2000/1 - The Season By Teletext
New Frontiers was asked to include a pithy 60 - 80 word weekly report on City for Teletext. For the record, here’s how we saw the season. Be warned, it might not make sense now, it often didn’t then as its not easy to present a point of view in only 60 words, especially if Teletext imposed their editorial control on our submission.
The season petered out it with a tame win. Chesterfield was the main talking point. I see no point in court challenges; the feeble punishment was the easy way out. I wouldn’t have offered as many extensions as Dolan. Everyone a wasted opportunity to improve the squad by sticking with what we’ve already got. By my next article, football realities say we’ll have blown the best part of £200,000. But we all start equal and can dream. Enjoy summer!
We can't afford a third season flirting with relegation to the Conference. Drastic steps are needed to ensure it doesn't happen. Of the players out of contract, how many add value to the side. The more released, the more opportunity to rebuild for the future. Do we stick with, say, the expensive veteran Agnew and injury prone Hall, or look to youngsters like Cooper, Bower and the likes of the teenage triallists who've played for the reserves recently?
Last Wednesday, an Arsenal fan was moaning about static defenders, no midfield class and strikers who don't score enough. Next day, a Man United did exactly the same. I fully sympathise, we’ve suffered the same problems for years. Cardiff was a lively game against Cardiff, pity it wasn’t us celebrating promotion. Torquay on Saturday. I always enjoy trips to Torquay so hope they don’t go down. Then again, I feel similar about all the teams down the bottom this year.
With a one, two, three, four points Easter haul, it should take a total lobotomy to see us relegated now and take the road to ruin. The blitzkrieg that the first half against Halifax promised never materialised, whilst all the fireworks on Monday were further down the road. Cardiff on Saturday and I’m on leave. Home form suggests a win. Glad to see you go, I hear you say.
Results have generally gone for us over the last week. A good Easter will see us reach safety and mid table mediocrity. Hopefully that means a chance to look forward to next season and give a few youngsters a run out. Howarth hasn’t had a look in this season, he might be needed more next, whilst Emmerson, Woods and Darlow are just 3 who’ve shown enough to warrant more games. Halifax and Hull are both games we’re capable of winning. Happy Easter.
Our unbeaten run went on Saturday and with just 3 points from the last 4 games we’re once again anxiously looking over our shoulders. Plymouth showed what is needed at our level. Just 2 decent strikers puts too much pressure on any suspect defence and the rest takes care of its self. A comprehensive win at Shrewsbury, even Sertori didn’t last a week there, on Saturday will help to dispel any lingering fears about the drop.
3 draws last week kept our momentum going, but also suggested we’re no better than upper mid table. We haven’t scored enough to warrant to table topping status. Having said that, we should be looking forward to next season, starting with a new contract for Lee Nogan as quickly as possible, before someone else does. He’s shown plenty of class and commitment already. Plymouth on Saturday offers us another chance to extend our unbeaten run, hopefully with an emphatic win.
The end of season mirrors last season. Wins and draws pulling us clear and hinting at what might be next season. Our mix of short term contracted players is still several players away from a top team. Farewell Scott Jordan and Martin Reed, two more of our youth products who couldn’t perform consistently well at first team level. Saturday sees us at Orient, they’re appealing for supporters not to get on the players’ backs when things go wrong. Sounds familiar?
What a turn around. Even I concede we’re pulling clear of the drop spot. A few more wins would set us up nicely for next season. The squad’s undoubted quality is showing through, I just hope someone’s put their finger on what’s made the difference and keeps it there. Players who were being abused 4 weeks ago now seem like world-beaters. Nothing spectacular, just consistent performances, all playing to their potential. Well done and keep it up.
So we showed ourselves capable of producing the goods at home. But, position wise, its not done us a great deal of good. With 8 points, almost promotion form, we’ve proved ourselves, home and away, against 4 teams looking for promotion whilst seeing other teams around us picking up unexpected results. We still need to rely on our own form to see pull clear of the bottom and to lay solid foundations for next season.
Last week was a good one, 4 away points. We showed fight and spirit and proved we’re a better team than our league position suggests. We, the supporters need to show our faith in City for 90 minutes on Saturday (and next Tuesday as well). Backing, not barracking City to improve our home form with some long overdue home wins. Our position is still precarious, but together we will survive. But remember we’re not safe until we’re mathematically safe.
Who could envisage the down turn in results (and performances) after our gritty wins at Reading and Macclesfield. We looked a solid side, capable of mounting a play off push. The "Out" chants are a matter of personal opinion, I don't support the personal abuse aimed at Craig / Dolan that recently I've heard at matches and read on the Internet. 15 games to go, being a realist that's 45 points for us. More Rochdale please.
Our Chairman was in fine form at Monday’s Q and A session, even if some answers asked more questions than they answered. Pity the same couldn’t be said about the team on Saturday. Again the lack of potent strikers and low confidence let us down. Onto Saturday, Lee Nogan, come on down, the price is right. Just remember, whatever the result, it is not the end. Let’s hear no more of this defeatist talk.
