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Knights coach Gary Thornton in squad funding boost
NEW head coach Gary Thornton is to effectively use his own money to bring players to York City Knights.
Thornton who has taken over the Knights’ reins from the departed Chris Thorman, has taken the unprecedented step of donating to the club’s squad builder fund after signing up to a monthly standing order.
How much he is paying into the scheme has not been made public, but Knights general manager Ian Wilson stressed it was not just a publicity stunt to promote the fund.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say how much it is for but it is not just a token gesture,” he said. “We are obviously happy (to publicise the importance of the fund) but this is an actual standing order donation.”
Thornton signed up to the scheme after the supporters’ club staged a packed-out Grand Final race night and question and answer event at Huntington Sports Club, where the coach, assistant-boss Mick Ramsden, captain James Ford and new recruit Jon Goddard spoke to fans.
Thornton said: “I think the principle of supporters helping the team they support by running schemes such as squad builder funds is a massive benefit to the club.
“This is my way of showing my support to those hard-working volunteers and at the same time helping to boost the funds. In a roundabout way I’ll get some benefits too, by hopefully helping to bring in better quality players to coach. It might also encourage others to join as I spend my money very carefully.”
Squad builder committee member and Knights supporter Simon Hall was full of praise for the gesture.
“I am delighted Gary has signed up. There are not many coaches in the game who would put forward their own money to help us build a better squad,” he said.
“He’s obviously very committed to the Knights and I urge supporters who haven’t yet either donated or set up a standing order to follow our new head coach’s lead and assist in making York City Knights a force in the Championship.”
Further details of the squad builder fund, along with ways to sign up, are on the club’s website (yorkcityknights.co.uk) and are available by phoning the club office on 01904 767404.
Meanwhile, the Knights are to take on Super League outfit Hull in a pre-season fixture next year.
Hull will face Castleford in Kirk Yeaman’s testimonial on January 13 and Hull KR on January 20, before a mixture of first-teamers and young talent travel to Huntington Stadium on Sunday, January 27, with the kick off time to be confirmed.
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