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Issue 082. March 26, 2021.
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The daily email newsletter serving York City fans since 1997

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Steve Aldous (Haxby, York)

I can certainly vouch for and agree with Chris Crowcroft’s (TOOAB Issue 81) addition regarding Pat Jennings catching crosses and corners with one hand!

I saw him play at Elland Road in the early seventies and yes he certainly did catch Peter Lorimer’s corner kick with only one of his very large hands and then fall to the ground with the ball safely secured.

Apparently a very quietly spoken Irishman but there was no doubt a truly great goalkeeper. 

York City post losses of more than £1m in year to June 2020

By Joe Richardson  

YORK City posted losses of more than £1million in the year ended June 30, 2020.

The debt last year stood at £10.4m, compared to £9.3m from the year previously.

It is, however, a shallower drop than the year ended June 30, 2019, when City ran up a loss of £1.5m.

Over the past decade, York have lost more than £9m. Borrowing has increased by £7.5m to £11.6 since 2012, during which time the club has paid interest and dividends of nearly £4m.

During the year to June 2020, the club took on a loan from JM Packaging, the company owned by City chairman Jason McGill, of £650,000 at 11 per cent interest.

After the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, the club lost gate revenue from five matches, with four games at Bootham Crescent cancelled and one played behind closed doors. City placed players and staff on furlough in April.

The average number of people (including directors) employed by the company was 45, down from 51 in the year ending June 2019.

In the ‘going concern’ section, a note reads: “At the time of approving the financial statements, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the company has adequate resources available to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future, although this ability is entirely dependent upon financial support being maintained by the parent company, JM Packaging Limited, who have provided an assurance funding would be made available for 12 months from the date on which these financial statements are signed (November 25, 2020).”

Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has called the losses of 2019 to 2020 “significant by National League North standards” but, accounting for the large interest figure, only place York in the “top half of the loss-making table”. He also believes the loss of home games should not have a dramatic impact on the club.
We catch up with news of former York City players, managers and staff.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell backed by Northern Ireland boss after Italy trials as 'tough' club situation continues

By Gareth Hanna  

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell will put a disappointing night in Italy down to experience and improve going forward.

That's the confident hope of manager Ian Baraclough after the Burnley stopper was questioned for his part in Italy's second goal during the 2-0 result in Parma on Thursday evening.

Peacock-Farrell was beaten at his near post for both goals, although will be spared the blame for Domenico Berardi's stunning opener. The same won't be said of Ciro Immobile's strike, which was let in at the bottom corner.

It follows hot on the heels of Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off final defeat to Slovakia, when the goalkeeper was also beaten at the near post for Michael Duris' crucial extra-time winner.

Peacock-Farrell's situation is no doubt made more difficult by the fact he has played just five senior club matches since moving from Leeds to Burnley coming on two years ago, playing second fiddle to England international Nick Pope.

He has previously spoken of the benefits of training with his experienced team-mate but there's no substitute for regular match action, which he continues to miss.

So it's in that light that manager Baraclough is willing to cut his 24-year-old first choice goalkeeper some slack.

"He's a little bit disappointed in there but it is tough," said the boss. "He's a young player and inexperienced at times so to be able to deal with the situation where he's not playing regularly, more experienced goalkeepers can deal with that a little bit better.

"It is the situation it is. He's pulled off some smart saves and he's building that experience."

Former international Chris Brunt, speaking on Sky Sports, agreed that it would be harsh to be too critical of Peacock-Farrell.

"Goalkeeper's a bit different than an outfield player. It's probably more concentration levels than actual general fitness," Brunt said of the difficulty of stepping into international football without regular club action.

"He'll be disappointed with the second goal definitely but it's hard to point fingers at him because he's done so well in previous games. He's kept us in them while still at the same situation at his club.

"He's proved that he can play well and not be a first team regular at Burnley but tonight it's not been the case."

Northern Ireland's goalkeeping situation is not helped by the fact that Michael McGovern, who was first choice during the Euro 2016 finals, is currently sidelined with a hamstring issue and Motherwell's Trevor Carson is out for the season.

With inexperienced trio Conor Hazard, Nathan Gartside and Liam Hughes for back-up in this window, it's highly likely Peacock-Farrell will continue to get the nod and prove he can learn from tough nights like this one.

At least for the first goal in Parma, boss Baraclough absolved him of any blame as Berardi raced clear before unleashing a world class finish.

