Issue 047. February 15, 2021.
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Ray Taylor (Warrington)

More excellent postings and great reads. 

We do have an amazing fan base despite the desperate last few seasons. 

Australia, Cyprus, The London and South Club, The Midlands, Glasgow, Cornwall, Kent, Harrow, Hornsea, Manchester, Burnley to name just a few of our fan locations. Not forgetting Josh in New Zealand!

Apologies for those missed. 

Perhaps as a final farewell to Bootham Crescent, the club should strike a Long Service and Good Attendance Medal, with a Bar added for those fans who have to travel 20 miles or more to attend. 

Not going to happen but just a nice thought. 

Is the match going ahead tomorrow evening and will it be streamed? 

League in a bit of a mess with some wishing to play and others not. 

Really looking forward to the day I and everyone else can attend. 

Suffering withdrawal symptoms!

Gloucester City co-chairman Alex Petheram admits the club might have played their last home game of the season

By Mark Halliwell

Gloucester City co-chairman Alex Petheram fears that Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chorley could have been the club’s last home game of the season, admitting he is “not overly positive” that the National League North season will continue.

Clubs are voting on proposals put forward by the National League, deciding whether to continue the campaign or to declare it null and void.

City and Saturday’s opponents Chorley are among those who want to play on, with the game at New Meadow Park the only one in the league to go ahead last weekend.

Paul Groves’ side are due to go to Kettering on Saturday, followed by a home game with Gateshead, but neither of those clubs want to play on.

“I generally feel that the league will get pulled. It’s not looking overly positive,” said Petheram. “Hereford have  said they have voted for null and void so that’s another nail in the coffin

“I don’t think Gateshead will travel. They wouldn’t travel this weekend to Fylde so on the basis of that I can’t see them travelling six and a half hours to play us.

“It feels like it could have been our last home game of the season. If you watch how both teams played in the last 10 minutes I would have expected us to go for it a bit more if that had been an out and out competitive game.

“If you look at the changes we made - Matt McClure and Bernard Mensah came on for the last 10 minutes as well but you might have expected them to come on earlier if we were really going to have a go.

“When you look at it like that you wonder if everyone is coming to the conclusion that we need to protect what we’ve got, look after what we’ve got and start to build for next season.

“For me it’s about trying to find a conclusion about where we are now, looking into what protection and what rules there are around elite sport and continuing because we need to find a way that we somehow conclude the season.”

Petheram has been very vocal about his wish to play on and conclude the season on the field, with City holding a seven-point lead at the top of National League North.

Ex-Yeovil Town and Halifax Town striker Gold Omotayo scores on debut as keeper Rhys Lovett shines - verdict on Gloucester City's draw with Chorley

“I’m not saying Gloucester are going to win the league or get promoted but I want to try,” he said.

“We need to look now at that we can do, whether we push harder to try to fulfil the season somehow or even take some legal advice.

“We don’t want to be in this position, we feel we have been heavily let down by the league and by those around it.

“We are top of the table, doing well and coming out with a point against a good side going for the play-offs makes us even more determined to keep fighting and keep going.

“We want to play football. Eamonn (McGurk, Petheram’s fellow co-chairman) and I have been very vocal about that - we want to play on.

“We want to do everything in our power to play football, and if there is a legal challenge we need to look at then we will look at that if we feel we can get a result off the back of it.

“A lot of clubs in the league below have tried legal challenges against their leagues but they have not done that in an elite sport environment, so if we have to look at that as an option then we will do.”

Clubs have been having meetings with Sport England over grant aid and are expected to find out next week if they have been successful.

“We have spent the past week at least to-ing and fro-ing with Sport England, who have been brilliant,” said Petheram. “Everything they have done has been really classy. Clubs will find out, I believe, next week if they have been successful and funding will hopefully come out for the middle of March.

“Regardless of that we have to fund February’s wages and costs ourselves, but we had to fund and pay January’s costs ourselves as well.”

The 66 National League clubs were given 28 days - until February 28 - to decide their stance on the future of the leagues, but the decision could be made sooner than that.

“The 28-day thing is one of the rules of the league, but it is up to 28 days or when the vote is mathematically impossible,” said Petheram.

“I haven’t done the maths but I Hereford might be the one that takes it over the threshold but it needs to be mathematically impossible before the league can call it earlier than 28 days. We must be very nearly there.

“One of the National League clubs made a statement or sent an email round some of the chairmen asking them not to vote or to delay their vote.

“That to me is farcical, and the opposite of what everyone wants. Everyone is trying to get the same thing, we just have a different opinion of how to get there

“We all want closure of some sort and a conclusion and to delay everything is the worst thing to do.”

Some clubs have already made big decisions - Maidstone United, of National League South, have said they will furlough all contracted players and, if the league continues, say they will use non-contract and loan players to fulfil games, while Kent neighbours and National League side Dover Athletic confirmed that all management, players, and staff have been furloughed “to safeguard the club’s long-term future” and they say they will not play any more games “until appropriate funding is made available.”

Petheram last week issued a statement suggesting a promotion ‘mini-league’ for those clubs who want to play on, and offered to host the finals free of charge, at New Meadow Park.

“There appears to be a lot of traction from the clubs who want to play football but not a lot of traction from the clubs that don’t want to play,” he said.

“You get the impression that they don’t want to play, period, and that’s frustrating.

“I understand that some clubs are owned by trusts or by foundations or are fan-owned clubs and they are in a different position to a lot of us, however we signed up to complete the season.