Scunny away on Saturday, like all our recent games, another 6 pointer for our under achievers. Farewell Chris Iwelumo, another player who we never got the most out of. No one can argue about the players Terry Dolan has brought to the club, its just a pity he’s not as successful as another El Tel when it comes to getting the most out of his charges. If only we played up to our potential, we’d be talking about promotion, not relegation.
I don’t know what’s more depressing. Results or the thought of our latest cut from Greening / Woodhouse transfers going straight out on wages. We’re in deep trouble, but at least we didn’t lose to Carlisle. Saturday sees Darlo visit, further proof that money doesn’t buy success at this level. Team spirit and working for each other is what counts, not over rated stars.
Apart from the obvious, the thing that struck me about the Macc match was Kieron Durkan's crossing. With those crosses, our lean, mean, goal machine (sic) Chris Iwelumo would have had a field day. But why didn't he do it for City and why didn't we stop him on Saturday. Chesterfield saw another defeat. Alarm bells should be ringing. When you think 2 years ago, the bottom 2 each got nine points in the last week to send us down.
Thanks to modern technology this page is direct from the top of a mountain. Head in clouds, with mist all around, its all down hill from here. Does that sound familiar? Anyway, Saturday gives us the opportunity of a quick double over Macclesfield and to put some more distance between ourselves and the foot of the table. Its panto in the evening, I just hope its not two in a day.
There's much talk about how eleven contracts are up for renewal by summer and trimming the squad size. Less talk of those players who include regulars Agnew, Hall, Hulme, Jordan, McNiven, Patterson and Stamp. Footballing reasons dictate we'll want to offer most new contracts with the net effort of hardly reducing the squad size. The best teams operate with a small squad, check out our best and worst seasons. Small squads in 1974 and 1984 and large squads in 1987 and the late 90s.
With 2 successive defeats behind them, Leicester must be quaking in their boots, fearing a banana skin. Whilst City, 2 successive away wins, go to Leicester full of confidence. The resolution that we've shown in those wins will hold us in good stead against a team who are flattered by their lofty league position. We've got more than enough experience in the side to go to Leicester and put up a good show. Good luck lads.
With no home game this week, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I only hope our defence doesn’t give away too many presents. I’m much too young to remember the days of Christmas day football, but the thought of an invigorating local derby before or after the turkey has a strong appeal. I’m looking forward to the New Year, when things surely can’t get any worse.
It’s a 3 am rewrite after Reading. If only we could show the same commitment and skill and enjoy such good fortune every game. With 3 strikers released, the squad of 27 looks slightly more rounded, but still top heavy. There’s almost certainly bound to be discontent that doesn’t make for a happy (and successful) club. Merry Christmas, let’s hope it starts early tomorrow night.
Saturday's draw was a let down after coming back from 2 down, but so was the size of the crowd. However, it was good to see both strikers score. There's been a lot of talk about the signing of Patterson and Bower, at least they're both on short term contracts. Patterson has time to prove his fitness and is several years younger than Swan and Fairclough. Hopefully he can show his international class for 3 or 4 seasons, a new Paul Stancliffe perhaps?
Reading on Saturday, a chance to keep the season alive and hopes for a plum tie in the next round. With 2 more centre halves, we're spoilt for choice, lets hope Darren Patterson has more luck than some of our other recent veteran defenders. But seriously, just how much longer can we sustain such a large squad.
The balance sheet makes depressing reading as Terry sets about signing 2 new centre halves after our latest debacle. How much longer can we sustain such losses with our big squad? We’d be better off trimming our squad immediately, some of them don’t have much chance of game. Cut a few to make the rest aware that we mean business. If we are to bring more in, let’s make sure they’re hungry, with a future and an allergy to the treatment room.
Let’s not get too excited about Sunday’s win. Radcliffe are several divisions beneath us. I’ll get excited when we beat Reading in front of 6,000. A difficult tie but we’re at home. It’ll help if our midfield can chip in with another 3 goals. Kidderminster are next up, with 2 goal "Super Kev" available, the midfield is bursting with goals. More than can be said for the attack, although McNiven continues to stake a claim as Dolan’s best signing.
As Terry tightens his monopoly on strikers, with that bad scrabble hand, Chris Iwelumo, we hit winning form again. But we could still do with reinforcements. Clue. Don't forget the rest of the team Terry. We should have nothing to fear at Radcliffe, especially now they've given up home advantage, and even without suspended Kevin Hulme, our new 2 goal striking hero.
Scarborough, losing £23,000 a week, put their entire squad on the transfer list last week. Perhaps we should do the same, only trouble is we’d have few, if any, takers. I see Mark Tinkler and Gordon Connolly lost all their worth in just over a year. Alan Fettis is probably worth the most at the moment, but not for long if he lets in 4 goals every week.
