Programme Review: 2021/22 York City

Teams: York City v Morpeth Town

Venue: LNER Community Stadium

Result: York City 1 (1) – (0) 1 Morpeth Town

Programme cost: £1.50

Pages: 16

The debate about digital v physical programmes has featured in our opening two reviews (Selby Town and Chadderton) and continues here with York City producing both a digital and physical version for their FA Cup tie v Morpeth Town. Looking at the Club’s on-line store, it seems that ‘The Minstermen’ have done this all season, for both their National North and FA Cup games to date, for which they should be applauded since it gives fans the option of which to purchase. One thing to notice though, is that for league fixtures the programme is £2.50, so is presumably a more substantial production than the 16 page version costing £1.50 for the FA Cup.

So what of this offering in the FA Cup, which celebrates 150 years in the 2021/22 season? Well, seven pages are given over to adverts (44%), with club/ground sponsors jmp, LNER, York Gin, DWA, and go store accounting for five of these. The remaining two are for The FA Player app and Kick it Out, although this is advert from the 2020/21 campaign. Since the Club will undoubtedly be contractually obliged to these companies and organisations to carry these in the programme, it will mean York have no option, but given that, couldn’t the programme be at least 20 pages?

The programme cover leaves you in no doubt that this is a FA Cup tie with an image of the famous trophy dominating and is a template used in the previous home ties. It is titled. “The Citizen” a nod to the founding of the city by the Romans. Colour-wise it is in the red club colours with the club badges of York and Morpeth and the standard match information – venue, date, competition and price. Additionally, the logo of shirt sponsor jmp features as does the Emirates 150 Years FA Cup logo. A nice little feature is at the bottom right hand corner, where a print effect looks to reveal that this is No: 9 of the programmes this season.

In terms of content this is where it feels a little strange. Page 3 is the first non-advert material of this edition and rather than being a welcome or game scene-set from the Chairman or manager, there is an article from youth team player Kyle Lancaster who was an unused substitute in the previous round v Whitby Town. Whilst an interesting article about the youngsters recent game against Notts County and thrill at being involved with the senior squad, it just doesn’t feel that this is a introduction to the game ahead. Incidentally, came on for the last ten minutes to mark his senior debut.

The programme is generous in the pages given over to visitors, NPL Premier Division, Morpeth Town with pen-pics and head-shots of the squad featuring on pages 4 and 7, and a club history on page 12, all very useful to fans on the day. However, the history for ‘The Highwaymen’ is curious in that it cuts off at the end of the 2014/15 season, with no details after that date. Pages 8 and 9 are the centre-fold of this edition and detail the ‘classic’ fixtures, results and line-ups common to all programmes. Additionally there is the National North League table as well as the current seasons appearances and goalscorers. The space on page 9 (games yet to be played), is used to provide a profile of a York volunteer, details of the other FA Cup fixtures involving National North teams and a picture of Olly Dyson the ‘Man of the Match’ from the last home game v Southport. That fixture provides the content for page 10, titles “Action Replay” with six images from the game as well as a brief match summary including the York line-up. All that leaves is the back page, which contains the common squad lists, with respective clubs badges and details of the match officials and the forthcoming games at the LNER Community Stadium.

Overall, whilst this is a tidily produced programme, however, the overriding feeling is that with the addition of four more pages it would have been improved in having a better flow and more bang for your buck. These could easily have been provided through the addition of some of the following – a welcome from the Chairman, a preview of the game from the York manager, a full list of the other ties taking place rather than just those involving National North teams, a look at both sides game played in getting to the Fourth Qualifying Round or indeed a summary of the record of ‘The Minstermen’ over the 150 Years of the FA Cup.

Website: Home | York City Football Club

2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 17 – Saturday 02 November 2019: York City v Kidderminster Harriers

Matchday programme cover

So having seen on this journey so far, Chelsea, Stenhousemuir, Fulham and Lincoln City (partially at Blackpool) all priority teams ticked off my list, it was time for York City, in the season they are due to leave their Bootham Crescent ground which has been their home since 1932 – coincidently the year my Dad was born.

