.

“Note the perfection with which he and Bottom have developed the double spearhead attacking idea, so that a centre-half never quite knows who is playing centre-forward.

“Forty-two goals between them is the haul.”

Spurs, with the renowned Alf Ramsey and Danny Blanchflower on the pitch, took the lead in the 11th minutes through George Robb, who side-footed past Tommy Forgan when he picked up the ball unmarked around the six-yard box.

In many ways, this made what came next all the more remarkable.

Wilkinson got York back on level terms in the 29th minute, heading in from Bill Hughes' cross into the area, before Fenton put the spirited Minstermen in front at the break.

Undaunted, the Third Division minnows did not try to waste time or look to protect their lead, as though they believed they could further embellish what was looking like a great victory.

And with 10 minutes to go, the Minstermen got their reward. From the left wing, the marauding Fenton centred for Wilkinson, who volleyed home left-footed.

"Thousands of soccer supporters, the whole of the national press and radio commentators have at last acclaimed York City’s amazing FA Cup progress," Meek wrote in his analysis the Monday after the match.

"It is as if a finely balanced and clever team had suddenly sprung up at Bootham Crescent headquarters.

"And keeping things in their proper perspective, this sudden realisation is all wrong.

"This York City team, man for man, has been there all the season, producing soccer of a brand the local public has never had before, and with a few of us trying to hammer that home week by week.

"I have derived the utmost personal satisfaction from reading this belated discovery, for it is wholesale justification for the opinion I expressed last August.

"'This new look City team is going places this season,' was what I wrote after Wrexham, and I did get criticised and even ridiculed!

"So you can appreciate why a few of us associated with the club have had a quiet chuckle at the weekend."

Bootham Crescent pitch hire agreement withdrawn

You asked. We Listened.

We have listened to our supporters and withdrawn Hull City FC’s pitch hire of Bootham Crescent.

After the devastating impact of the pandemic on the club’s income we had intended to hire Bootham Crescent to Hull City FC for four matches, to bring some much-needed funds into the club, but after receiving feedback from supporters these games will not go ahead.

Your feedback is noted and valued. Thank you.

Fan backlash sees York City withdraw Bootham Crescent offer to Hull City

By Barry Cooper

Hull City’s first taste of action at York City’s Bootham Crescent came on Thursday night, when the club’s Under-23s played against their Wigan Athletic counterparts, but it won't last.

City, who lost 2-0 to the Latics just 24 hours after the senior side won 5-0 at the DW Stadium, had opted to play their games at the former home of the Minstermen after signing a commercial agreement with the National League North outfit following their departure to a new stadium.

That move from the non-league club drew criticism from home supporters - who have yet to say goodbye to their famous old ground due to coronavirus - claimed to have only found out about the deal via Hull City's match updates, and as a consequence, York have withdrawn the offer despite Thursday night's game already having gone ahead.

In what has been turned into a chaotic few hours, York played the first game at their new LNER Community Stadium on Tuesday evening – a 3-1 defeat at AFC Fylde just hours before the National League opted to cancel their season.

Previously, the majority of Under-23 games were being played at a combination of Bishop Burton College and the KCOM Stadium, but the Tigers will now seek alternative arrangements in line with league regulations.

"You asked. We listened. We have listened to our supporters and withdrawn Hull City FC’s pitch hire of Bootham Crescent.

"After the devastating impact of the pandemic on the club’s income we had intended to hire Bootham Crescent to Hull City FC for four matches, to bring some much-needed funds into the club, but after receiving feedback from supporters these games will not go ahead," it wrote on Twitter less than 24 hours after the Tigers faced Wigan.

Speaking previously, the York outfit explained their reasoning for agreeing a deal with the Tigers in the first place.

"The club would like to keep supporters updated with a commercial hire deal for Bootham Crescent, which will bring much-needed income into the club,” York City said in a statement.

"Hull City U23s will hire Bootham Crescent for four matches over February and March.

"It is still the club’s intention to provide a dedicated farewell opportunity for supporters, when it’s safe to do so and we will share further details in due course."

Andy Dawson’s men were set to play three more games at Bootham Crescent, hosting Ipswich Town on March 22, before the visit of league leaders Nottingham Forest three days later and then rounding off a busy period on March 29 against Crewe Alexandra.
Please check with the club's official website for late changes to fixtures before committing to travel.
Pre-season friendlies

Sat 5 Newcastle United U-23 1, York City 4 (Trialist, Olly Dyson, Rob Guilfoyle (2))
Tue 8 South Shields 3, York City 0 
Sat 12 Whitby Town 2, York City 0
Sat 19 York City 0, Stockport County 1
Sat 26 Notts County 0, York City 3 (Wright, Cassidy, Wollerton)

2020-21 season

York City joined the FA Cup in the 2nd qualifying round and the FA Trophy in the 2nd round proper.

