York City’s teenage goalkeeping prodigy Ryan Whitley is First Team bound

The goalkeeping situation at York City FC is still uncertain after Jon Worsnop and Luke Simpson conceded a combined total of eight goals against League One side Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday in a pre-season friendly.

The Minstermen have not had a stable number one since the departure of Michael Ingham in 2016 and will be looking for a long term solution to this problem.

Introducing Ryan Whitley, only 17 years-old and currently the third choice goalkeeper at Bootham Crescent.

Whitley is a local lad from York and rose up through the youth team ranks to eventually play in the U18’s and Reserve side during the 2016/17 season.

He has previously trained with Manchester City and the England youth set up, plus in 2015 was subject to Premier League interest; reportedly demanding a £200,000 fee plus add ons for York City to let the 6′ 5″ teenager move on.

Mills last week gave a big confidence boost to Whitley in the York Press when he explained that he would be happy to have the youth team goalkeeper as his back up to Jon Worsnop in the first team.

Jon Worsnop in action (www.icephotographyyork.com)

Jon Worsnop was signed from Bradford Park Avenue this summer and has been the shot stopper for The Minstermen in each of their pre season games so far. He is seen as the direct competition for Whitley, however the youngster views his presence as a good thing:

“Worsnop is an experienced keeper who has played for a long time. I can take bits off both keepers to improve myself. They coach me every session and don’t just concentrate on themselves which I think is really good and positive for a young keeper like me.”

He also drew similarities between himself and now transfer-listed Luke Simpson in which he admitted “I’ve known Simpson for about a year now. He has been in a position like me when he was at Oldham so he gives me really good advice.”

A self proclaimed lifelong York City fan, Whitley has been going to Bootham Crescent since he was nine years old and has previously been a season ticket holder, sitting in the Main Stand at home games.

Upon asking about any recent interest from other clubs he replied “There’s been no news to me about deals and offers from other clubs. My dream would be to play for the First Team then hopefully get a move if I play well. Only time will tell but I will have to work hard and keep my attitude right.”

With the gradual inclusion of youth players in the York City first team coupled with the success stories of Ben Godfrey (Norwich City), Jamie Hopcutt (Östersund) and Gabby McGill (Middlesbrough) over recent times you could argue that the National League North is the perfect level to give these hot prospects the platform to develop into first team regulars and Ryan Whitley seems to have the potential to do just that.

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Duo looking to impress on trial with York City

Yesterday York City FC’s twitter page posted a selection of photos from the first training session back. The usual faces: Sean Newton, Simon Heslop and Jon Parkin were all in attendance, but not everyone recognised the two new faces snapped at Wigginton Road Training Ground.

The eagle eyed of you will have spotted a new player to the right of Dan Parslow and another fresh face lurking behind Hamza Bencherif.

These players have since been identified and sources suggest they are midfielder Adam Porritt and left back Ben Gordon. But who are these new players training with the current squad?

Adam Porritt

porritt20-year-old Porritt is a typical Gary Mills player; a utility man as the midfielder is also equally as capable of playing in defence. He played most of last season semi-professionally with local club Goole AFC, two tiers below the National League North.

The Huddersfield Town academy product also had a loan spell in the 2015/16 season with National League champions Lincoln City before playing briefly with Harrogate Town under Simon Weaver at the end of last season.

Ben Gordon

gordonThe left back is a player with Premier League pedigree having progressed as a youth player at Chelsea before spending four years at the London club on a professional contract, albeit without making a senior appearance.

In recent years the 26-year-old has had stints with SPL side Ross County and League One outfit Colchester United before signing with Boston United last September, switching from National League side Woking.

The two-time England U20 international made 21 appearances in the National League North last season, playing alongside York City loan rejects Josh Robinson and Ben Clappison.

The club have understandably not made a statement on trialists at the club, however you must presume that these two players are in training to impress Gary Mills and earn themselves a professional contract at Bootham Crescent.

York City’s first friendly is on Saturday 8th July where the Minstermen travel to Farsley Celtic, a fixture which could see the new trialists given their first run-outs of the pre season.

Are you happy with these signings? Let me know in the twitter poll and tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

How I started working with BT Sport

I’ve just finished my first year studying Media and Journalism BA (Hons) at Northumbria University and I will be going into second year with a years worth of work experience with BT Sport.

What was my role with BT Sport?

I worked on the National League Highlights Show which was broadcast every Sunday at 10PM on BT Sport 1. Specifically for York City FC.

My job would be to film the full game from the dodgy gantry on top of the popular stand at Bootham Crescent then climb down the shaky ladder and sprint across to the main stand where alongside my colleague we would film interviews with Gary Mills and the oppositions manager.

If you want a good laugh then you can watch my first ever interview with Gary Mills. It’s quite embarrassing for me and I can tell you that 19 year old Dan has learned from his mistakes which is what it’s all about!

