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Issue 042. February 10, 2021.
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The daily email newsletter serving York City fans since 1997

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Ian Tyssen (Bishopthorpe)

I’m delighted to say that, very soon, we will be able to organise the prize draw for the shirts we sponsored in the name of TOOAB for the 2019/20 season.

I have the majority of the shirts and the others are in the post.

As everyone will probably know, the club had to start this season using last season’s shirts and then, due to Covid issues, it was a challenge to obtain signatures from players who had left the club.

However, Chris Pegg, at the football club, has done an excellent job to provide the shirts or suitable alternatives. Thanks, Chris!

So, look out in the next few weeks for details of the prize draw to see who will win the shirts.
Chris Pegg (York City Football Club)

On behalf of the club, we really appreciate the continued support of all TOOAB recipients - especially those who kindly contribute to the Shirt Sponsorships each year which raises an excess of £5k for the club.

Huge thanks go to Ian who organises it all and Josh for managing a great platform for YCFC fans to follow the club (especially from so far away!).

I hope this year's winners enjoy their shirts - thanks again!
Ray Taylor (Warrington)

Great postings (TOOAB Issue 041). 

The honeymoon escapade of Steve Aldous made me laugh. It's all about priorities! 

Both my weddings were foolishly arranged on a Saturday during the soccer season. 

However, I did ensure we arrived at our honeymoon B and Bs in time to watch match of the day. Priorities.   

My current wife ( I call her that to keep her on her toes), accompanied me to a few home and away matches during our courtship, yet still agreed to marry me. 

Often during a match, she would ask why our team could not pass the ball to each other. It was ever thus!  
Terry Espiner (Appleton Roebuck)

All these memories of the Sporting Pink. Folk don’t know how lucky they were.

I would religiously walk down to the Town Hall arriving at 6.25. The van carrying the papers was due at 6.30. There’d always be at least ten chaps ahead of me grumbling about the wait .... and God help the driver if he was delayed for any reason!

A quick 15 minute walk home and then settle down to scour the day's results. The match report was always front page and continued inside. Usually, about 2 pages describing the first half and one paragraph the second!

No matter if the first half had been scoreless but the final score 3-2. Deadlines of the time I guess.

But imagine my disappointment that as a native of the County Town of North Yorkshire that the paper in question was the bloody Sports Gazette and the featured team was the Smog Monsters from Middlesbrough.

Worse still, far too much coverage was afforded to Darlington and Hartlepool. From memory, the rest was Teeside Speedway.

York City received as much coverage as Red Star Belgrade. Zilch! In the results column, and maybe Stop Press if it was a late result.

Didn’t matter cos I never missed the TelePrinter on Grandstand .... Lincoln City 4, York City 5 remains a rather pleasant memory!

Still, I remained steadfast despite never-ending pressure from fans of the Smoggies and Darlo and stayed loyal to City.

God, it was exciting to get hold of the Sports Press whenever I visited relatives in Huntington - or at least went down to BC to see City with my cousin rather than a boring afternoon of chat between my parents and Auntie/Uncle.

As I look back now I realise that it could have been worse. The Darlington based Northern Echo could have published a Saturday ‘Pink’.

Now that could have been truly life-impacting in the most heinous of ways.

Stay safe, stay sane all.
John Uttley (Howden)

In reply to Dave King (TOOAB Issue 041) I will be more than happy to have a pint with you at the LNER or anywhere that suits, and will gladly shake your hand.

Football is about opinions and it should never get personal. 

Life's too short to hold grudges. I will gladly have a pint with any City fan.

Just because opinions differ on here it doesn't mean you can judge that person. 

Dave, I will look forward to that and like everyone else, stay safe.

Poppies face charge for not fulfilling league fixture

By Jon Dunham

Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney has confirmed the club have voted for the National League North season to be declared null and void.

And the Poppies have also revealed that they have been charged by the National League after their scheduled home match with Chester was postponed last weekend, shortly after Kettering had confirmed that they would not play any matches while the situation remains unresolved.

National League and North and South clubs have been voting on a series of resolutions since last week to determine how the current campaign should be decided.

The voting process came about after it was confirmed that clubs would need to take out loans to keep them going for the remainder of this season while fans aren’t allowed into grounds, even though the clubs claim they were of the understanding that grants would be provided throughout the campaign - as they were for the first three months.

While the Poppies had been clear in their stance over not continuing while the voting process takes place, they were yet to confirm which way they voted until now.