"He's lifted it well once he's got it onto his left foot," continued the boss. "Stuart (Dallas) was disappointed with his body shape to allow Berardi to get into that position and once he's cut into the box, he can't get near him.

"Bailey's done what he can to narrow off the angle but he's lifted it and finished it with an assuredness and that's a good player in a tight position."

With the USA set to visit Windsor Park for a friendly on Sunday and Bulgaria, more importantly, coming to Belfast for a qualifier on Wednesday, Northern Ireland can at least take heart from a much improved second-half display.

"You need to believe in yourself more at times because you are better than what you give yourselves credit for," said Baraclough, relaying the message he gave to his team at full-time.

"When we settled on the ball and got the first pass away from their press, we moved the ball a lot better and we played with a lot more intensity in the second half. That's is more like the team that we know that we are.

"Second half, I couldn't fault what they did and we should have got something for our efforts."

* Peacock-Farrell played four games for York City in 2017, on loan from Leeds United.
A round-up of news from York City's rival Vanarama National League (North) clubs.

Darlington will appeal against National League fine

By Scott Wilson  

DARLINGTON will launch a formal appeal against the National League’s decision to impose a £2,000 fine for their failure to fulfil February’s home fixture against Boston United.

The game was due to take place at a time when National League clubs were voting whether to declare the season null and void, with Darlington having confirmed that they wanted the campaign to come to an end.

Shortly afterwards, it was announced that the National League North season would indeed be voided, but the league have still to decided to impose a penalty for Darlington’s decision not to play.

A statement on Darlington’s website said: “The club has today received notification from the National League that we have been fined £2,000 for breach of league rule 8.39, for failing to fulfil our home fixture against Boston United on Tuesday 16th February 2021.

“We have also received a suspended two-point deduction. We are considering our position on this matter, and will update supporters as necessary.”

Spennymoor Town will also have been affected by the National League’s decision to impose financial and points penalties, as they also took the decision not to take part in matches while the future of the season was being decided.

Eighteen clubs in National League North and South were found guilty of failing to fulfil their fixture obligations, with the league imposing fines ranging from £1,400 to £8,000.

In the National League, Dover Athletic have been deducted 12 points for next season and fined £40,000 for failing to fulfil their fixtures. The Kent club have not played since February after saying they were unable to continue this season due to a lack of funds.

The club have been found guilty of four breaches of rules and the 15 matches they have played this season have been expunged from the records. With no relegation from the competition this season, they will remain in the division for the 2021-22 campaign but start with a minus points tally.

A statement read: “An independent panel has ruled that Dover Athletic are deemed guilty of four breaches of rule 8.39 for failing to meet fixture obligations between February 16 and February 27.”

The removal of Dover’s results does not affect the top positions in the table with Sutton retaining a four-point lead over Hartlepool United.

National League fine Bradford £6,000 for missing games

By Rowan Newman  

BRADFORD (Park Avenue) are outraged to find out they have been fined thousands by the National League for failing to play three fixtures.

The games against Blyth Spartans, Farsley Celtic and Hereford date back to February when the National League North was in a state of disarray after returning from its suspension with clubs still unsure whether they would receive any financial help.

Despite pleading non-guilty, the National League have decided to fine the club £6,000.

"It is a joke we could not financially afford to play those games," Avenue director of football Martin Knight fumed.

"They lied to us in October and put our club in financial jeopardy. Their solution is to fine us. That is now a player less we can afford next year.

"They should have said the league has been abandoned no harm, no foul. We will keep it on your record as a transgression.

"To then sit down and say they want to fine us £2,000 for each game it is a joke.

"Predicated on a lie from the National League we started the season. When that lie came to fruition, we couldn't afford to continue so we stopped playing.

"It is unbelievable that they want to fine us, it is an absolute disgrace."

The club will contest the decision with the FA and take advice to see if there is any other legal ramifications for the National League.

A club statement added: "In what can only be described as an incredulous and insensitive decision, the National League today have given the club notice that it has been found guilty of not playing three games and that a fine for each breach is to be applied of £2000.

"The club had offered a clear written explanation on each occasion and submitted a defence based on the financial circumstances surrounding the matches for the disciplinary hearing.

"We will be appealing this travesty of a decision with the FA and are taking legal advice from our lawyers about further action relating to the lies told to the club by the National League at the start of the season relating to grant funding." 