All the footage would then have to be edited down to under eight minutes and sent as a full package over a server to BT Sport under a deadline.

Additionally I edited a longer highlights package which would be sent to York City to use on MinstermenPlayerHD; their paid subscription video platform.

I study in Newcastle and live in York so the role was ideal for me as on home games I’d be able to spend the weekend with my family and friends. On top of this travel was paid for, so I’d not have to worry about the expensive train journeys… including a £150 return to London for my training course – trains are way overpriced!

York City were lucky enough to be broadcast as a live game on BT Sport when they played Forest Green in which I experienced the whole thing from the production trailer behind the ground and got to meet presenters Matt Smith and Kevin Davies.

18622629_10213360605998499_2703105833219314138_nFollowing this I got an all access pass at Wembley Stadium for the FA Trophy Final and helped out with BT Sport interviews on Wembley Way as well as looking after the presenters on the day.

Oh and I got a cheeky picture in the royal box before a scary man in a suit came up and kicked me out!


How can I apply?

The best thing to do is contact the nearest National League club near you. Below is a map of all the clubs in the National League next season.


My advice would be to go onto the clubs website and find an email for the media department. Better yet find out who the media officer is, find them on twitter and get in touch from there.

It’s best to get your foot in before they advertise on the website. York City for example started advertising for the role around this time.

If you’re successful you will most likely get an interview with the media officer for the role and then be sent down to BT Sport studios in the Olympic Park, Stratford for two days (all expenses paid) for a training course.

It’s also best to mention that this role is unpaid, but if you love football the perks of the job are amazing to say the least.

So what am I doing now?

Unfortunately York City were relegated from the National League at the end of last season and this meant that it was my time to move on considering BT Sport will not be covering the regional divisions.

But this experience has helped me drastically in the world of football media. People in the industry actually take me seriously now and that has lead me on to my new roles for the 2017/18 season.

For 2017/18 I will be the Programme Editor at Blyth Spartans FC as well as the Matchday Media Officer with Northumberland FA for the county team.

croft park
Croft Park – Home to Blyth Spartans FC.

I’m only going into my second year but I have all of these opportunities at my fingertips and I’m in a great position to showcase and develop my skills further. It’s made me realise the career path I want to take and now I’m more motivated than ever!

If you want any advice on getting into football media or just want a general chat then please contact me on twitter or email me. I’ll be happy to help out and possibly point you in the direction of a role which you’d be interested in.

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York City to play Grantham Town in pre-season.

Grantham Town have announced that they will play York City in the George and Marge Freeston Memorial Trophy. They will also host Mansfield Town and Nottingham Forest the week after.

Grantham pre season graphic

In Brief

Established in 1874 Grantham Town play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the seventh tier of English football. Hailing from Lincolnshire the club play at the South Kesteven Sports Stadium.

They are nicknamed ‘The Gingerbreads’ after the long history of the ‘Grantham Gingerbread‘ recipe in the town dating back to the 1700’s.

So How Good Are They?

Last season in the third step of non-league football Grantham Town managed an 8th place finish; just four points shy of the playoffs.


In recent years however they have only managed bottom half/mid table finishes but have been floating around in the league since they were promoted as champions from the NPL Division One South in 2012.

They play in the same league as Whitby Town who knocked York City out of the North Riding Senior Cup with a 3-1 home win in the Quarter Final last season.

Being in the NPL Premier Division ‘The Gingerbreads’ are only one league below York City as the NPL is a feeder to the National League North.

Last Visit

The last time the two teams met was at the start of the 2012/13 season when ‘The Minstermen’ travelled 93 miles south and drew 1-1 after Paddy McLaughlin’s 30 yard strike was cancelled out by Town striker Karl Demidh late on who beat Paul Musselwhite in the York City goal.

York City went on to finish 17th in League Two following their first season back in the Football League. During the season manager Gary Mills was sacked and replaced by Nigel Worthington.

Grantham Town were also playing their first season in a higher division and finished the year narrowly avoiding relegation by three points in the NPL Premier.

Relations to York City

City manager Gary Mills was player/manager for Grantham in the latter stages of his 68 Manager 3 Gary Millscareer during 1996-1998. He made 66 appearances and scored 3 goals while playing in back and white and won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division during his time in Lincolnshire

Mills resigned in 1998 due to budget cuts when the club were taken over by local businessman Reg Brealey.

Away Day Details

The South Kesteven Sports Stadium has a capacity of 7500 with 750 seats so expect to be standing on the day.


The ground is in Grantham on Trent Road. The stadium had seen 5260 people through the gates last season with an average attendance of 229 which was the 18th highest in the league.

To get to the ground it will take you 1 hour 34 minutes by car down the A1. The postcode is NG31 7XQ.