I had lived in York, well Bishopthorpe just on the outskirts of the city, and had my first marriage in Bishopthorpe too shortly after leaving London. From Bishopthorpe I moved to Huddersfield and met one of my best friends, another Steve. Funnily enough, he is also a Chelsea fan and we have attempted to get to games together whenever possible. We went to the Aston Villa and Arsenal cup finals together, but our best trip was to Amsterdam to watch a few games during the 2014 World Cup. The original plan was to attend the Holland vs Spain opener, however, this was the weekend of my daughters 16th birthday so went for the Holland vs Australia and England vs Uruguay games instead. The Dutch love their football and I have been a big fan since the early 70s sides of Cruyff, Haan, van de Kerkhov brothers, Krol, Neeskens, Rep and Resenbrink – how did they never win the World Cup with that talent?

This wasn’t our first visit to the city, and we knew exactly where we were going to watch the game. We’d bought replica 1974 Dutch shirts and made our way with the locals towards Dam Square and our favourite little brown bar Café Mooy which we’d discovered many years before. We arrived in plenty of time for the kick-off, which was fortunate as the doors were bolted about half an hour before kick-off and everybody lit up. A group of lads started speaking to us in Dutch, fortunately their English was far better than our Dutch. We had a great conversation about Dutch football. I’ve followed Vitesse Arnhem for a number of years since Chelsea started a partnership with them regarding their youngsters, so we were not only able to talk about international football we also had a really great conversation about Dutch league football too. The other bonus was that we didn’t have to buy a drink from that point on. The Oranje went on to beat Australia 3 – 2 and England more or less went out of the Cup losing to Uruguay.

On the day of the York game, it was absolutely pouring down with rain as I drove over the pick Steve up. “It’s cold and wet outside mate you’ll need a coat” I said, and he only then produces exactly the same coat as I was wearing. This is going to be fun I thought, someone will think it’s the geeky brothers day out in the community! We drove to York in the rain which never gave up all day. It was a nightmare to find a parking space, but we eventually found somewhere and walked to the ground. We made it into the away end and a female steward was giving us a few strange looks. “Is it because we’re both wearing the same coat?” I enquired, “Yes!” she said losing her battle to contain her laughter. “It’s alright we don’t get out much!” Steve replied. We managed to hold out in the rain on the open Grosvenor Road terrace until half time before giving in and paid our extra quid to get into the covered Poplar Stand.

View from Polar Stand

On days like this, invariably the weather is the winner and so it proved to be. The opening twenty minutes were pretty forgettable as both sides tried to adjust to the wet and windy conditions. Kidderminster though had the best of that early period with half-chances created for Hemmings and Williams. York finally tested Cameron Gregory the Harriers ‘keeper just after the half-way point of the first-half when he saved from Griffiths. Despite Kidderminster coming into this game in 17th spot, they continued to create the best chances, with Davidson, Williams and Hemmings all firing off-target though. As so often happens, teams then score against the run of play and that happened on thirty-eight minutes. From an Adriano Moke cross, he picked out Griffiths who was able to turn and fire past Gregory and into the bottom right corner to put The Minstermen 1-0 up, an advantage they held at the break, but perhaps didn’t deserve.

Into the second-half and Kidderminster continued to dominate the possession without creating any guilt edged chances with York seemingly content to hold onto their one-goal lead. York brought on Green to give them greater numbers in midfield just before the hour mark and he nearly scored for York later in the half, but Gregory saved his strike. Harriers though continued to battle to the end and got their reward eight minutes from time. From a cross Hemmings and York ‘keeper Jameson went after the loose ball with the Kidderminster striker winning the race and slotting home for the equaliser. Almost immediately after the restart, Kidderminster then nearly took the lead, but substitute Ollie Shenton dragged his shot wide when well placed. It was the last real chance of the game which at the whistle ended 1-1 which was probably the right result. Not a classic, but at least I had a chance to say goodbye to Bootham Crescent.


Saturday 02 November 2019

Vanarama National League North

York City 1 (Griffiths 38’) Kidderminster Harriers 1 (Hemmings 82’)

Venue: Bootham Crescent

Attendance: 2,586

York City: Jameson, Griffiths, Ferguson, Newton, McNulty, Tait, Moke, Bond, Burrow, Maguire (Green 58’), Kempster (McFarlane 85’).

Unused Substitutes: Durrell, King, Whitley.

Kidderminster Harriers: Gregory, Austin, Davidson, Butterfield, Moyo, Johnson, Weeks, Williams (Diau 87’), Chambers (Shenton 77’), Hemmings (Prosser 88’), Peniket.

Unused Substitutes: Palmer, Higginson.


Steve Blighton