Issue 055. February 23, 2021.
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Chris Forth (Harrow)

If anyone is missing their football, they might care to take a look at the York City South web site and the TV page ( which lists in chronological order over 800 clips of City in action, including 1957 colour footage and action from our 1938 and 1955 cup runs, including rarely seen footage of those squads in training for the cup runs.  

Whilst all the clips are available on youtube, the chronological order makes it easy to search for your favourites.  

Some of the clips are from "theheavyroller" channel which also features many non-City clips from the 1950s.  
Chris Crowcroft (Ludlow)

Does Boris’s announcement change anything, would ‘half capacity’ mean full City crowds by mid-May? What form of competitive football might now be going on at our level then?

Even so, the churning of large squads annually and not knowing what our best matchday team/squad is still confuses me; and makes me suspect it lies at the heart of our performance problems.

I would love a restart once those questions were answered.

Finger of blame points towards National League Board, says Poppies chairman Mahoney

By Jon Dunham

Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney believes it’s difficult to point the finger of blame at anyone else apart from the National League Board after the North and South divisions were declared null and void for the 2020/21 season.

After weeks of uncertainty for clubs at Step 2, the results of the National League vote were revealed at the end of last week with the North and South divisions ending immediately while the National League at Step 1 will continue.

The much-publicised problems for non-League’s top two tiers came about after clubs were told they would need to take on loans to see out the season after they had been led to believe grants would be provided as they were for the first three months of the season.

The issues have seen arguments and ill feeling erupt between those clubs at Step 2 who wanted to carry on and those who wished to stop while the National League and Department for Culture, Media and Sport have been blaming each other for the miscommunication.

The Poppies voted in favour of null and void with Mahoney and his fellow directors adamant that they would not take on any loans and put the future of the club in jeopardy.

So, where does the blame for this fiasco lie?

“The simple fact is that it was the League’s Board that has led the way and, in reality, it's hard to point the finger of blame at anyone else,” Mahoney said.

“They may have worked with other organisations but they represent us and they provided updates and guidance to us.

“I have said repeatedly that there isn’t a book that we can all look at to see what the next course of action should be and sadly I don’t think we’ve created one, God forbid this ever happens again.

“Once things have settled down, I think we do need a post mortem to establish exactly what happened and why. If that results in a restructure of the board, then so be it.”

The null and void outcome has enraged a number of clubs, including Gloucester City and AFC Fylde in the North and even more in the South, who wanted to play on.

In the wake of last week’s decision, an open letter was sent to the National League by 18 clubs demanding the resumption of the season in some format.

And while Mahoney has no issue with those clubs wanting to play on, he believes their efforts will be fruitless.

“We totally respect the desire of every club that wants to carry on but I honestly can’t see it happening,” the Poppies chairman added.

“We all took part in a vote, albeit offering restricted options, and the outcome was that the season should be null and void.

“Sadly I suspect a precedent was set last season when we ultimately reached the same conclusion.

“It’s just a shame that no-one realised that a secondary grant for January to March would probably have seen the season finish, as by then gates would have hopefully been opened and fans allowed in.

“Likewise any club that can continue without grants surely didn’t need them from October to December, so those funds could have been distributed across the clubs that needed them and who knows, the season may have continued.”

National League North scrapped: 'We just want the opportunity to play,' says AFC Fylde chief executive Jonty Castle

By Adam Bate
The decision to consider the 2020/21 season null and void for those clubs in the sixth tier is seen by some as a financial necessity. Others are left counting the cost of not continuing.

Twelve clubs in the National League South are fighting the decision to stop the season, while seven clubs in the National League North want to play on. AFC Fylde are among them.

For Jonty Castle, chief executive at Fylde, five points off top spot with three games in hand on the leaders, it is a huge blow. He is determined to find another solution.

"My belief is that clubs were only presented with one option, which was the null-and-void scenario," Castle tells Sky Sports. "If an alternative scenario was presented, I believe more clubs would continue. Some have privately expressed that view."

In an open letter to Mark Ives, general manager of the National League, these clubs have even proposed a mini-league affording those who wish to play on the chance to do so.

"Our fallback position is a combined league," says Castle.

"We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Clubs are in different financial positions and some have chosen not to continue. It is accepted now that this is the course of action.

"But I think the lens needs to switch and focus on those who do want to continue, if I am brutally honest. I believe the footballing family should allow us to continue. As long as there are enough teams, the fixtures of those teams who want to continue should be played."