I’ll be covering as much of York City pre season I can so please follow my blog and find me on my socials for more York City content.

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York City’s Recent Signings – My Say

Recently York City have announced that two players have signed new deals for next season and they have re-signed Michael Rankine who comes in from last seasons relegation rivals Guiseley.

After some discussion on twitter I thought I’d give more detail on my opinions and rate the signings out of five.

Adriano Moké

DAX3cmvXsAMcB4gI was so pleased when Moké came back to York City. I have nothing but good memories of him from last time and I think when he was given the chance he delivered for the most part. He holds the ball in midfield really well and was great when he came on at Wembley.

The thing is though he needs to play. And I think Mills might finally make him a main part of his midfield this year. This past season he only played a full 90 minutes in 7 of a possible 35 games, in my opinion he should have started ahead of Asa Hall in the last few games.

Moké has played in this division before with Stockport County and obviously loves the club. Non Leagues’s N’golo Kanté. Brilliant signing.

My Rating (Out of 5):





Hamza Bencherif

Bencherif was one of the signings Gary Mills made in January on loan. He drastically Hamza_Bencherif_2017-02-11_1changed things at the back for York City and alongside Parslow he was consistently a solid defender. A contrast to the start of the season when it was Matt Fry and Jack Higgins.

This will be Bencherif’s first season in the sixth tier as he has been regularly playing in the National League the past four seasons, and before that he was playing in the league with Notts County and Plymouth.

Fantastic signing and well needed at the back, now they have to get Danny Parslow on board.

My Rating (Out of 5):





Michael Rankine

Michael_Rankine_24-10-2009_1I’ve got a bit of a case of déjà vu here.. York signed Richard Brodie from Semi Professional outfit Stockport County last summer, he blew his chance back in professional football and dropped down to the National League North with Boston United.

Is this not the same situation? Now I’m not saying Rankine has the same attitude problem as Brodie did but you could tell when he came on for Guielsey at Bootham Crescent that he isn’t as fit as he once was.

Now admittedly I am slightly chuckling over our front line, Jon Pakin and Michael Rankine… If I was the centre back for the opposition I would just go home!

But realistically do you see this working? Two big lads playing up front for York? I’d love to hear your opinions on this one so please leave a comment below or tweet me.

My Rating (Out of 5):





* Note that I haven’t included players who haven’t signed deals yet so Kyle Letheren etc. aren’t included.

** Vadaine Oliver and Alex Whittle not included as they are transfer listed by request.

For me we need to get Amari Morgan-Smith to sign and he can play alongside Parkin. Also it would be great if Letheren signs but he can definitely play higher up and has said that he has had offers from Scotland.

A few players have said they are signing on for next year and a few are also under contract but are keeping quiet. I’m hoping the players who said they’d play put their money where their mouth is and sign on the dotted line.

Other teams like Salford City are signing players left right and centre and York need to know who they have to replace next year so Gary Mills can crack on.


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Are Leyton Orient FC Going Bust?

Leyton Orient are due to start the 2017/18 season in the Vanarama National League, however press reports suggest that their is a real possibility that the club may fall into the same fate as newly wound up Ilkeston FC.

Amidst rumours on social media and contradicting opinions on the matter I thought I’d do a round up of what the situation is from my research.

UPDATE: If you want to read the Q&A from the ‘Leyton Orient Fans Trust’ then click here.

The Becchetti Era (2014-present)

In April 2017 Leyton Orient’s relegation from League Two was confirmed with a 3-0 loss to Crewe which ended a 112-year stay in the English Football League.

The club have been in free fall ever since owner Francesco Becchetti took charge in 2014


League One table 2013/14.


after a successful League One campaign where they just missed out on being promoted to the Championship.

The O’s were relegated in Becchetti’s first season in charge at the club and dropped into the fourth tier of English football, spending a year in League Two before finishing bottom this past season with 36 points and a negative 40 goal difference.

Fans have protested on the pitch against their owner during a league game and players and staff have gone without being paid whilst the Italian owner has been absent from the club in the latter stages of the season.

Under Becchetti as owner Leyton Orient have had 11 managers in three years.

The Financial Situation

Leyton Orient did owe HMRC £250,000 over unpaid taxes a few months ago but owner Francesco Becchetti has since paid these in full at the end of March.

However it has since been revealed that the club have four more creditors who are due money. These are reported to be as follows:

London Borough of Waltham Forest Council – £35,000

Central Circle Event Management Ltd – £18,664

Leyton Orient FC Photographer – £6000

Unknown Creditor – £unspecified


Central Circle Event Management Ltd are owed money over stewarding costs.


Orient CEO Alessandro Angelieri had said in a court hearing at the end of March that the Italian would inject £1million into the club over the next two months to pay off any outstanding debts.

