York begin bid to join Linnets in National League
- Credit: Archant
King’s Lynn Town’s closest rivals, York City, will be looking to join the Linnets in the National League when they take on Altrincham in today’s play-off semi-finals.
York were top of National League North when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of football back in March. But they dropped to second, behind Lynn, on the points per game calculation that decided final standings.
York boss Steve Watson tasted Champions League football with Newcastle and appeared in an FA Cup final during his playing days, which also took him to Aston Villa, Everton, West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday.
However, he insists today’s semi-final showdown is as important as anything he has experienced in the past as he makes his way as a manager.
Watson said: “This is my most important game, absolutely, I’ve said that to the players. The next chapter in my life and career is to be the most successful manager possible for me, and this is without a doubt the biggest day of my career as well.”
The winners face Gateshead or Boston in the final.
Watson added: “I’ve said to the players, even the players who have been promoted, it has to be the same for you because to have a promotion on your CV, your futures, your next contract, everything depends on it.
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“I know it’s not life and death compared to some things that have gone on – and always try to make a point of saying that because the world has changed completely. Thousands have lost lives, thousands have lost jobs, thousands have lost businesses.
“But in football terms, my career terms and the players’, this is huge, absolutely huge, and for the fans and the club.”
York, who have spent the last three seasons in National League North after back-to-back relegations, lobbied for the top two to be promoted automatically after clubs voted to end the season, but ultimately had to make do with a play-off semi-final berth.
Watson and his players swiftly put their disappointment to one side as they returned to prepare for the game and their sole focus after a 20-week lay-off is taking a step back towards the Football League.
He said: “When I came to the club, my goal was to immediately try to turn it around. To all intents and purposes, we still consider ourselves to have finished at the top of the league.
“Obviously points-per-game has made us finish second, but still from where we have been for four years to where we are now, whatever happens the club is certainly going back in the right direction and where a club like York and the fans deserve it to be.
“We just want to finish the job off, we desperately want to finish the job off.”