Issue 077. March 20, 2021.
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Mike Stockdale (Hartlebury, Worcestershire)

A strange end to another strange year with the null and void of the season. I can understand the club's decision to furlough staff especially the playing squad.

It does leave me wondering especially after Steve Watson's end of season message regarding planning for next year which of our squad are contracted for a further season.

If I recall, no contract details were provided when players were signed. Could it be the whole squad are out of contract? 
We catch up with news of former York City players, managers and staff.

Ben Godfrey relishing responsibility ahead of England U21 duty

By Joe Richardson

YORK-BORN Premier League star Ben Godfrey has said he is keen on the prospect of being a leader ahead of his latest link-up with the England Under-21s.

Godfrey is part of a 23-strong squad heading out to Slovenia next week to contest the group stages of the U21 European Championship.

Though already 23 years old, Godfrey is eligible to turn out for the U21s because he was 21 when the two-year campaign building up to this competition began.

As a result, Godfrey carries the responsibility of being one of the more senior members of the squad.

But responsibility is not something the versatile defender has ever shied away from - indeed, he accepted the Norwich City captain's armband as a 21-year-old in the Premier League during an injury crisis at the Canaries.

"There are four or five of us in the 1998 year with this squad. You are sort of regarded as a senior player in the team. It is important that you set good standards and you keep those high," Godfrey said.

"You've got young lads in there as well - there are 18, 19-year-olds and if us older lads can set a good example, make sure everything's running smoothly and they're settling in, it's a good role to have.

"It's the kind of role I enjoy doing and when I look ahead into my career, I want to have that responsibility on my shoulders as being a leader and being a captain."

England kick off their group stage against Switzerland next Thursday - but before he heads out on international duty, Godfrey will be hoping to be involved in current club Everton's bid to reach the FA Cup semi-finals today when they host runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.

"It's obviously a massive task playing against a very strong team in Man City but we've got to be confident in our ability, back ourselves and we've got to be confident we can turn them over and get to the semi-final," he said.

"That would be massive for us as players and huge for the club."

* Ben Godfrey made 12 senior appearances for York City between 2014-16.

Bencherif leads by example and signs for Guiseley's next campaign

Skipper Hamza Bencherif has given Guiseley a boost by signing a new contract for the 2021-22 season and he is hoping that the upcoming months pass quickly so that the club can return to action after two Covid-19 hit seasons.

The former Nottingham Forest youth player will be looking to add to his 53 Guiseley appearances with the experienced centre-back most looking forward to getting fans back in the ground and seeing the progress of some of the club’s home grown talent.

Paris-born Hamza was impressed by the quality of young players from the club’s Academy who made it into the first team last season, players such as Nathan Newall – who is currently on trial with Sunderland – Lewis Hey and Adam Haw.

Bencherif, himself a former Algerian U-23’s player, said: “We saw some good things from our youngsters last season, not just the ones from our own Academy but also other young players the management brought into the club. All the youngsters came in and played a part. We will be looking for them to push on when we start playing again.”

One thing the skipper felt that the youngsters and the players new to the club missed out on in the last season was having the Guiseley crowd behind them.

He added: “Playing in grounds without fans in was a bit soul destroying, last season the new lads never got the chance to experience what it is really like to play for Guiseley with all the crowd behind you. The fans give the team the tempo and really help you fight back when you get behind. They get you through the bad times. Guiseley is a family club and the supporters get right behind the team and we want to achieve something for them and write some kind of history for them.”

Once the side is back in action Hamza will be looking to add to his five Lions goals. He said that he had found the last two seasons very strange with both curtailed due to Covid-19.

Of the last season he said: “Starting the season just never felt right and without supporters it was strange. It became a very tricky situation and with a lot of our players also having work outside football employers were starting to become concerned about our involvement in football.

“This time it would be good to get a good pre-season in, we have unfinished business and we want to give it a right go when the league starts again. We had a number of new players who did not really get time to gel with the squad due to the curtailed season so we look forward to seeing what they have to offer.”

* Hamza Bencherif made 81 appearances for York City between 2017-19.
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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.

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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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