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Issue 081. March 25, 2021.
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The daily email newsletter serving York City fans since 1997

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Chris Crowcroft (Ludlow)

I saw Peter Lorimer at Spurs. Lining up a 35 yard straight free kick we all knew where it was going to go.

So did Pat Jennings who gave it a training ground tip over the bar.

Jennings had huge hands, he used to catch crosses (when goalkeepers did) with one hand in order to get the extra extension.
We catch up with news of former York City players, managers and staff.

Ben Godfrey credits hard work for England U21 call-up

By Joe Richardson 

BEN GODFREY has attributed his England Under-21 call-up to “hard work and consistency” - and says more of the same will be needed for the Young Lions to progress.

The former York City defender is hoping to be included today (2pm) when England kick off their U21 European Championship campaign against Switzerland in Slovenia.

Godfrey - who captained the U21s on his full debut in 2019 - has collected plaudits week on week for his performances at club side Everton this season.

Asked what he credits the call-up to, he said: “Hard work and consistency. There’s a lot of players to choose from around the country. We’ve got a lot of talent.

“It’s a massive honour and it encourages me to keep working hard and keep trying to improve my game. It’s always a proud moment to get called up for your country. It never gets boring putting on the England shirt.

“All my friends and family are over the moon. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Joining him in the squad is a host of talent, including team-mate Tom Davies and former colleague Max Aarons of Norwich City, as well as players like Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.

They will be looking to see England through a group stage which features Switzerland, Portugal and Croatia.

“We’ve got some difficult games ahead of us so we’ve got to be on it if we’re going to progress in the tournament,” Godfrey said.

“Without a doubt, the squad’s got more than enough quality and talent to make it through but you know how tournaments are - sometimes things don’t go your way or you don’t turn up on the day and other teams have it in them to punish you.

“We’ve got to be at it 100 per cent, be focused and work hard. We’ve definitely got the quality. We just need to make sure we apply ourselves properly throughout.”

A class act: remembering Peter Lorimer's time at York City

By Joe Richardson  

PETER LORIMER'S stay at York City might have been brief but it left a lasting impact on both player and fans.

The Leeds United legend spent six months in the red of the Minstermen during the 1979/80 season in between spells in Canada.

Prior to crossing the Atlantic for the first time, Lorimer had thundered his way into supporters' hearts at Elland Road with a shooting prowess that earned him nicknames like "Hotshot" and "Lash".

With 161 goals from 450 appearances over 16 years at the Whites, Lorimer decorated himself with two League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, the Charity Shield, two Inter-City Fairs Cups and runners-up medals in the European Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.

In 1974, he had been part of the Scotland side that missed out on the World Cup second round by goal difference alone. He scored in a 2-0 victory over Zaire.

Five years later, he had left Leeds and joined Toronto Blizzard - and six months after that, brought over by then City manager and compatriot Charlie Wright, Dundee-born Lorimer was heading to Bootham Crescent for a stint in the Fourth Division.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at York City," Lorimer told The Press in 2007.

"They were good, footballing people there. The football club was always well-run and tidy, and the chairman, Michael Sinclair, was a really nice man.

"At Leeds, you were always aware of York City. While it was just down the road, it was also a place where some of the kids who did not make it at Leeds would go, so you'd take note of how they were doing."

Dubbed the man with the 100-mile-an-hour shot, Lorimer made his debut for City in a 2-0 home defeat to Peterborough on September 8, 1979.

It was not the ideal start - but it did not take long for him to register his first goal and his first three points with the club, netting the following Saturday in a 5-2 win at Wigan Athletic.

The week after that, he struck his first Bootham Crescent goal in a 2-2 draw with Stockport County.

In all, Lorimer made 32 appearances for York in league and cup. He scored nine goals, one of which came in the FA Cup in a 5-2 defeat of Mossley at Bootham Crescent.

He was sent off in his final appearance for York - his "only regret" from his time with the Minstermen, he said - in a March 1980 loss to Tranmere Rovers.

Nevertheless, what endures among the City faithful are his spectacular goals and skills on the ball, which made him a firm fan-favourite. He has been widely hailed as a class act on and off the pitch.

After York, he went back to Canada where he became a player-coach at Vancouver Whitecaps and retired just before his 40th birthday - but not before he had returned to Leeds to break their goalscoring record.

Lorimer maintained his involvement with football following his retirement, acting as a summariser for Leeds games, an ever-willing spokesman to the media and lacing up his boots to star for sides made up of former Leeds players in charity matches.

He also ran the Commercial Inn pub in Leeds where he would entertain punters with football chat.

Lorimer was taken into hospice care last month and sadly passed away on Saturday aged 74 following a long illness.
A round-up of news from York City's rival Vanarama National League (North) clubs.

Chester FC unable to claim penny of Government £11m fund

By Mark Dowling

CHESTER FC will not be eligible to claim a penny of a fighting fund designed to help sports clubs struggling through the Covid pandemic.

The club announced on Thursday morning (March 25) it was unsuccessful in its application to claim funds in the Government's £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package, for which £11 million had been allocated to National League, National League North and National League South clubs.

In a cruelly ironic twist, it appears the Blues' financial prudence and determined drive to stay afloat throughout the season thanks to generous supporters donating thousands of pounds actually hindered the club's appeal for funding.

A Chester FC statement said: "We have been informed our application for funding has been unsuccessful following assessment against the SWSP programme criteria and objectives.

"Sport England has provided a detailed explanation of its reasoning and, while disappointed, we accept the decision of the assessment board and thank them for their consideration.

"We are pleased the assessment board acknowledged we have experienced a significant fall in revenues due to the impact of Covid and noted our prudent financial management.

"Chester FC operates as a financially sustainable football club without debt and maintains a special reserve so therefore we were not considered to be at risk of no longer trading viably by the end of this financial year.

"This position has been achieved through the exceptional support of our owners and supporters, substantial short-term reductions in expenditure and the curtailment of the 2020/21 season.

"The volatile operating environment and lasting impact of Covid will require the Board to prepare for further financial pressures, however the collective efforts of the past 12 months provide us with cautious optimism our club can overcome these challenges and continue progressing on and off the pitch."

It remains to be seen how much of the fund will be divided between other National League clubs.

Chester FC isn't the only large organisation in the city which has been unable to access emergency Government funding.

Chester Zoo has been unable to claim a penny of a £100 million fund designed to help zoos facing permanent closure, as the Chester Zoo charity was deemed ineligible because it was not on the verge of bankruptcy.

The £100 million Zoo Animals Fund is due to close in June, having been given a three-month extension, but only £3 million has been donated to struggling animal attractions due to its overly strict criteria.

Previously, Chester FC was able to obtain a share of £10 million National Lottery funding designed to help clubs through to the end of 2020, following a deal brokered by the Government, but the way the fund was divided between clubs sparked controversy and the Blues said the fund of £36k per month was "significantly lower than anticipated" and not enough to cover matchday revenue from playing matches behind closed doors.

A separate controversy, badly handled by the National League, saw National League North/South clubs believe they were to receive grant funding from the Government in early 2021, until the National League – which appeared to have previously told the clubs they were grants – clarified the funds would only be available as low-interest loans.

As a result – and with many clubs keen not to go heavily into debt – a majority of clubs in the National League North and South divisions voted to end the season prematurely in February, with the season effectively wiped out and no clubs being promoted or relegated.
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About TOOAB

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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