It had been assumed that they did vote for the season to be declared null and void for the second year in a row and now it has been confirmed.

Mahoney said: “Yes, we have voted to null and void the season on the basis that the lack of expected funding has not been presented to the club.

“Sadly the resolutions offered were limited and we could only vote for those presented at the time.”

With a number of clubs, particularly in the National League North, stating their intention to not play and incur costs while the voting process takes place, it had been rumoured that sanctions had been placed on some teams who refused to play.

Mahoney confirmed that was the case for the Poppies for the scheduled game against Chester last Saturday, although their midweek clash with Leamington was called off due to a frozen pitch at Latimer Park following a lunchtime inspection.

When asked if there have been any threats of sanctions from the National League, the Poppies chairman added: “Yes, the club received a charge for failure to fulfil the weekend’s fixture and we await further details of when a tribunal will be held so, obviously, I have to be careful what I say.

“To be honest this felt heavy handed given the fact that we have been put in this position, through no fault of our own other than believing and trusting the messages with regards funding that were presented to the club before the season started.

“Obviously, we will defend our position and hope that common sense prevails.

“Sadly we are not the only club in this position and we want to make it clear that we support every club in the league, regardless of how they voted.”

Some clubs are 'hiding behind' concerns over safety to get season scrapped, says Gloucester City co-chairman

By Mark Halliwell

Gloucester City co-chairman Alex Petheram says some clubs in the National Leagues are “hiding behind” safety concerns in a bid to get the season declared null and void.

The 66 clubs in the National League and the North and South divisions have until February 28 to decide their stance on the future of the campaign, but City and Petheram have made no secret of their desire to complete the season as they sit top of National League North.

Speaking to the BBC last weekend, Petheram said: “A lot of clubs have come out and said it’s not about money, it’s about safety.

That’s not true, it’s never been about safety. We are a full-time club and we have done well around our own testing and our own policies

“A lot of the part-time clubs and smaller clubs have come out and said that their moral compass doesn’t sit right as there is no full-time testing programme.

“I think a lot of clubs have used it as a red herring as they know they wouldn’t get sanctioned or fined by the league.

“You can’t just refuse to play because you don’t want to so I personally feel that some clubs have hidden behind the safety aspect because it meant that they had something meaningful to fight back and beat the league with.”

Clubs will be required to issue lateral flow tests to players and staff twice a week from next Monday, February 15, and they will receive testing kits to cover players and staff each week, at no cost.

Petheram said: “A couple of weeks ago, in fairness to them, the league said they are keen to get grants in place for testing. They said it again on Mionday that grants were coming for testing.

“At 8pm the same Monday the votes were issued to all the clubs so in my opinion at 11am we were told there was going to be grants issued for testing and at 8pm the votes were issued so I was fully aware, not that it would have changed my opinion, that the testing will follow through.

“A week on Monday is the earliest the tests will start to be rolled through and to be honest it is the right thing to do.

“I am amazed that we weren’t doing it earlier - but the whole point behind null and void is not about safety, it’s all about money.”

Several clubs have come out publically with their stance on the season, as Chesterfield want the top division season to continue, as do Notts County, Hartlepool United and Sutton United, while King’s Lynn Town have voted to end the campaign and Wrexham have opted to abstain because they are not eligible for government funding because of of the club’s location.

In the National League North, Gloucester City, York City, Boston United and AFC Fylde want the season to carry on but Gateshead, Chester, Farsley Celtic, Spennymoor Town, AFC Telford United, Bradford Park Avenue, Southport, Darlington and Blyth Spartans have all voted to end it.

The picture is different in the South as Dartford, Dorking Wanderers, Hungerford Town, Eastbourne Borough, Ebbsfleet United, Havant and Waterlooville, Chelmsford City, Hemel Hempstead Town and Concord Rangers all want to continue, while Bath City, Slough Town, Maidstone United and Tonbridge Angels want it scrapped.

“We have got aspirations to get out of this league and we got into a position with a six-point lead and I feel as an owner and a chairman that I owe it to the fans to try and finish the season,” said Petheram.

“Last season we were 17th and I still voted to carry on. I phoned the chairmen of clubs at the top of the league and asked them what they wanted to do.

“We couldn’t get relegated, couldn’t go up, couldn’t get in the play-offs and I asked them how they wanted me to vote.

“They said they wanted the chance to go up and wanted the season to conclude so I listened to them.