The club have a high court date for Monday 12th June 2017. This is a winding up order and will determine if Leyton Orient FC become insolvent.

Leyton Orient have already survived legally as a company recently when they had striking-off notice against them from companies house. This means they would have been defunct as a company.

The club have to file their accounts which are already three months late of the March 31st deadline. Companies House have since discontinued this striking-off action.

Will He Sell The Club?

‎Francesco Becchetti looks as if he is actively trying to sell the club he bought for £4million in July 2014. A statement by the club in January also told how he had rejected one bid for the club but is willing to listen to other offers.


Potential buyer Alan Bowers played for West Ham, Fulham, Norwich City and Dagenham.


At the start of May Sky Sports reported that their was one interested buyer who was not put off by the clubs relegation.


This interest then lead to Becchetti supposedly meeting two potential buyers at the end of May according to the East London Advertiser.

Former West Ham player Alan Bowers bid £3.3 million for the club recently but withdrew his offer this week after Francesco Becchetti didn’t respond to his deadline.

Worst Comes To Worst?

In a last resort a pheonix team would be created in the name of Leyton Orient should the club be wound up. A Leyton Orient Supporters Group named ‘LOFT’ say they are already prepared to start a new club should this happen.

In the event that Leyton Orient do reform, are demoted a few leagues, or are liquidated then the most likely candidate to be reprieved from National League relegation are York City FC who missed out on survival on the last day of the 2016/17 season by a point.

Most York fans have already put on record however that they do not want Leyton Orient to disappear.

York City fan Jamie Scarborough mentioned on twitter:

Scarborough referring to when current owner Jason McGill helped to save the club in a similar scenario in 2004.

The Solutions

The ‘Leyton Orient Fans Trust’ (LOFT) have come out and said that they will try to take


The ‘Leyton Orient Fans Trust’


over the club in administration should a buyer not be found in before the high court date.


Should Leyton Orient not be able to pay their debts on June 12th then ‘LOFT’ will apply for administration which would put accountants in control of the football club. Their first priority under the ‘Football Creditors Rule‘ will be to pay staff/player wages and transfer fees to other clubs first.

Clubs who have entered administration recently are the likes of Coventry City in 2013 and Port Vale in 2012. Both of these teams were deducted points and this lies a real possibility for Leyton Orient in the National League next season.


Darlington folded after the 2011/12 Conference Premier season.


Other clubs in administration have not had it so easy such as Rushden and Diamonds when they were liquidated after months of being in administration. These teams have both emerged as phoenix clubs are are working their way back up the footballing pyramid in non-league.


Personally as a York City fan I would hate to see Leyton Orient go into liquidation and I want to put on record that I think it certainly wouldn’t be right for York City to be reprieved if it did happen. The club don’t deserve it and I think I speak on behalf of the fans when I say it wouldn’t feel justified.

What do you think of the whole Leyton Orient situation? Are you an O’s fan? I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts in the comments below or on twitter by tweeting me!

Who is Brody Robertson? – Alfreton Town’s New Striker

Today Cleethorpes Town have confirmed that striker Body Robertson has left the club for National League North side Alfreton Town; following former director of football John McDermott to Derbyshire.

Robertson helped Cleethropes to a Northern Counties East League Premier title as well as the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy this past season at The Bradley Football Development Centre.

He also led the line for the Grimsby-based side at Wembley in their FA Vase Final defeat to South Shields in May.


The striker makes the step up to the sixth tier of English football with a prolific scoring record which saw Robertson score 41 goals in the 2014/15 season and 28 goals in the 2016/17 season.

On top of moving up three divisions Robertson will be playing in front of an average attendance of 546, compared to Cleethorpes’ average attendance of 193.

How many goals do you think Brody Robertson will get in the National League North? Let me know by voting in my twitter poll and let me know your comments below.


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Non-League Players Stepping Up

Since the likes of former Non-League stars Jamie Vardy and Michael Antonio making the step up to the Premier League many EFL clubs are now looking towards the National League to find the next hidden gem.

The National League season only finished two weeks ago however players are already on the move to bigger clubs. I have outlined the few major deals going on in the past few weeks.

Michael Ihiekwe (Tranmere Rovers to Rotherham United)


The former Liverpool and Wolves trainee kept 19 clean sheets at Prenton Park this season as they agonisingly lost out on automatic promotion to Lincoln then lost in the playoff final to Forest Green at Wembley.

Ihiekwe joins newly relegated Rotherham who will play in League One after a dreadful season in the Championship which saw them gain only 23 points. The 24 year old is expected to replace Kirk Broadfoot in the centre of defence at The New York Stadium.

Ricky Miller (Dover Athletic to Peterborough United)


The Ricky Miller transfer is probably one of the more high profile signings of the summer so far. The forward has been dubbed the ’40 goal striker’ after a hat trick on the last day bringing his goals per game ratio to 0.98.