Blyth Spartans to be fined £6,000 and potential loss of six points for next season

An Independent Panel has found Blyth Spartans AFC to be in breach of League Rule 8.39 on three separate occasions.

As a result, the club has been fined a total of £6,000 and a six points deduction suspended for one season.

The club was charged in February after failing to fulfill its National League North fixtures while the continuation of the 2020/21 season was subject to a vote.

The charges were contested by the club, where it requested a personal hearing. The Panel rejected the club’s argument. 

In accordance with League Rule 16.4, the club has a right to appeal the Panel’s decision to the FA.

The club is now considering its options.

Southport FC sanctioned

Southport Football Club can confirm this evening that we have been sanctioned by the National League for failure to play our match -v- Curzon Ashton on Tuesday 16th February 2021.

The sanction letter reads as follows;

DECISION

Following full consideration of all written submissions, the Panel finds the club guilty of the breach of Rule 8.39.

Given the extremely unusual circumstances that have affected football at all levels and the financial pressures the absence of spectators has brought to bear on clubs, the Panel expressed its sympathy with the club’s predicament. However, the Panel believes it must also take regard of the fact that the majority of clubs continued to fulfil fixtures and incur match costs until the League ended on 19th February. The Panel is reluctant to impose a significant financial penalty in line with the Standard Fines Tariff. The Panel noted the guidance in the Standard Fines Tariff of Appendix N to the League Rules, which ranged between £2500 to £10,000. However, the Panel also noted that by failing to fulfil the fixture, the club will have saved a substantial part of the match costs.

The Panel noted the possible sanctions which may be applied for a breach of Rule 8.39 which ranged from expulsion from the competition as a whole, the deduction of up to a maximum of three points from the club’s record and a fine.

The Panel considered the possible sanctions and unanimously agreed that in the current situation expulsion would not be appropriate and points deduction would be meaningless.

The Panel considered a fine of £2500 this breach but taking into account the current situation reduced this fine to £2000.

The decision of the Panel is that the club is fined a total of £2000. In addition, two points are to be deducted from the club’s record for each breach, however the points deduction is suspended and would only be imposed along with any other sanction imposed, in the event the club is found guilty of a breach of Rule 8.39 in season 2021/22.

In accordance with League Rule 16.4 the club have the right to appeal this decision to the FA”

It is the understanding of the Club that the standard of fine of £2000 per match not played has been imposed across the two divisions meaning that some clubs have been fined £8000!

We will now engage with the fellow clubs who have been sanctioned and look to a joint appeal to the Football Association.

We would like to express our shock and disgust at this decision to punish Southport FC, and other National League North and South clubs, for trying to keep our players, staff and volunteers alive and healthy during this pandemic that has claimed the lives of so many people. We made our concerns known as regards continuing to play without testing. The National League seemingly agreed with this concern in that finally testing was made available, although this came after the season was, for us, curtailed. We were not provided with any tests for this game against Curzon. We took the decision that the lives of everybody involved with the club were more important than this individual game.

The league have stated in their decision letter:

“ However, the Panel also noted that by failing to fulfil the fixture, the club will have saved a substantial part of the match costs”

Adversely they have overlooked the financial implications suffered by clubs for playing matches in January when funding that was secured in “good faith” by the league failed to materialise.

It is hugely disappointing that at a time when the clubs have had no income of their own whatsoever for over 12 months, and a number of clubs are clearly struggling to survive, the National League have seen fit to effectively “put the boot in” by imposing financial sanctions for games that are of no relevance at all as they have been deemed “null and void”.

We will be appealing to the FA in respect of their finding in relation to the Fylde game. The game was due to take place on the Monday. It was postponed due to notification, in line with guidelines, of two players exhibiting COVID symptoms. We then received the unprecedented demand that the game should be played 48 hours later, despite our request for a 7 day postponement. We had not received the test results 48 hours later, and were not prepared to put our squad at risk until the results of those tests were known. No explanation has been offered by the National League as to why we received a demand to play the postponed game 48 hours later. No explanation has been given as to why the game could not be played 7 days later. It is to be borne in mind that the usual rules indicate that postponed games are to be rearranged and replayed within 42 days of the postponement

We provided evidence of the players two test receipts. Unfortunately only one test result was returned by the NHS after the forced rearranged date.

The alternative would have been to play the match with the results of players test unknown.

This decision will be appealed.
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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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