A point against Hull maintained our recent revival. Not always pretty, but a lot of effort, I’d be happy to see it repeated throughout the rest of the season. I was won over by David McNiven on Saturday, he was the pick of our strikers, he made things happen after he came on. Its just a pity that , despite being our top scorer, he’s not sure of a starting place.
Neil Tarrant’s arrival seems to have sparked a mini revival. Once again proving the value of a hungry youngster over the late twenties never was. Unfortunately, I suspect its only a loan move and he’ll be off back to Villa before long. Saturday’s derby with Hull promises to be a lively affair. Dolan against one of his former clubs. Another win and it’ll be talk of promotion. Will it be Hocking or Alcide (or even Fettis) who scores the winner against his former club?
Another week, 2 more defeats. Just after releasing 2 defenders its ironic that we’re blaming our misfortune on a defensive injury crisis. Our super large squad should be able to cope. Meanwhile, the policy of paying high wages to veterans must be questioned as Swan and Fairclough have rarely been sighted in action. With 2 home games coming up, we’re in need of improved results, more Daisy McNiven goals would be welcome, which would see us climb the table.
A winner on Friday but 2 youth losses as we say goodbye to Andrew Dawson and John Keegan. Once again we aren't able to bridge the gap between youth potential and first team benefits realisation. Saturday sees us at Southend with the London branch's Ginner Dinner to follow. A Ginner winner and 3 points should set up a lively evening in London with hopefully no sinners in the West End and an uneventful trip back to Pinner for me.
I can’t believe anyone can compare this side with Booby Saxton’s lot. Potter or Kitching, Agnew or Phil Wilson and surely our centre backs can’t be worse than the Clegg / Whitehead pairing. Mathie, Conlon and John Williams are all capable of hitting the back of the net on a regular basis. Add in Fettis and the current crop of promising youngsters and we’re far superior today. All we’re lacking is some confidence. Maybe a few more Mimms blunders tomorrow night will see us back into winning ways.
Another blank weekend. Alcide, the striker who scored within minutes of his debut last season, booed as he came on and knives are being sharpened for Dolan who saved us from the Conference. Whilst former bad boy Agnew is already being tipped as our next manager. What’s gone wrong? Our pre season predictions already out of the window. Or are they? We’re lacking a bit of confidence, but the likes of Williams, Conlon and Alcide have scored plenty in the past and can do so again.
Why the hype about McNiven being the new Duffield. Duff’s one goal in 5 games in open play is nothing to get excited about. Rather than recruit another striker, I’d look to lose a few players to finish up with a leaner, meaner squad. Whilst early games have been against top sides, we’ve slumped to 17th which really says that we’re not very good. Buts its early doors and miracles do happen. We can only hope the sight of Duff in a pot will scare Brighton witless on Saturday.
Pity our recent revival came to an abrupt end on Tuesday night after Saturday’s much improved win. Our strikers are still failing to deliver. Duffs before his injury and the other strikers have all looked unlikely to deliver the goods. And was it worth giving young Turley a contract when he’s got 7 strikers in front of him? It must be demoralising for him and other squad players and can’t be doing the overall squad morale any favours.
After our cup exit at Stoke, we badly need a win to get us back on tracks. As yet we haven't set the division alight, we could have lost badly at Darlo, all we had to show was a point and another Duffield installment. Whilst its good someone is scoring, we need more regular scorers. At the moment, its hard to see where from. A Ginner special or support from the rest of our strike force perhaps.
Late goals have brought contrasting emotions in our last 2 games. After last week's despondency, are things starting to look up. With a largely settled side we most hope for more of the same. Off the field the launch of 2 official web sites, ycfc.net and yorkcitysouth.co.uk has raised the club's profile and brought us into the serious, as opposed childish, internet era. Let's hope we don't plummet from recent glories in the same way as another last minute outfit.
I hope my piece last week wasn't too pessimistic. I didn't want to be proved right by Cheltenham and Stoke. Our much famed tight defensive unit once again failed to live up to high expectations. As Arsene Whinger said earlier this week, its too early in the season for six pointers so tomorrow's trip to Carlisle is just another ordinary game, lets hope with an extraordinary result, say 3 points.
I was wrong last week to say we'd be solid at the back but struggle to score. A flying start, the first goal of the new season, then a second half capitulation. Consolation? A week to recover before our next game, promotion prospects Cheltenham. It seems that all our opponents have promotion prospects. Excuses, excuses. I've said it before, but we've too many old lags in the side. All our summer signings have skill and ability, but how many have ambition and hunger? Go on, prove me wrong starting on Saturday.
A new season, same old expectations. Mid table, possibly a play off place, but no one to score 30 goals for us. Our huge squad and crippling wages bill may mean anyone who makes a name for himself, from Fettis forward, will be straight out of the door to balance the books. Roll on the new season. We live in hope.