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Issue 083. March 27, 2021.
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The daily email newsletter serving York City fans since 1997

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Dave Lilley (York)

So City have a debt of £10.4m and in the year to June 2020, JMP lent the club £650,000 at an interest rate of 11%.

In the current era of minimal interest rates, 11% is astonishing. Where is the governance in the granting of such a loan? Where is the internal policing of such a transaction? 

Presumably, this is why the Supporters’ Trust have been kept away from YCFC’s accounts for so long - to avoid scrutiny and reasonable questioning. Despite, as we all know, legal agreements to allow the Trust such access.

There has been a smell emanating from the York City boardroom for years now and it isn’t a pleasant one. Now, where did I put my copy of Animal Farm ...?
Michael Stockdle (Hartlebury, Worcestershire)

I’m shocked at the annual report on finances for the club released today. I would urge the club to plan how we can significantly reduce these annual losses over the coming years, relying less on JMP. Surely 4000+ crowds to break even are unrealistic? 

I don’t know how player contracts play out at the club whether they be annual salary or bonus related. 

Even with fab support and fundraising the gap currently is huge. 
Ian Tyssen (50/50 Cash Draw Promoter)

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National League clubs consider vote of no confidence against league board

By Simon Stone

A number of National League clubs are considering whether to bring a vote of no confidence against the league's board in the wake of the latest controversy to hit the competition this season.

On Friday, Dover Athletic were fined £40,000 and deducted 12 points for 2021-22 after choosing to end their campaign early before any wider decisions about this season had been taken.

In the end, a majority of clubs voted to continue playing.

Several clubs in National League North and National League South have also been fined for their refusal to play games last month, with suspended points deductions for next season imposed.

Critics argue imposing financial penalties on clubs for deciding against playing matches behind closed doors because they lacked the money to do so makes no sense.

However, BBC Sport is also aware of other clubs who followed league guidance and fulfilled their fixtures and who feel a financial penalty is fair because otherwise they would suffer financially, relative to the clubs who stopped, for continuing to play matches.

The row is the latest to beset the National League during a troubled season, in which chief executive Mark Ives has struggled to navigate the league through a variety of complicated problems after replacing Mike Tattersall, who left his job in December.

Huge disquiet also remains over the distribution model for the initial £10m received from the National Lottery to start the current season last October.

In addition, the 66 clubs feel they were given incorrect information on future funding in the first place and maintain that had there been any indication loans would have to be taken out from January onwards, the campaign might not have started at all.

National League integrity at risk with no relegation - Torquay United boss Gary Johnson

Torquay United boss Gary Johnson is worried about the integrity of the National League if no teams are relegated at the end of the season.

National League North and South were declared null and void last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic with no sides set to move between the two tiers.

National League Dover have already stopped playing for financial reasons.

"It's ridiculous that there's no relegation because that does spoil the integrity of the league," Johnson said.

Clubs began the season thanks to grants from the UK Government as sides have had to play almost all their games behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

But after Christmas clubs were told new funding would be in the way of loans, which some clubs refused to take out.

Promotion to and from the English Football League is still set to go ahead, with Johnson's side in the running to move up into League Two.

They led the league for much of the season, but a recent poor run of results has seen the Gulls slip to third place.

"If teams know they're not going to go down they can play differently, it doesn't matter whether they win, lose or draw. That might not affect them, but it might affect other teams in the league," Johnson told BBC Radio Devon.

"It just makes it a little bit of a mockery, especially when one team is not actually playing against anybody. Dover are just refusing to play, so it doesn't do the National League as a whole any favours when it comes to the Football League (EFL).

"You don't want the Football League feeling in any way that the National League is not fully professional if you like, not only in their play, but in their attitude."

Dover Athletic will not pay £40,000 National League fine, says chairman Jim Parmenter

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter says the Whites will not pay the £40,000 fine imposed by the National League after the club stopped playing matches.