Castle is keen to stress that the costs do not disappear if Fylde stop playing.

"We have players on 52-week contracts and there are no break clauses within those contracts. We could place players on furlough again but all we are doing then is passing more costs onto the government. It is not something we aspire to do but we will have no choice if we are not going to continue. Then, do you top up the players' wages or not?

"Players have short careers. They lost a portion of their career last season. They would be losing two-thirds of a season this season. There are consequences for the players.

"There is also a huge financial consequence if we have no money coming in but we still have to pay operational costs. We are still incurring those and we will continue to incur them.

"The owner has already come out and said that he will refund all season ticket holders if we do not play football, so there are costs there. We have sponsors who supported us last season and have done the same this season but if there is no sponsorship value in that, there are going to be some deep and difficult conversations to be had in the coming months."

There is more to this than money too.

"There are consequences for the mental health and welfare of the players, the supporters, the community. They see football as the outlet. It is much more than financial.

"Especially in the current pandemic. Everyone is locked down, it is a pretty miserable time. Football brings some excitement. Why not give us the opportunity to play?"

Boris Johnson says sport will be able to welcome back fans from May 17
Castle will soon bring up one year in the job. "It has been an interesting 12 months," he says, with more than a hint of black humour. The pandemic put a stop to football within weeks of his appointment and relegation followed. Fylde also had to deal with the emotional difficulty of manager Jim Bentley undergoing double heart bypass surgery.

Thankfully, Bentley has recovered but the challenge for Fylde is ongoing.

"I am not sure what they can throw at us next," says Castle.

With a wealthy benefactor in David Haythornthwaite, the club are aware that sympathy for their plight is at a premium but there is no denying fortune has not favoured Fylde.

When the National League was curtailed last season, they found themselves relegated on a points-per-game basis. Now they face the prospect of being denied promotion back to that division despite topping the National League North on that same points-per-game basis.

"When Rick Parry [chairman of the EFL] was in dialogue with Mike Tattersall [then chief executive of the National League], he stated that for clubs to be relegated from the Football League, then relegation has to be in play within the National League system. That was the basis on which they curtailed the season but still allowed promotion and relegation.

"That is the premise of why they continued last season.

"We are fortunate to have a benefactor who is committed to supporting the club. At the same time, we entered into the season knowing that we would be playing for promotion and relegation. You would hope and expect that the National League would support the North and South continuing to protect the integrity of that relationship with the EFL."

What happens next is unclear.

"We have presented our open letter to Mark Ives and he will take that to the FA now," Castle explains. "We believe the open letter was the right thing to do to present him with an opportunity to find a different solution. He has obviously got to go to the FA for ratification.

"There is a fan element to this. Lots of them want to support this campaign. They are putting videos together explaining how important football is to them and their communities. That is another angle that will play out. We are all lobbying our MPs. I believe certain clubs have sought Queen's Council and are consulting their legal position as well."

Despite accusations of self-interest, perhaps the biggest argument in their favour is that there need be no unwitting losers in this proposed scenario.

"Those clubs that have been afforded the opportunity to freeze the season now and re-enter the pyramid at the same level next season, great. They can go into suspended animation, hibernation, and get themselves ready to start next season in August with fans.

"For all of those reasons, it is not hurting anyone to let us continue. If anything, it has flipped. There are 19 clubs that have voted to carry on, more that will consider it. There are no losers in letting us continue to play football. We just want the opportunity to play on and see if we can achieve that aspiration of promotion back to the National League.

"We can only pray that the footballing family supports us, the National League supports us, and the Football Associations supports us, in our aim to start playing football again.

"The only loser at the moment is football."
A round-up of news from York City's rival Vanarama National League (North) clubs.
AFC Telford United

Departing striker James Hardy - who has left AFC Telford United by agreement to be a free agent - has signed for National League club Altrincham where he'll become the 34th player named in an Alty squad this season.


Two Chorley players have joined National League club Stockport County on loan till the end of the season. Midfielder Elliot Newby and striker Harry Cardwell are making the move after the cancellation of the NLN season.


Hereford defender Dan Jones has left the club by mutual agreement so he can move closer to his family in Dublin. 

Kidderminster Harriers

Harriers have extended their contract with striker Ethan Freemantle (21) until the summer of 2022. The youth academy graduate has played 21 first team games for the club, scoring once.
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.

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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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