Miller is 28 years old which is said to be prime age for a striker and he will be hoping that his second chance in league football will end in success after disappointing at Luton in 2014/15.

George Smith (Gateshead to Northampton Town)


Smith is a product of the Barnsley youth academy and made 37 appearances across two seasons in League One before moving into the National League with Gateshead.

He moves back up into League One with Northampton Town on a two year deal and hopes to challenge David Buchanan for his place in the first team during the 2017/18 campaign.

He is the only player in this list to obtain a fee for his services which is pure profit for Gateshead who signed him for free at the start of the season.

Danny Lloyd (Stockport County to Peterborough United)


The Liverpool-born player has scored an average of one in every other game during the National League North season and assisted 19 (all competitions) which is a great record considering he plays on the wing.

Lloyd has played most of his football in the North-West for teams such as Colwyn Bay, AFC Fylde and Stockport County.

Peterborough beat competition from Scottish clubs Hibernian and Motherwell to sign their second non league player of the transfer window. The Posh have a good record in developing non league players having had Dwight Gale grace the ABAX Stadium before moving to Crystal Palace.

Arthur Gnahoua (Kidderminster Harriers to Shrewsbury Town)


Being Kidderminster Harriers’ top scorer in the National League North this season has allowed former Macclesfield striker the chance to prove his worth in League One with Shrewsbury Town.

Gnahoua makes his first move to the EFL having scored an average of one in three appearances in non league. He will jump up three divisions and has been awarded a year long contract to impress in Shropshire.

Gozie Ugwu (Woking to Chesterfield)


Ugwu is a product of the Category One status Reading FC academy. He finished the season 8th highest scorer in the National League playing for a team fighting for survival which is a decent accomplishment.

Like most National League players he leaves Woking on a free transfer and joins Chesterfield on a two year deal. He will link up with former non league player Kristian Dennis up top for The Spireites.

Oxford-born Ugwu is said to have a great physical presence on the pitch along with the ability to score goals. His last stint in League Two ended with 2 goals in 29 appearances for Wycombe Wanderers.

Luke Armstrong (Blyth Spartans to Middlesbrough)


Luke Armstrong has helped Blyth Spartans to the Northern Premier League title this season; scoring 21 goals in the seventh tier of English football.

The ex Cowdenbeath forward will link up with his old youth team Middlesbrough in the Championship for the 2017/18 campaign. He will continue his development with the U23’s although Blyth manager and farther Alun Armstrong claims he has the option to bring his son back on loan.

Jamie Grimes (Dover Athletic to Cheltenham Town)


Dover just missed out on the playoffs in the National League this season, after only gaining four points in their final five fixtures.

Jamie Grimes joins team mate Ricky Miller in the football league but will play with Cheltenham who just escaped relegation from League Two by four points. The 6′ 1″ centre half has previously played non-league football for Kidderminster Harriers and Forest Green in recent years.

Most of these players making the step up are strikers which to me is no surprise as the bigger clubs will tend to scout these players based upon their statistics and goals per game.


Also let me know your thoughts on twitter, I’d love to hear your feedback! 🙂

How much are York City players worth?

So as I’m looking on to next season I thought I’d check out the current crop of players York City have and how much they are worth according to tranfermarkt.com.

A lot of players are on one year deals so obviously they would be allowed to go on a free. However the players who are contracted for longer have the potential for larger transfer fees that can help the club next season.

Vadaine Oliver – £43,000Vadaine_Oliver_2017-03-04_1

Vadaine Oliver is said to be contracted for another year at Bootham Crescent and in my personal opinion I don’t see a cat in hell’s chance of him staying with York. He looked like a star National League striker/League Two player on his return and that’s where he belongs.

York need money coming in from elsewhere as their isn’t any TV money in the regional divisions and selling players like Oliver might be the alternative income.

Aidan Connolly – £128,000

Aidan_Connolly_13-08-2016_2Connolly looked the far superior player at the start of the season, in his first few games for York City he was attracting interest from Championship club Reading due to his outstanding form.

However after an injury and a change of manager Connolly has struggled to break into the side. Whether or not he is to be part of Gary Mills’ plans are unknown but you can’t deny that the individual talent is there.

He is contracted at York until 2018 which means the club will get some sort of financial benefit should they choose to sell the winger.

Kyle Letheren – £170,000Kyle_Letheren_2017-03-04_1

The ‘Press Player of the Year’ Kyle Letheren had been a massive part of the season for ‘The Minstermen’ leading up to his back injury.

Recently he has told the media that he is speaking to an unnamed National League club as well as several clubs in Scotland. He has also expressed that he is open to staying at Bootham Crescent.

The goalkeeper signed on at the start of the season but the club did not disclose his contract length.

