Issue 048. February 16, 2021.
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York City 1
AFC Fylde 3

No fairytale start for York City at the Community Stadium as Fylde win 3-1

By Joe Richardson  

THERE was no fairytale opening for York City's residency at the LNER Community Stadium as AFC Fylde came away with a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.

Also hunting promotion from National League North, Fylde started the contest the more impressive side. The game seemed to be heading into the break goalless until Alex Whitmore struck in injury time.

City's troubles were compounded just before the hour when Nick Haughton curled a free kick off the crossbar, onto Pete Jameson's back and in.

A raft of substitutions injected the Minstermen with some much-needed vigour and Jack Redshaw won a penalty which captain Sean Newton converted but Haughton curled in a superb second free kick to finish the game off.

Though Fylde started impressively sharply, they did not keep up their early performance. However, City - who, granted, have not played for more than a month - did not show enough fight and sharpness.

Steve Watson elected to start both loanee attackers Jason Gilchrist and Gabby McGill, with Jake Cassidy retiring to the bench with Olly Dyson and Jack Redshaw.

Right-back Michael Duckworth returned to the starting line-up with Harry Bunn coming back in after missing the Kidderminster Harriers game over a month ago. Paddy McLaughlin started after being a used substitute in January.

Akil Wright missed out through injury, as did Josh King.

Jim Bentley has returned to take a Fylde match for the first time after undergoing heart surgery 11 weeks ago.

Former Leamington midfielder Sam Osborne started in the centre of the park, making his second appearance since signing from the Brakes in January.

Former City loanee Kurt Willoughby started the game on the bench alongside Junior Mondal, who impressed at Whitby Town before moving to League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers.

Fylde impressed on the ball and dominated the early exchanges, scything through the City lines with sharp, limited-touch passing. Much of their play was focused down the left with pacey top scorer Ben Tollitt linking up well with Luke Conlan and Jack Sampson.

The visitors had the ball in the net from a smart short-corner routine from the left. David Perkins got away a shot from the edge of the area but the deflection it took on its way into Pete Jameson’s net came from an offside white shirt.

City had isolated forays forward, with their best chance of the opening quarter coming from a Sean Newton free kick, which curled onto the roof of the net.

The hosts were not shy about getting away efforts on goal and racked up a handful of early corners without really troubling Chris Neal’s goal.

By contrast, Fylde’s composure around the area was ominous, and had Perkins pulled the trigger after Tollitt did well to lay off a volley, he might have given Jameson more to think about than watching a misplaced pass trickle away from danger.

As the half progressed, City had pushed Fylde further back though the visitors still dominated the possession. That which York had, they did not use to full effect and too many passes went astray from all corners of the pitch.

A mix-up at the back between onrushing keeper Neal and his defender gave McGill an effort on an open goal but he curled off-target from a tight angle. He was set away by McLaughlin a minute later and had a deflected effort saved.

Tollitt got away a clean strike that dipped and caused Jameson to fumble into the path of an offside oncoming striker.

Whitmore made the breakthrough for Fylde in first-half injury time. A low cross skimmed over every head in the York box and Whitmore drifted in at the back to drill into the roof of Jameson’s net.

Harry Bunn picked up the first caution of the game for what looked a rash challenge on Nick Haughton, who dusted himself down to take the free kick. The 25-yard strike hit the crossbar and bounced off the back of Jameson into the net.

Just six minutes on, two York substitutes combined to provide a vitally swift response. A lone Jake Cassidy did well to hold the ball up and lay off Jack Redshaw arriving in support. The nippy attacker drove into the box and went down under a Fylde challenge. Newton thumped home the spot kick.

Osborne almost immediately restored Fylde’s two-goal advantage, cutting into the York area and whipping an effort, which was very well punched clear by a diving Jameson’s left hand.

The goal and substitutions seemed to bring York to life and they pushed forward with more verve. Redshaw and Dyson were among the brightest performers while there was more of a spark about Woods.

But Haughton delivered a killer blow with 10 minutes to go, curling in a right-footed free kick from range into Jameson’s top-right corner. Tollitt could have finished the job very soon after when he got on the end of a ball to the back post but put it wide.

