OF all the hollow sounds in the world the most dismaying has to be that of political expediency.

It is a noise usually of empty vessels, spouting forth for the sake of politicking, vote-attracting, or simply hanging on to a position of power.

Now it is a sound which is reverberating around the future of York City and threatening one of the greatest comebacks since Lazarus.

The Minstermen - almost dead and buried - hauled themselves up from their boot-laces on and off the field to rekindle hopes of a brighter and more prosperous future. But all the heroic nature of that sweat-soaked endeavour is in danger of evaporating amid political hot air.

Who's to blame? Take a bow, the City of York Council.

After pledging assistance to the club's proposed move to the Huntington Stadium, the Council's position has, according to fans' pressure group the Friends of Bootham Crescent, shifted.

During the club's dark days of administration no other group, backer, investor, or sugar-daddy was willing to plough money into the club, save for the Supporters' Trust. And with the future of the club's spiritual home of Bootham Crescent out of their control then the core of the Trust take-over was hitched to a move to Huntington Stadium.

Without a stadium, indeed, without the guarantee of a ten-year lease as demanded by the Football League, York City would have been on their uppers.

It remains a ground transfer fraught with obstacles. Large sums of cash will have to be spent to bring the stadium, currently the home of the York Knights Rugby League Club, into line with Football League criteria. And there is the thorny issue as to the future of the athletics track to which legions of the area's best athletes have been drawn for more than a decade.

If the track could still be accommodated then fine, if not, then an alternative would have to be found to the satisfaction of those hundreds of athletes who do not deserve to have their sporting facility ripped from their grasp.

So imagine the delight among the football club when at a meeting of all the prime parties an offer was made by the Council that it would help to re-locate the athletics facilities at Huntington Stadium to another suitable site in the city.

Now, there is the insistent shuffle of back-pedalling. The Council either want the track to remain where it's at or would prefer the football club to stand the bulk of the expense of its re-location.

Just how much money do the Council think City's new owners have at their disposal? Even with grant aid and the cash promise of Bootham Crescent Holdings, the owners of Bootham Crescent, they will barely have £3million to fund a stadium overhaul in which two new stands have to be built as part of a considerable refurbishment.

Why make the promise of help in the first place if there was neither the wherewithal, nor the will to fulfil that pledge?

If there was, indeed, no money and the Supporters' Trust had been made aware of that, then they would have had to consider that the end of the club was nigh. They would not have been able to fund a move to the Huntington Stadium.

So was it a case of being seen to be doing something? Was it just another vacuous act of leaping on to a bandwagon propelled by populist momentum? Of course, the fact that local elections were upcoming was surely a coincidence.

Since then, however, the silence from the City of York Council in response has been deafening, silence that is apart from the empty rap, rap, rap of political expediency.

Updated: 09:15 Tuesday, May 20, 2003