The club has also been docked 12 points for next season after putting almost all staff on furlough because of costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dover refused to take on loans to cover the costs of playing, having started the season with government grant money.

"They know we've got no money," Parmenter told BBC Radio Kent.

"They know we've done this to prevent us becoming insolvent, and yet they've fined us £40,000 which in itself will push us into insolvency if they enact it.

"It was the National League that insisted or pushed the clubs to start the season with those grants on the basis that further grants would be forthcoming."

Some clubs are considering a vote of no confidence in the National League board after a number of sides in the National League's North and South divisions were fined for refusing to play matches - both leagues have since been declared null and void.

"Our club and other clubs started the season at the behest of the National League," said Parmenter.

"The National League then failed to deliver on their promise of further grants so the National League have got nobody else to blame but themselves.

"Football has got a problem with its governance, particularly below the Football League," he added.

"This will bring it to a head and there will be legal action on this because it's time somebody stood up and said 'this is not right'."

York City begin securing players for 2021/22 with six already on the books

By Joe Richardson  

YORK City have secured the services of six players for next season.

Scott Barrow, Olly Dyson, Pete Jameson, Sean Newton and Akil Wright have all extended their contracts with the Minstermen for the 2021/22 season.

Central defender Matty Brown signed a two-year deal on joining City last season and is already contracted for the next campaign.

Discussions are still ongoing with other players and a full retained list will be released in the summer.

Manager Steve Watson commented: “It’s important we start with a base.

“We’ve been planning for next season for a fair amount of time now but to actually get pen to paper with a good core to a squad was really important.

“Pete, the season before this one, was voted in the division's team of the year, Newts has been outstanding from day one, Matty Brown will be as solid as a rock on a regular basis, Scotty Barrow - having worked with him before - I know that he has a great consistency in both attack and defence and will be vital.

"With Olly and Akil you are looking at two very good players of a really good age. With a bit of guidance and work, they could turn into outstanding players.

“The good thing is that they all really wanted to sign – we have a lot of players who want to be part of where we want to go next season.

"But while we have made a good start with these six, we need to sit down and see where we are budget-wise and understand that after the last year, we may have to cut our cloth accordingly.

“I’m convinced we can put a side together to challenge again and the goal remains the same, which is to get out of this league.

“There will hopefully be more extensions to come, but when it comes to players from other teams that may take a little longer as they are all still contracted until the end of May or middle of June.

“Me and Micky have a clear idea of what we need regarding players to achieve our collective goals next season, but as we speak we are really happy with the start we have made.”

Six players sign on for next season

By Dan Simmonite

We can confirm that six players have committed early for the 2021/22 season.

Scott Barrow, Olly Dyson, Pete Jameson, Sean Newton and Akil Wright have all extended their contracts under Steve Watson.

Matty Brown who signed a two-year deal upon joining City last season is already contracted for the next campaign.

Discussions are still ongoing with other players and a full retained list will be released in the summer.

Manager Steve Watson was delighted with the initial signings: “It’s important we start with a base,” he said. “We’ve been planning for next season for a fair amount of time now but to actually get pen to paper with a good core to a squad was really important.

“Pete the season before this one was voted in the League team of the year, Newts has been outstanding from day one, Matty Brown will be solid as a rock on a regular basis, Scotty Barrow having worked with him before I know that he has a great consistency in both attack and defence and will be vital. With Ollie and Akil you are looking at two very good players of a really good age and with a bit of guidance and work they could turn into outstanding players.

“The good thing is that they all really wanted to sign – we have a lot of players who want to be part of where we want to go next season. But whilst we have made a good start with these six, we need to sit down and see where we are budget wise and understand that after the last year, we may have to cut our cloth accordingly.

“I’m convinced we can put a side together to challenge again and the goal remains the same which is to get out of this league.

“There will hopefully be more extensions to come, but when it comes to players from other teams that may take a little longer as they are all still contracted until the end of May or middle of June.