York: Jameson 5, Duckworth 5, Tinkler 4 (Dyson 5, 60), Brown 5, Newton 6, Barrow 6, Woods 6, McLaughlin 5, Bunn 6, McGill 6 (Redshaw 6, 60), Gilchrist 5 (Cassidy 5, 54). Subs not used: Whitley, Kennedy.

Star man: Jack Redshaw. Only had half an hour but looked the most likely to positively impact the game.

Match details

York City: Jameson, Duckworth, Tinkler (Dyson, 60'), Brown, Newton, Barrow, Woods, McLaughlin, Bunn, McGill (Redshaw, 60'), Gilchrist (Cassidy, 54'). Subs not used: Whitley, Kennedy.

Goal: Newton (64', pen)

Yellow cards: Bunn, Newton

AFC Fylde: Neal, Burke, Conlan, Pond, Whitmore, Tollitt, Philliskirk, Haughton (Hulme 86'), Sampson, Perkins (Nolan 75'), Osborne (Mondal 76'). Subs not used: Willoughby, Obi.

Goals: Whitmore (45+2), Jameson OG (58), Haughton (80)

Yellow card: Pond

Tuesday results

Blyth Spartans P-P Alfreton Town
Curzon Ashton P-P Southport
Darlington v Boston United (match abandoned)
Guiseley P-P Kidderminster Harriers
Hereford 2-0 Brackley Town
Kettering Town P-P Gateshead (frozen pitch)
York City 1-3 AFC Fylde

League table

York City's latest result leaves the club in 8th position on the 22-team Vanarama National League (North) table. Clubs in positions 2-7 at the end of the regular season will qualify for the promotion play-offs while the first-placed club is automatically promoted. The bottom three clubs are automatically relegated. An updated table is available here.

Submit your views for publication by emailing the editor here.
Dave Wake (Durham)

A shame that the new ground had such an inauspicious start.

We never really got going and the pre-lockdown lack of energy has clearly not been left behind.

Bright new surroundings but never a bright display.

Nevertheless, it was good to anticipate a game of football at long last. Pity the anticipation gave way to disappointment.

Too early to make an assessment of the two loan strikers as we never managed to get any delivery into the box or pressure on the away keeper.

If fit, I would be starting games with Redshaw, Bunn and Dyson so it was a surprise that only one made the 7pm line up. 

The newbies were on a starvation diet, so not easy to understand the basis of the starting selection. 

Certainly, they didn't have the opportunity to justify their recruitment. Hopefully, that will come.

We now have a sequence including games against clubs that want to play on - will the democratic process allow continuation?

Following previous comments, I thought it was a good choice to use Shed Seven for the walk on the tannoy.

Unfortunately on the field of play,  "Getting Better" didn't prove to be prophetic.

York City chairman Jason McGill "thrilled" ahead of first match at Community Stadium

By Joe Richardson

THERE will be a mix of emotions for York City chairman Jason McGill tonight as the Minstermen step out onto the LNER Community Stadium pitch for the very first time.

McGill has led City’s relocation from Bootham Crescent since he became involved with the club, negotiating the grant with the Football Stadia Improvement Fund to help fund construction of the new stadium.

It is a long-awaited milestone for both club and supporters, 627 of whom watched the final match at the club’s home of almost 90 years on December 28 against Yorkshire rivals Guiseley.

The new stadium will solidify the long-term future of the football club, with additional commercial revenue streams and a state-of the-art facility to help the team progress on and off the field, the club say.

Manager Steve Watson this evening will lead the Minstermen onto the pitch in a clash with fellow promotion-chasers AFC Fylde at the 8,500-capacity stadium - but without fans in attendance.

McGill said: “I’m thrilled that tonight we will play our first match at the LNER Community Stadium. We acknowledge this huge milestone with a mixture of excitement, pride and relief but also with disappointment that our amazing supporters can’t share this important moment in person.

“This new stadium will be a home for the club and our supporters for years to come, providing fantastic matchday experiences and also giving us the opportunity to build the club in many ways. We look forward to welcoming them and the wider people of York and North Yorkshire when we are able.