“If I had been in that position it is exactly what I would have wanted to happen so I voted, 17th in the league with nothing to play for, to continue.

“I made the decision last year because I thought it would set a precedent that if the worst happened again and Groundhog Day repeated itself we would be in that position again.

“If clubs don’t want to play on they should be allowed to withdraw, so if, say, the bottom 10 clubs don’t want to continue, that’s fine.

“But we want to continue, York want to continue, Boston want to continue, Chester I am sure would like to find a way to continue if they could, Fylde want to continue.

“You could almost do an extended play off with the X amount of clubs who want to actually play football.

“The league are looking to stop it and take it away from us but we are hopeful we can find a way and convince enough clubs to play on.”

'Farce' - Chester FC chairman on dilemma facing clubs

By Michael Baggaley

Chester FC chairman Andrew Morris says it is ‘a farce’ that clubs are expected to play on while they wait to hear whether their season is to be abandoned.

The Blues have voted to declare the campaign null and void after it emerged that grants wouldn’t be guaranteed to continue playing behind closed doors.

The board say they can’t afford to put the club’s future at risk by going into debt.

Clubs were given voting forms last Monday and given 28 days from then to make a decision. But in the meantime they are being told by the National League to carry on with their fixtures. 

Kettering have revealed they have been charged by the league because they weren’t prepared to play their home game against Chester last Saturday.

The Blues' home match with Fylde on Tuesday was called off because of a frozen pitch but they are due to return to action on Saturday away to Leamington.   

Morris says Chester will play if forced to but he doesn’t feel it’s fair to ask clubs to play on.

He said: “We said as a club we were looking to conclude our fixtures while the outcome of the resolution was known. A number of clubs said they weren’t prepared to do that and they cancelled games last weekend.

“Those clubs have been written to by the National League saying they will be referred to a disciplinary panel. That has a range of powers including expulsion from the National League.

“So we said we weren't going to potentially put ourselves at risk of points, fines or expulsion, either for this season or next whilst there is uncertainty.

“So, we have made that difficult decision to say we will continue to play.

“At the moment the game against Leamington is scheduled to go ahead. But it is a farce that fixtures are going ahead when one or both clubs don’t wish to conclude the season because they are unable to afford it.”

'That's an understatement' - Chester FC boss has his say as club votes to end season

Clubs were given National Lottery funding for October, November and December.  But Chester and other clubs say they wouldn’t have agreed to start the season if they hadn’t understood from the National League that grants would continue for the rest of the campaign if fans couldn't return.

Clubs have been asked to vote on whether leagues can decide their own fate or whether the decision has to be taken as a whole by the National League and divisions north and south. A 75 per cent majority is required to change the constitution and allow leagues to vote individually, but the National League has 24 votes while leagues north and south are only represented by four votes each.

If the 75 per cent threshold is reached and divisions are able to decide their own fate then Morris believes the majority of National League North clubs will call the season to a halt.

He’s urged all clubs to get their votes in rather than take up any longer of the 28-day window.

In the meantime, he says his club had to make the tough decision to vote to end the season even though they are second in the National League North.

He said: “It was a really difficult decision.

“We are doing really well this season on the pitch so, from a footballing perspective, every sinew of you wants to continue and is thinking we can get promoted.

“But fundamentally we are here as a board about the long term sustainability of the football club. It was on that basis that we made the very difficult choice that we were going to vote for null and void.

“Without revenue streams, but outgoings continuing, we can’t fulfil the season based on the current projections.” 

Gloucester City chairman Alex Petheram proposes "mini-league"

By Joe Richardson

NATIONAL League North leaders Gloucester City co-chairman Alex Petheram has said he is sending a letter to the league to outline a plan to allow teams to keep playing.

Voting on the National League's resolution to consider the end of the season is going to be a close-run thing, if public statements made by clubs are anything to go by.

An unofficial tally from the last couple of days has 17 teams from Step 2 in favour of ending the season and 15 against. Ten of the clubs supposedly against continuing play in the National League North.

Whatever the outcome, it is likely to be contentious. Some teams have strongly argued against having to play, which incurs costs and heightens the risk of players and staff catching the coronavirus. Others want to continue to preserve the integrity of the football pyramid and to not waste the National Lottery grant money or taxpayers' money through the furlough scheme.

Petheram therefore simply proposes that teams who want to play do so, and teams who do not want to play, stop. The teams who continue can battle for promotion places in two "mini-leagues" with the finals played at Gloucester.

