York City 0 Altrincham 2 - Manager Steve Watson says he wants to finish the job as Minstermen miss out again

York City’s year of uncertainty continues. Having finally come out of footballing hibernation, they went back in just 90 minutes later.

A 2-0 defeat to Altrincham in their first game back has restarted the uncertainties.

What will next season being? When will fans return? When can their new stadium open? What will happen to the squad?

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Chairman Jason McGill extended 21 playing contracts to the end of the season, but not beyond. York’s squad now comprises three players.

York City manager Steve WatsonYork City manager Steve Watson
York City manager Steve Watson

“For the first time in a long time, we do not know what the coming months hold for the club and no amount of internal planning or forecasting will resolve that,” admitted McGill.

Manager Steve Watson does not want an overhaul but can he stop his squad breaking up?

Saturday clearly demonstrated one thing – he has to find a way to get more goals. The vast majority of chances fell to men in the maroon Y-front shirts, but the goals went to Altrincham.

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Josh Hancock struck inside 10 minutes and substitute Thomas Peers put the result beyond doubt when Jordan Hulme’s effort bounced off the crossbar to him. In between time, the chances were almost all at the other end.

“That kind of sums up why we didn’t win the league before points-per-game even came into play,” reflected Watson.

It was not just the strikers: “We haven’t scored enough midfield goals, we haven’t scored enough from set pieces, we haven’t scored enough from the wing-backs getting on the end of balls from the opposite wing-backs.”

Now it is back to the drawing board.

“We’ve got a lot to talk about, me and the chairman,” admitted Watson. “We have done a lot of recruitment (work) but we’re waiting for the green light.

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“It’s been difficult trying to organise anything not knowing what division we’re going to be in but now we know and it’s the worst-case scenario.

“We will only have seven or eight months to finish the job off and learn our lessons.”

Players keen to stay in the next division up might be less excited about more Conference North. Those eager to join in the Spring may have cooled in the summer.

“We have a lot of good players,” said Watson. “People will have given them a call and given them offers. They all love playing here and want to play for me but we have to get moving.

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“A lot of players were probably going to have been available but have decided to stay at their club because they wanted a bit of security over this spell.”

Watson joined to take York to the Football League.

“It’s going to take another season, unfortunately,” he said.

“Do I think we would have won the division if we’d finished the season? Yeah, definitely. I’m absolutely devastated but I want to finish the job.

“There’s a lot of mentality changes I’d like to see, not just from the players and the staff but the crowd, the club in general, more positivity.

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“Hopefully, what we’ve done this season has made people kind of believe again.

“When I came here we’d had four terrible years as a club and my aim was to be in and around the right end of the division at the end of the season pushing for promotion and we did that.

“I don’t think we should lose the fact we’ve had a really good season, the best for a long time. We’re going in the right direction.”

Everything else is clear as mud.

York City: Jameson; Tait, McNulty (Langstaff 77), Newton; Griffiths, Buxton (Bond 76), McLaughlin (Maguire 53), Green (Moke 53), Ferguson; Kempster, Burrow. Unused substitutes: Spratt, Whitley.

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Altrincham: Thompson; White (Richman 70), Hampson, Mullarkey, Hannigan, Moult, Mooney (Peers 63), Lundstram, Hulme, Hancock (Williams 80), Durrell (Mahon 80). Unused substitutes: Harrop,Wynne.

Referee: S Tallis.

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