His high market value is most likely due to his reputation in Scotland, playing in the Scottish Premiership for Kilmarnock and Dundee in recent years.

Sean Newton – £43,000

Sean_Newton_2017-03-04_1Last week City’s ‘Clubman of the Year’ was subject to interest from Cheltenam Town according to the Stroud News and Journal.

He is another with a year left on his deal however has said he wants to stay at York to put things right.

Time will tell is he stays true to his word and is not tempted by the captivating opportunity to play in the football league.


Whole team value: £1.53 million

If you want to see the full squad and their market values then visit transfermarkt.com.

Obviously these values can fluctuate and aren’t always accurate in tandem to what the bigger teams are willing to spend.

For example in 2016 we saw an 18 year old Ben Godfrey transfer to Norwich City for at least £150k, potentially rising to £1m (according to The Press).

To me it’s exciting to see the worth of each player and how much York City could potentially get for some players who will no doubt be leaving in the summer.

What do you reckon? Who should we keep and how accurate are these valuations of our current crop of players? Tweet me and let me know.

*Please note that these figures are all taken from transfermarkt.com and I can’t validate or endorse these exact figures. It’s all just for general interest.


Non League Finals Day: All you need to know

On Sunday Wembley will be host to Macclesfield v York City and Cleethorpes v South Shields in the FA Trophy and FA Vase.

The Non League Finals Day will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1HD/4K from 11:30AM.

FA VASE: Cleethorpes v South Shields

Kick off –  12:15pm

Last years winners – Morpeth Town

Prize money – £25,000 winners. £17,000 runners up.


This season Cleethorpes have won their league and the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy while South Shields have won the Northern League Division One and the Northern League Cup.

Cleethorpes Town

Cleethorpes could have been knocked out in the 2nd round of the FA Vase but fortunately for them two goals in the last 10 minutes salvaged them a 2-1 away win at AFC Emley.

Two successive 2-1 wins in the 3rd and 4th rounds against Bootle and Billingham Town


Cleethorpes ground share with Grimsby Borough FC.


earned them a spot in the 5th round in which again they came from behind, this time two goals down, to turnover Atherton Collieries at home.

A quarter final supplied a 7 goal thriller against Southall, the score 5-2 in favour of the Grimsby based side. This set up a semi final against Bromsgrove Sporting with a total of 4000+ fans watching Cleethorpes win 2-1 over the two legs to reach the FA Vase Final.

Cleethorpes are currently in brilliant form, they have won their last 10 fixtures and go into this final looking for a treble alongside South Shields.

South Shields

The level 9 side started their FA Vase campaign in the 2nd qualifying round with a convincing 4-0 win at Esh Winning. A 2-1 home win against Runcorn Linnets ensued as fans were treated to a Robert Briggs stoppage time winner at Martiners Park.

The Tyne and Wear club then made easy pickings of Marske United and Staveley M.W. in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, winning 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.


Former Middlesbrough man Julio Arca (now 36) currently plays for South Shields.


The 4th round ended in controversy as The Mariners went 4-2 down with 10 men in the 81st minute against current FA Vase holders Morpeth Town. Shortly after the 4th goal the floodlights went out and the game was abandoned by the referee.

After some harsh criticism online following the floodlights incident South Shields won the replay 4-0 in Morpeth’s own back yard to progress to the 5th round in which they travelled 327 miles south to beat Team Solent 5-2.

The quarter finals were kinder to South Shields as they were awarded a home tie to Newport Pagnell, the home advantage obviously helping as they sent their opponents back down south with a 6-1 thumping.

With Wembley in sight South Shields beat Coleshill Town in the first leg 2-1 before travelling back home to secure a spot in the FA Vase final with a 4-0 win in front of 3464 spectators.

South Shields have only lost twice all season and will be looking to make their first trip to Wembley one to remember by bringing back the FA Vase.

Key Players

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Robertson (left) is top scorer for Cleethorpes this season. Jon Shaw (right alongside Gary Mills) played for Gateshead last year in the National League.

29 goals in all competitions from Brody Robertson has skyrocketed the NCEL Prem side to the FA Vase Final and 1st place in the league this season. Robertson netted 41 times in the 2014/15 season for Cleethorpes and will be hoping to bring his shooting boots onto the big stage at Wembley this Sunday.

Unbeknown to some former Middlesbrough midfielder Julio Arca now plays his football in Tyne and Wear. He will be the most recognisable figure on the South Shields team.

However Jon Shaw is a notable mention, the striker-turned-defender has been a rock at the back in the run in to South Shields winning the Northern League Division One; conceding 4 goals in 7 games and winning the player of the month award for April.

FA Trophy: Macclesfield v York City

Kick off –  4:15PM

Last years winners – F.C. Halifax Town

Prize money – £50,000 winners. £25,000 runners up.