“The counter-argument to that is that the clubs say they were led to believe that was funding and support for the season and that hasn’t transpired - but the league’s defence is that they have honoured that agreement as they have got Sport England involved to maintain their half of the deal.

“Everyone is now looking to blame the league and criticise the league - as I have done as well - however the league have put forward a funding provider with Sport England who are prepared to issue grants for clubs which need grants and for those clubs who are in a position that they have to take grants.

“If you run a credit check on some of the clubs who have come out and voted to null and void the season, they have got six-figure bank accounts so for those guys to claim poverty or to claim grant relief is not what the grants are there for.

“They are meant to support the most vulnerable and the most at need and sadly that isn’t all the clubs and they need to look after themselves or stand on their own two feet and do what we are all meant to do as owners and chairmen of football clubs - which is try to put out a competitive team week in week out under the elite sport banner.

“Look at the League Two clubs. They haven’t had grants handed out and we need to be grateful for what we have got.

“That is where we are all striving to be as everyone in our league wants to get promoted I presume, we certainly do.

“If we need to look at other revenues and other funding streams with Sport England then that’s what we need to do.

“We are a bit different at Gloucester as we don’t have any debt bar that to Eamonn and myself.

“The only debt we have as a club is to Eamonn and I for building the ground so ours is a bit different - we didn’t take any bounceback loans.

“After all this I think the league have to look at their own internal procedures.

“The headline sponsor of the league is Vanarama and if you were them I don’t think you would be overly keen on having your brand and business associated with this debacle.”

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 and AFC Fylde to meet for the first time as Minstermen christen Community Stadium

By Joe Richardson
A RAFT of 'firsts' awaits York City tomorrow evening (7pm) as they take on AFC Fylde at the LNER Community Stadium.

It is, of course, the first game to be played at the new stadium at Monks Cross, and with that will come a series of noteworthy events. City fans will be hoping these comprise a first goal, clean sheet and win.

But Tuesday will also be the first competitive meeting between York and Fylde.

A relatively young side, Fylde only became thus known after winning the FA Vase in 2008, when they were still a North West Counties League division two (Step 6) side. During the years after they were founded in 1988, they were known as Kirkham & Wesham.

Fylde were immediately a team on the up and, following a series of promotions, rose to the National League in 2016/17 as National League North champions after two consecutive unsuccessful years in the play-offs. Their ascension to Step 2 coincided with York's drop into National League North.

Last season's relegation to the North division (on points per game) was the first time the Coasters have dropped a division while playing under the moniker of AFC Fylde.

Fylde have started term strongly and made a decent case for another play-off spot, opening the campaign with four wins on the bounce and accruing 20 points from their opening nine fixtures. They sit third with 27 points from 14 games, eight points and four games behind leaders Gloucester City.

The last month of 2020 has proved the most challenging so far for the Lancashire outfit, who twice threw away a lead in a 3-3 draw with Bradford (Park Avenue) on December 1 before suffering back-to-back defeats at Hereford and Chorley.

They bounced back in the New Year, keeping two clean sheets and scoring six in victories over Chorley and Telford.

With six goals this season, Ben Tollitt is Fylde's top scorer. The 26-year-old midfielder netted a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Chorley.

Former City loanee Kurt Willoughby has found the net once in his 10 appearances this campaign, though half of those have come off the bench.

City to open LNER Community Stadium tomorrow against Fylde

By Dan Simmonite

Steve Watson's men are due to play at the LNER Community Stadium for the first time tomorrow night.

Promotion-chasing AFC Fylde will visit the new stadium in what is set to be a fierce contest to start the new era.

Kick-off is earlier than normal at 7pm.

How to watch

The game will be Livestreamed on a 'pay what you can' basis via YouTube.

Please contribute to the virtual turnstile to allow us to keep the stream on this platform: 

For every £5 contribution you will be entered into a special prize draw with the following prizes up for grabs:

You can still purchase the match programme which will be delivered later this week to your doorstep for just £3.99 with free delivery.

Click here to purchase.

Manager's Comments

Steve Watson spoke to the press this afternoon. Full interview to follow.

Injury News

Josh King and Akil Wright are unlikely to be available after sustaining injuries. However, Owen Gamble and Harry Bunn are back and could feature tomorrow night.


It will be City's first game since the 2-2 draw against Kidderminster at the start of January. The team are currently placed just outside the playoffs but with six games in hand over top club Gloucester City.

York City: DWLDW

Fylde currently sit in third after playing 14 games and picking up 27 points. The Coasters have three losses to their name, two of which coming in their last five games - against Chorley and Hereford.


Head to Head

York City will face AFC Fylde for the very first time in history tomorrow.

Steve Watson speaks ahead of first game at new stadium

By Dan Simmonite

Steve Watson spoke to the media this afternoon ahead of the first game at the LNER Community Stadium.

"The stadium, the size of the club, the city itself and the fanbase - all a great project for a young manager to take on and the stadium was of course a big part of that."

Listen to the press conference via BBC Sounds:
A round up of news from the Vanarama National League North
Tuesday fixtures

Blyth Spartans P-P Alfreton Town
Curzon Ashton P-P Southport
Darlington P-P Boston United
Guiseley P-P Kidderminster Harriers
Hereford v Brackley Town
Kettering Town v Gateshead
York City v AFC Fylde
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 AFC Fylde (h) - 7pm
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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