THOUSANDS of York people who love the art form that is football are staring three months of boredom in the face now the season is over.

But they can fill in a bit of time by visiting a football-based art exhibition has already been sampled by York City players.

The exhibition, at the Castle Gallery, in the Coppergate Centre, York, displays a wide range of football-related art by Middlesbrough-born artist Mackenzie Thorpe.

Peter Salter, York City's commercial manager, said the gallery had offered to donate a picture to the club, titled The Boy That Did Not Get a Ticket.

He said: "In return, we wanted to help raise the exhibition's profile. It is an amazing picture, it will probably go in the boardroom."

Mackenzie Thorpe rose to prominence as the "square sheep artist", when Richmond MP William Hague used one of his paintings for his annual Christmas card while Tory leader.

In a busy day for the York players, they stopped off at the William Hill betting shop, in Swinegate, to help launch a charity raffle.

The raffle costs a pound and offers punters the chance to win signed football shirts, including ones from York and Leeds.

Half the money raised will go to the disability charity Scope.

George Eracleous, Scope fundraiser, said: "We are delighted York City Football Club has decided to help Scope by taking part in the William Hill charity draw. The money raised will go towards supporting disabled people living in Yorkshire and Humberside."

The Castle Gallery is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Updated: 09:06 Monday, May 19, 2003