(Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
By Chris Dunlavy
YORK defender Daniel Parslow says it’s time for the Minstermen to stop apologising and put things right.
Relegated from League Two in 2016, a shambolic start to last season under Jackie McNamara saw York slump to the foot of the National League despite a top-three budget.
Former boss Gary Mills returned in October but even his stellar efforts failed to avert successive demotions, a final-day draw against Forest Green condemning the club to Step 2 for the first time in their 95-year history.
Supporters protested outside the boardroom. Club legend Richard Cresswell publicly blamed McNamara, now working at the club as CEO. Even BBC commentator Guy Mowbray weighed in to savage the Scot.
So far, so bleak. But, buoyed by victory over Macclesfield in the FA Trophy final and the retention of several key players, Parslow says the time for self-pity and recrimination is over.
“What happened was devastating,” says Parslow, a veteran of nine seasons at York who returned to Bootham Crescent in January after two years with Cheltenham.
“A club the size and stature of York City shouldn’t be in National League North. A lot has to go wrong for that to happen, and it obviously did.
“We were all hurt. All disappointed. The Trophy final was a bittersweet end to the season because nobody could just forget what happened a few weeks before.
“But there was a bit of a lift, and the gaffer’s really seized on that. He’s fined anybody who talks about relegation, been 100 per cent positive. And he’s right. You can’t change what happened in the past. You can’t keep apologising. You can only try and improve today, tomorrow, the day after that.
“Every day we go into training, we think ‘Right, how can we be ready for promotion?’ All we want to do is put things right.”
Parslow, promoted to the Football League with York in 2012 and Cheltenham in 2016, makes no bones about York’s objectives.
The Minstermen are 4-1 second favourites for the title behind big-spending Salford City – another big fish in an increasingly shark-infested division. “We are one of the favourites, and rightly so,” adds Parslow. “Like I say, York shouldn’t be in this division and we fully intend to get out at the first attempt.
“With that comes pressure, but it’s good pressure. When you’ve been teetering at the bottom and struggling for points, being expected to win is nothing. You have to relish it.
“But we’re not taking anything lightly. You’ve got Stockport and Kidderminster. Salford are expected to do big things, Darlington reached the play-offs last year. They’ll be up there again.
“There’s a lot of money in that league and we’re under no illusions how hard it’ll be. But, if we do our jobs, we’ll win more than we lose.”
Parslow, midfielder Simon Heslop and skipper Sean Newton are among eight players retained by Mills.
“That was the gaffer’s main objective,” adds Parslow. “And the fact we all stayed shows a genuine belief that we’ll bounce straight back.
“We’ve got a lot of experience in the team. Jon Worsnop is 34 and played a lot of football. Jon Parkin has done it at the highest level. And the new lads look good. Louis Almond scored a couple of screamers against us for Southport last season. I think he got himself a move that night because they were absolute world beaters. He’s looked really bright.
“Theo Wharton looks steady, neat and tidy in midfield. And we’ve brought in a young centre-half who looks promising – Jassem Sukar. It’s really rejuvenated the group.
“For two years, the supporters have been used to watching their team lose matches. It’s not been nice for anyone. Hopefully, this season is the start of an upward spiral.”