He said: "I'm still very keen to find a resolution that isn't as 'final' as making clubs that don't want to play, play - the reasons for which I fully understand and accept - and stopping clubs that want to play football. As for me, they both have financial issues.

"I understand why some clubs aren't prepared to, or can't, work with Sport England to try to gain a grant, loan or blended option.

"On the other hand, there are clubs like ourselves that don't want to stop playing football and, in my opinion, waste taxpayers' money via the furlough scheme.

"For me, the job retention scheme us exactly that - job protection for companies that can't trade at their full capacity.

"Elite footballers can play football, so let us play.

"I have seen the concerns of some around the league rules regarding loans and support from Sport England. This for me is a non-point as without Sport England, directors' loans and the Football Foundation, how would clubs ever build new grounds or undertake ground improvements?

"A copy of this statement will be sent to the National League today and I hope some form of solution can be found that allow clubs to stop if they have already voted to do so, or play on.

"How will that look?

"For example, a promotion-only mini-league - two mini-leagues are formed and finals are played to allow three teams to gain promotion.

"The finals can be played at Gloucester, free of charge to the league and clubs, as we're in the middle of the country and yo-yo between the North and South (divisions).

"I feel that clubs in the (National League) North especially felt that this vote would be a landslide and it appears that hasn't happened. So surely this is another potential resolution which saves taxpayers' money, allows elite football to maintain promotion and relegation between the National League and North/South, and maybe more importantly, looks after all of the National League club members.

"Of course, some will now say that this is just clubs looking after themselves. That's obvious - that's what everyone is doing. Every club is only trying to look out for themselves. That's life. There's just more than one agenda.

"I owe this to my fans and players at the very least. We've been top of the table pretty much all season to date and yes, we want to play and be allowed to dream."
We catch up with news of former York City players, managers and staff.
Former York City striker Amari Morgan-Smith has been suspended by the FA for six matches after a personal hearing.

A charge of an aggravated breach of Rule E3.1 was proven relating to language he used while playing for Kidderminster Harriers against Chester in October 2020.

Morgan-Smith accepted the charge and was commended for his contrition and conduct.

He was given the minimum sanction of a six-match suspension, which includes the two matches already served for the initial red card offence, with an order to attend an FA educational course and contribute to the cost of the hearing.

Harriers confirmed that it has been comprehensive in its dealings with both the FA and the player throughout, including punishment where necessary, but also a significant level of personal support and education in coordination with Kaleidoscope Plus Group from a perspective of mental health and diversity.
A round-up of news from York City's rival Vanarama National League (North) clubs.
AFC Fylde

Defender Jack Sanders (21) has returned to parent club Wigan Athletic after being on loan to Fylde since late October. He made 13 appearances for the Coasters. AFC Fylde was the third NLN club he had spent time with, following loan spells with Southport and Blyth Spartans. Meanwhile midfielder Nick Haughton (26) has signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club till 2023. 

Brackley Town

Supporters Philip and Denise Stevens have been named National League North Volunteers of the Month for January for their efforts in helping the club adhere to COVID-19 protocols. 

Chester

Midfielder George Glendon (25) has been named National League North Player of the Month for January.

Gloucester City

Gloucester City have signed midfielder Ryan Barnett (21) on loan from Shrewsbury Town for a month. He has previously spent three loan spells with AFC Telford United. City have also signed defender Jack Evans (20) on a one-month loan from Forest Green Rovers. Former clubs include Blackburn Rovers, Nailsworth and Hungerford Town (loan). Meanwhile, loanee defender Bradley Webb (19) has returned to parent club Bristol City.

Leamington

Leamington manager Paul Holleran has been named National League North Manager of the Month for January.  Meanwhile forward Taylor Allen (20) has extended his loan spell with the club after joining the Brakes from parent club Forest Green Rovers in early December.
Please check with the club's official website for late changes to fixtures before committing to travel.
Pre-season friendlies

September
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.

October
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

November
Tue 10 Southport 2, York City 3 (Newton (2), Bunn)
Sat 28 Leamington 2, York City 1 (Dyson)

December
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)

January
Tue 5 Kidderminster Harriers 2, York City 2 (Woods, Newton)
Tue 26 Hereford (a) - postponed

February
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)

March
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)

April
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)

May
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)

June
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 >>>>
FOR THE CLUB  -   FOR THE FANS  -   FOR THE COMMUNITY
PLEASE CLICK HERE
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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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