Former York player Scott Flinders will no doubt start in goal for Macclesfield. Flinders spent a year and a half with the Minstermen; getting relegated from League Two before being released in January this year.

Alongside Finders in the Macclesfield team are two other former York employees: John McCombe and Luke Summerfield.

For York Yan Klukowski could make his first appearance since February, he was on the bench against Forest Green after a spell on the sidelines through injury.

Elsewhere Mills’ preferred goalkeeper Scott Loach has returned to his parent club Notts County which leaves Kyle Letheren between the sticks. Clovis Kamdjo is still out after a crucial ligament injury earlier on in the season.

Macclesfield Town

The Cheshire based side began their FA Trophy campaign with a mouthwatering tie against rivals Altringham in which they won 3-2 on aggregate following a first leg stalemate.

 Macclesfield play their home games at Moss Rose.

The second round required a trip to AFC Sudbury in which they won 3-1 which set up a 3rd round tie to now League Two side Forest Green Rovers. They defeated the playoff champions 1-0 at home to reach the quarter finals.

Dulwich Halmet are arguably one of the more famous non league sides but couldn’t edge a famous victory over Macclesfield after The Silkmen beat The Hamlet 4-2 on aggregate after a 2-2 first leg draw in East Dulwich.

Another tricky tie arose when Macclesfield drew playoff runners up Tranmere Rovers in the semi finals. Macclesfield kept their nerve however and managed a 2-1 victory across both legs to reach this years FA Trophy Final at Wembley.

York City

The Minstermen welcomed Worcester City in the first round of the competition and sent them packing with a 3-1 home victory; only their 4th win of the season at the time.

A challenge on Harlow Town’s 3G pitch came in the 2nd round and, without the presence of top scorer Jon Parkin, York managed a 2-1 win to reach the 3rd round of the competition against Nuneaton.

Three goals in the first 20 minutes were enough to put the tie to bed as City saw the rest of the game off to win 3-0 at Liberty Way.

The quarter finals drew York City against National League North side Brackley Town who had won 4-1 in the previous round against Wealdstone. Playing at Bootham Crescent York managed to edge the visitors 1-0.


Gary Mills won the 2012 FA Trophy with York City in his first spell as manager.


After a long season at the bottom York fans were disillusioned when they found out that National League champions Lincoln City were to be the team standing in their way of a trip to Wembley.

However when Vadaine Oliver headed in and Aidan Connolly latched on to Morgan-Smith’s deflected shot the York City faithful left the ground with hope of a repeat at Lincoln City.

Four days later in front of 8409 fans they sealed the deal with a 1-1 draw to win the semi final 3-2 on aggregate and reach their first Wembley Final in 5 years. The last time coming when they snatched the FA Trophy and Conference Playoffs in the space of 8 days.

Key Players

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Holroyd (left) has a strike rate of 1 in 3 games in the league this season. Newton (right) joined the Minstermen in November and has appeared in 28 league games.

Jon Parkin and Sean Newton have been the diamonds in the dirt at Bootham Crescent this season. Both players joined on loan under Gary Mills late last year and penned permanent deals in January.

Despite City’s front three of Parkin, Oliver and Morgan-Smith scoring most of their combined 24 goals later on in the season, and Sean Newton claiming ‘Clubman of The Year’ York City were relegated on the last day when they drew 2-2 with playoff winners Forest Green Rovers.

Chris Holroyd is Macclesfield’s biggest goal threat. The ex Preston North End forward has scored scored 13 goals in the National League this season however has only managed 1 goal in his last 12 league appearances.


I will be at Wembley on the Sunday with BT Sport trying to look important as I cheer on my team York City in what has been a depressing season.

Follow me on Twitter for more updates and info on the day.

ALSO vote in my FA Trophy and FA Vase polls on twitter and have your say on who you think will win!

Non League’s biggest stadiums

There’s a few non league teams who’s grounds have the capacity to hold more than some premier league stadiums. Many of these teams have dropped from the football league or just bizarrely play at big stadiums.

I thought I’d share some the largest grounds across non league football, giving some background and history on the clubs involved.

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Prenton Park – 16,587 (Tranmere Rovers)

Home of Tranmere Rovers and Liverpool FC Reserve football teams Prenton Park was opened in 1912, then renovated in 1995 to reach it’s 16.587 capacity today. The highest ever crowd was 24,424 in the 1972 FA Cup tie with Stoke City.

Once a Football League One side not too many years ago, Tranmere now play in the National League with an average home attendance of 5173 this season as they look to get back into the football league through the playoffs.

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Select Security Stadium – 13,310 (Widnes FC)

A bit of a strange one considering Cheshire based Widnes play in the North West Counties League Division One – the 10th tier of English football.

Obviously they aren’t the only team playing here as they share with many sports teams including: Widnes Vikings, Everton Ladies FC, Liverpool Ladies FC and Halton Spartans.