“Thank you again to all the companies and organisations and stakeholders who have been involved in delivering this amazing stadium for York.”

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities at City of York Council said: "The inaugural game for the LNER Community Stadium is a significant milestone not just for professional sport in York, but for the whole city.

“There is no doubt that it will be an incredible home for both York City Football Club and York City Knights, and an important destination for every York resident in the years to come.

“With a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, swimming pools, library and NHS Services, the stadium complex is an asset that the local community and wider city should be very proud of.”

York City v AFC Fylde will be streamed live on the club’s YouTube channel on a pay-what-you-can basis via the virtual turnstile on the club shop. Coverage starts from 6:30pm.

Steve Watson: 'I'd rather have games coming thick and fast than the league be stopped'

By Joe Richardson

YORK City boss Steve Watson has insisted he would rather face a fixture backlog than no fixtures at all.

Due to a stop-start National League North campaign, last night’s fixture against Fylde at the LNER Community Stadium was only the Minstermen’s 13th of the season.

There are still 29 matches to fit in before the end of the season. In September, the National League term was extended to May 29 - but if that remains the target end date, City will find themselves playing three games a week to squeeze all their games in.

The Minstermen have played just two games since the turn of the year, with a division-wide suspension to league fixtures, the weather and individual teams’ stances putting paid to games. The weekend just gone, Farsley Celtic refused to travel to face York.

“My job is to keep the players focused on the next game but myself and Micky look at the bigger picture,” Watson, pictured (Gordon Clayton) said. “I think Saturday was our last chance to play only two games in a week if the season finishes.

“But I’d certainly rather have games coming thick and fast than have the league be stopped.

“However it comes, we’ll be ready for it as well as we can be.”

York City boss Steve Watson hoping 'tomorrow will be the first of many great days'

By Joe Richardson

YORK City boss Steve Watson is hoping "tomorrow will be the first of many great days" as his side prepare for the first fixture at their new home.

Following their move from Bootham Crescent, the Minstermen are set to welcome AFC Fylde to the LNER Community Stadium (7pm) for what the club and fans want to be an auspicious debut performance.

The fixture is down as a home game - but with York's home now being in unfamiliar environs, City will be only as familiar with the ground as visitors Fylde.

Asked if it feels like a home game, Watson said: "I suppose it's difficult to tell until we're actually in there.

"It's a completely unique experience. We're going into a new stadium that should, for all intents and purposes, be to a home advantage but none of us have been there, none of us have been on the pitch, we've not had a training session on there.

"I read something earlier in the week, somebody posting online that we've not put any videos of us training there online - there's a reason!

"It's completely unique but a lot of this season's been a first time for a lot of things. We've just got to take it in our stride.

"It's going to be our new home so tomorrow will be the first of many great days there, hopefully."

It is a move that has been years in the making. The false dawns and delays of the past few months have been a microcosm of City's house-hunting frustrations.

The complex opened to the public in December and York were given an opening fixture date of January 19 against Gateshead.

This was postponed because of positive Covid cases at City so the first game was pushed back to January 30 against Curzon Ashton, which landed in a two-week period of suspension to Step 2 league activity imposed the week before.

The first home game after that period was to be against Farsley Celtic - who flatly refused to play, thus granting the honour of the first match at the Community Stadium to Fylde.

For Watson and many of the players, the promise of a new playing facility was a real draw when coming to the club.

"The stadium just became part of the overall package of a fantastic opportunity," Watson explained. "Certainly the stadium, the size of the club, the city itself and the fanbase, it was all a great project for a youngish manager to take on.

"For a lot of these players who came in the summer, the stadium was a big draw to them as well. They're all massively looking forward to it.

"There are two or three York lads in there as well - Woodsy (Michael Woods), Ducky (Michael Duckworth), Rob Guilfoyle and a couple of the goalies, they know the history of York and they've been waiting on this as long as the fans have. They're fans themselves so they'll be dying to get going in the new stadium."

Only Josh King and Akil Wright are likely to be missing tomorrow. Wright trained on Monday for the first time in three weeks.