“Me and Micky have a clear idea of what we need regarding players to achieve our collective goals next season, but as we speak we are really happy with the start we have made.”
A round-up of news from York City's rival Vanarama National League (North) clubs.

AFC Fylde chief hasn't given up on their promotion hope

By Andy Moore

AFC Fylde owner David Haythornthwaite believes promotion to the National League is still possible despite their hopes of completing the season on the field being dashed.

Clubs voted to terminate the season for National League North and South last month due to ongoing problems arising from the pandemic.

Proposals for a combined league drawn up by clubs who wished to play on, including Fylde, were rejected by the FA two weeks ago.

That may not be the end of Fylde’s hopes of bouncing back to non-league football’s top tier at the first attempt.

Haythornthwaite told The Gazette: “The National League is a club down and would be two down if the FA expel Dover.

“It may be that the FA decide to even things up and get the National League back up to 24 clubs for next season, and so promote a club from National League North and National League South. That may happen.”

Fylde were second in National League North when the season was curtailed but would be top if last season’s points-per-game system was again applied, having played fewer matches than leaders Gloucester City.

The National League has operated all season with 23 clubs following the expulsion of Macclesfield Town.

The Dover Athletic situation has yet to be resolved. The south coast club have refused to play since January, with chairman Jim Parmenter citing financial problems since government grant aid ran out and placing all the club’s players and staff on furlough.

Haythornthwaite added: “I think Dover will be expelled because they are not fulfilling their fixtures and observing the rules, and I think the FA should come down hard on them.”

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler is fearful of relegation and said last week: “It’s been confirmed there’s no relegation from our league but my worry is we still could be relegated because obviously there has got to be a decision made on ourselves in terms of our decision to stop playing and us being the only team who’s not (playing).

“That will be decided by the powers that be. The chairman will have his people in place to deal with whatever comes our way and I’m sure he would appeal it.

“He has made that decision to stop for one reason and one reason only – to save the club and make sure we have football next season.”

The Fylde players are currently taking a break as manager Jim Bentley finalises plans for a longer than anticipated close season.

Should the Coasters again be in NL North, their 2021/22 campaign will begin on August 14.
Alfreton Town

Striker Danny Clarke (35) has left Alfreton by mutual consent after two years at the Impact Arena. He's likely to play local football but he and manager Billy Heath have left open the option of Clarke returning to Town for one more season.

Boston United

Boston United goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons (26) has moved to Stockport County on a short-term contract. County paid a 'small undisclosed fee' to secure the 'keeper from the Pilgrims after their season ended prematurely.  Meanwhile, contractors have taken down all floodlight towers at Boston's new stadium as an investigation continues into how one became bent after sustaining wind damage.

Chorley

Chorley CEO Terry Robinson has assured supporters the club wanted to play on to complete the current season. In an update to fans, he said: “It was our desire to carry on playing football – in the main so we could continue with the rebuilding and development of our young squad. Our plan will now suffer given the long lay-off from competitive football.”

Hereford

Hereford have reached the final of the FA Trophy, earning a Wembley final against Isthmian Premier Division side Hornchurch. Hereford beat Woking 1-0 in their semi-final while Hornchurch despatch Notts County on penalties. Meanwhile, parent club Scunthorpe United have recalled loan defender Lewis Butroid from Hereford. 
York City's squad - updated comings and goings for the current season.
The following information will be updated as new information comes to hand:

Players contracted for the 2021-22 season


Retained from 2020-21 season and contracted for new season: Pete Jameson, Scott Barrow, Olly Dyson, Akil Wright, Matty Brown.

Under contract last season but future yet to be decided:  Ryan Whitley, Paddy McLaughlin, Reiss Harrison, Charlie Jebson-King,  Harry Spratt, Josh King, Archie Whitfield, Robbie Tinkler, Jack Redshaw, Kieran Kennedy, Michael Duckworth, Harry Bunn, Jake Cassidy, Rob Guilfoyle, Michael Wood, Reon Potts, Owen Gamble, Alex Wollerton, Harry Flatters.
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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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