Note: Midweek fixtures are 7.45pm kick off unless stated otherwise.

Sat 3 Warrington Rylands 0, York City 1 (Newton) - Emirates FA Cup 2Q (City receive £3,375 prizemoney)
Tue 6 York City 3, Chorley 1 (McLaughlin, Barrow, Woods)
Sat 10 Farsley Celtic 1, York City 1 (Newton)
Tue 13 Chorley 1, York City 0 - Emirates FA Cup 3Q (Losing club receive £1,875)
Sat 17 York City 0 Brackley Town 0

Tue 10 Southport 2, York City 3 (Newton (2), Bunn)
Sat 28 Leamington 2, York City 1 (Dyson)

Wed 2 Blyth Spartans 0, York City 3 (Woods, Bunn, Cassidy)
Sat 5 York City 2, Chester 1 (Bunn, Wright) 
Tue 8 York City 2, Kettering Town 0 (Newton (2)) 
Sat 12 York City 1, Spennymoor Town 1 (Woods)
Tue 15 Ashton United 3, York City 3 (City lose 3-2 pens) - Buildbase FA Trophy 2R (Dyson, Woods, Redshaw)
Sat 26 Bradford Park Avenue 4, York City 2 (Redshaw, Guilfoyle)
Mon 28 York City 1, Guiseley 0 (King)

Tue 5 Kidderminster Harriers 2, York City 2 (Woods, Newton)
Tue 26 Hereford (a) - postponed

Tue 2 Bradford Park Avenue (h) - postponed
Sat 6 Alfreton Town (a) - postponed
Tue 9 Darlington (a) - postponed
Sat 13 Farsley Celtic (h) - postponed
Tue 16 York City 1, AFC Fylde 3 (Newton)

SEASON DECLARED NULL & VOID - No further fixtures to be played

Sat 20 Chorley (a)
Tue 23 Boston United (a)
Sat 27 Hereford (h)

Tue 2 Gloucester City (h) 
Sat 6 Brackley Town (a)
Tue 9 Gateshead (h) 
Sat 13 Southport (h)
Sat 20 Chester (a)
Tue 23 Gateshead (a)
Sat 27 Kidderminster Harriers (h)

Fri 2 AFC Fylde (a)
Mon 5 Leamington (h)
Sat 10 Spennymoor Town (a)
Tue 13 Blyth Spartans (h)
Sat 17 Kettering Town (a)
Sat 24 Darlington (h)

Sat 1 Guiseley (a)
Mon 3 Boston United (h)
Sat 8 Gloucester City (a)
Tue 11 AFC Telford United (a) 
Sat 15 AFC Telford United (h)
Tue 18 Curzon Ashton (h) 
Sat 22 Curzon Ashton (a)
Sat 29 Alfreton Town (h)

Promotion play-off series
Sat 5/Sun 6 NLN play-offs 1R
Sat 12/Sun 13 NLN play-offs semi-final
Sat 19/Sun 20 NLN play-off final
CLICK HERE to check out our collection of classic York City match programmes at the TOOAB archive >>>>
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There’s Only One Arthur Bottom was first published as an almost-daily email newsletter in July 1997 and has been distributed continuously since. Subscriber numbers peaked at more than 1,100 when the club’s future was threatened by potential closure in 2001 but more than 800 subscribers, living in more than 30 countries, will receive this edition. Editor Josh Easby started the newsletter from New Zealand (where he lives today) but has variously produced and distributed it from the United Kingdom, Australia and (briefly) Italy.
Over the years, TOOAB subscribers have variously supported the club in many different ways, using the newsletter at times to share ideas that have helped the club and to raise money which has been used to buy much-needed equipment (for the physio room), sponsor members of the youth team and to sponsor senior players’ kit. Subscribers (who often call themselves ‘Arthurites’) often meet up for pre-match/post-match drinks and have arranged functions together.

Editorial policy

The opinions expressed in There's Only One Arthur Bottom do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher, nor is this newsletter endorsed in any way by York City Football Club.  Wherever possible, the contributions by subscribers are published unaltered.  However submissions will be rejected or amended if they are potentially defamatory or contain language likely to offend other subscribers. Unless good reasons are given, anonymous submissions are rejected. The publisher reserves the right to reproduce contributions to this newsletter on any website associated with the newsletter.
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