York City extend Jason Gilchrist loan from South Shields

By Joe Richardson

YORK City have extended the loan of Jason Gilchrist from South Shields for another month.

The 26-year-old striker arrived at the Minstermen on January 18 along with Gabby McGill but neither has turned out for City yet due to various disruptions to the National League North season.

Gilchrist is available for selection tonight.

McGill, formerly of York's academy, remains on loan until the end of the season.

History in the making as York City finally step out at new LNER Community Stadium home

By Stuart Rayner

York City have been waiting what feels like an eternity but after delay upon delay, it is finally about to happen – they are going to play a football match!

More than that, their first game since January 6 will be the even longer-awaited first at the LNER Community Stadium.

Fylde’s visit should, under normal circumstances, be an important Conference North game but in all probability will not be. The occasion is likely to be of greater importance than the match, and even that will be diminished by the absence of fans who have waited nearly two decades for this moment – some in anticipation, others dread.

After so many false starts, finally being able to say York City Football Club genuinely has a new home will be important.

“It was a big factor in me coming (in January 2019),” admits manager Steve Watson.
“A lot of the players we spoke to in the summer, the stadium was a big draw for them as well.”

York first agreed to sell Bootham Crescent, their home since 1932, for housing in 2002 as an established Football League club. The intervening years have been hard, dropping into English football’s sixth tier. In 2012 outlying planning permission was granted, but only now is the Monks Cross stadium opening.

The first fixture has been pushed back from mid-October 2020 (drainage issues) to January 12 (a dispute over the lease and matchday arrangements) to the 19th (Covid-19 outbreak) to January 30 (two-week Conference North suspension to resolve funding issues) to Saturday (Farsley declined to raise a team because those issues had not been resolved) to tonight.

“We were on the training ground on Sunday unable to do anything but there was probably a 13-degree shift on Monday so the weather shouldn’t be a problem and we’ve got two teams that want to play so fingers crossed nothing can stand in our way,” says Watson, who hopes to have everyone bar Josh King and Akil Wright available.

York’s players have not even been inside the ground yet.

“We’ve seen as much of the pitch as Fylde will have but that’s just this season summed up,” says Watson. “It’s a pitch that should suit two good footballing sides, so hopefully it’s a good spectacle and we come off the back of it with three points.”

Whether those three points amount to anything in the grand scheme of things is questionable.

York are eighth in Conference North, Fylde third, but in a points-per-game table they would be second and third respectively, pushing for automatic promotion. In reality, it is unlikely to be on offer.

The 66 National League clubs are pondering whether to continue the season with no crowds and only loans to fill the financial void. Conference North clubs Bradford (Park Avenue), Farsley Celtic and Guiseley want the campaign voided but even if York and Fylde win the argument, time is running out.

York’s 30 remaining games is more than twice the number of weeks left in the season.

“The headspace is purely to do everything we can to take three points and whatever comes after it will come,” insists Watson. “We want to continue and whatever shape that comes in we will be ready for, whether it’s continuing as is or dropping a number of teams and playing a mini-league.”

As for what the new ground means for the club financially, chairman Jason McGill has reiterated his claim that without crowds of 4,000 to 4,500 they will continue to need a benefactor.

York last had average crowds of over 4,000 in 2002-03, when they were 10th in the fourth tier. It was the 11th season this had happened since 1966. Last season’s average was 2,705.

“To have a successful football club that doesn’t rely on external support, that’s what you would need,” insisted McGill. “Previous chairmen have said the same.

“It does depend on negotiations with managers over playing budgets.

“The (other) options are going part-time, cutting a lot of staff and our foundation, which we don’t want to do because it’s been extremely successful and we’re very proud of what it does.

“Very few football clubs break even without external support. Over the last 18 years the parent company, JM Packaging (owned by McGill), has financially supported the club through thick and thin. The new stadium will help to plug that gap a little bit because a lot of the costs have been moved onto other areas.”

Whatever the pitfalls, the problems ahead, the sadness at leaving Bootham Crescent and the weirdness tonight, a move needed to happen and in a matter of hours we should finally be able to say it has.

Please check the club's official website before planning 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)
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
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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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