Widnes FC moved to the ground in 2012, playing their first home game against ‘Chester Nomads Reserves’ on the 1st September. The clubs highest attendance at the ground has recently been set as 462 spectators watched Widnes play Charnock Richard FC in April – this filled 3.5% of the stadium.

The pitch surface is also artificial grass, which many non league teams are opting for due to the financial benefits of the surface. This season has seen Widnes promoted as champions from the 10th tier and they will be playing in the North West Counties Premier Division in the 2017/18 season.

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Gateshead International Stadium – 11,800 (Gateshead)

Gateshead share their all-seater stadium with a signature running track around the outside of the pitch which is used by Gateshead Harriers Athletic Club. The heed have an average attendance of 909 this season which fills just under 8% of the stadium.

The Gateshead International Stadium is the sixth largest in North East England and 3rd largest in Tyne and Wear; behind St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light.

The close proximity of larger teams in the area no doubt have an adverse affect on attendance figures as ‘The Tynesiders’ have the 4th lowest average attendance in the top tier of non league football.

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Edgeley Park – 10,841 (Stockport County)

Originally built for now defunct rugby league club Stockport in 1901 Stockport County moved into Edgely Park a year later in 1902. The stadium on Hardcastle Road in Stockport is an all-seater stadium and is owned by Stockport Council who bought the ground for £2 million in 2015 to stop it being demolished and redeveloped.

English Premiership Rugby Union side Sale Sharks played in Stockport from 2003-2012 until moving into the newly built AJ Bell Stadium with Salford Red Devils.

Stockport are a sleeping giant in the 2nd step of non league football. The former football league team have struggled since being relegated from the Conference Premier in 2013; spending the past 4 seasons in the National League North.

They still manage to fill a third of their enormous 10,000 capacity stadium which is a great feat considering the amount of teams in the Manchester area including: Manchester United, Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.

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York City players free to leave following relegation

As Gary Mills has officially signed on for another year at Bootham Crescent his next job is no doubt figuring out who he wants to keep for York City’s 2017/18 season in the National League North.

I expect a retained list to be published once the FA Trophy has concluded, however until then I thought I’d look into the players York City will most likely have for next season.



So who could be playing next year?

York City possible lineup

I created a possible York City XI for next season based upon the players York have on deals until 2018. To be honest the line up does not look terrible. Also consider that City will be playing in the sixth tier next season.

Because of the lower level of football I believe that some of the younger players brought in on the merit that they are hungry for success may come good in the National League North.

In particular I see Kaine Felix doing well as I have heard rave reviews about his performances at Stockport last season in the division.

Here’s a clip of his assist against Tamworth:

When I saw him at home he had periods of looking like a dangerous winger with his pace and dribbling skills. I’m hoping he will stay on at City and prove his doubters wrong.

Jack Higgins is another who was a regular in the side, making 15 appearances, up until his loan move to Southport.

He was signed from the Conference North in 2016 and was Stalybridge Celtic’s top goalscorer, with 13 goals from defence, which obviously shows he has the ability at this level.

Realistically who can we keep?


Oliver has scored 7 league goals in 18 apps. since returning in January.


Vadaine Oliver has been a new player since coming back from Notts County but has said himself that he wants to be playing in the football league. The National League North would be a step in the wrong direction and I see a League Two or high level National League club coming in for the striker.

Jon Parkin would be a massive coup for the club if he decides to stay on for another year. I can see him getting 25+ goals in the sixth tier, even at 35 he is still a goalscorer. My guess is that he will either sign on or retire.

Moke, Whittle and Letheren will no doubt attract interest from National League or higher next year so I will be surprised if Gary Mills can persuade them to sign longer deals at the club.

Due to injury problems Oyebanjo and Lappin will most likely be heading for the door as their contracts expire in June.

I expect alot of these players to have a relegation release clause of some kind so some of the ones on contract can move on for free. Failing this at least York will get some sort of financial benefit from outgoing players.

Let me know who you think we should keep by tweeting me.

What about the players on loan?

I have not included players Parslow, Bencherif, Hall or Morgan-Smith on the contracts list because they are contracted on loan until the end of the season. These players have been fantastic for York in the latter stages of the season and with them all out of contract at their parent clubs it gives City an opportunity for next season.


Parlsow was clubman of the year at York City 08/09,10/11 and 12/13.


Realistically I don’t think any of these players will sign. Asa Hall was wanted back by Cheltenham in March, Parlslow was voted players player of the season when Cheltenham won the National League in 15/16, Bencherif left Halifax for Wrexham when they were relegated last year and Morgan-Smith is way too good to be playing in the sixth tier.

That being said in my eyes Parslow has an outside chance of signing. He will be 32 years old in September and obviously has a place for York City in his heart having been at the club 10 seasons.

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