And on who - that's the question.

CITY'S poor start to the season has left many tipsters wondering whether they've been too careless with their cash.

Optimism has always counted for nothing, of course.

Last night's trip to Carlisle aside, three games into the new season is far too early to tell whether City's dreary form is merely a hiccup or a worrying indication of another long, hard slog of a season.

In any case, even the so-called experts get it wrong.

In their pre-season predictions, The Daily Mirror's football writers all back Darlington to, if not win the Division Three title, then finish among the automatic promotion places, with Carlisle and Shrewsbury favourites for the drop.

York are conspicuous by their absence.

I maybe wrong, but it seems likely my peers in the national press have, rather unimaginatively, allowed last season's standings to form the basis of their opinions.

Or perhaps not - as Ian Edwards is backing Marco Gabbiadini's Northamp-ton, promoted to Division Two last year, to finish second in the basement division!

Now what odds would you get on that?

York City provided that personal touch for Yorkie, the club mascot, as he anxiously followed the Alan Fettis will-he won't-he sign saga this summer.

I understand the loveable lion - aka Steve Ovenden - was threatening to have kittens as York manager Terry Dolan waited for Fettis to commit himself to the Bootham Crescent cause.

So much so, Yorkie bombarded the City office throughout the summer with telephone calls inquiring as to whether the Northern Ireland shot stopper had agreed a new deal.

Fortunately for Yorkie, on the day Fettis finally put pen to paper the amiable shot-stopper was passing through the office and was persuaded to ring the furry-faced feline and announce the good news direct from the horse's mouth, as it were.

Yorkie was not in, but Fettis left a message on his answer-phone saying simply: "Hello, this is Alan Fettis. I've signed."

One can only imagine Yorkie's face when he finally arrived home to hear the good news, but I understand he continued to call Bootham Crescent to make sure it wasn't a wind up and has now kept his personalised Fettis message for posterity.

NEXT Saturday's trip to Darlington has been declared all-ticket.

Tickets for the match will be on sale in the Bootham Crescent ticket office after Monday's Bank Holiday clash with Barnet.

Some 450 seating tickets will be available, priced £10 and £6 concessions, with 250 tickets (£7 and £4) available for the Paddock.

Disabled people are asked to contact Darlington to make arrangements on 01325 242016.

THE York City Supporters' Club recruitment drive has almost reached the 500 mark towards a membership target of 1500 and representation on the Bootham Crescent board.

At the last count in midweek, some 493 fans had signed up to the club.

RYAN Giggs running scared?

You wouldn't think so, but was it just coincidence that the Welsh wing wonder was subbed at the same time as Wayne Hall was beckoned from the bench during York's pre-season friendly with Manchester United?

It was Hall, of course, who gloriously nut-megged Giggs during the Minstermen's never to be forgotten 3-0 trouncing of United at Old Trafford back in 1995.

Perhaps Giggs was keen to avoid another red-faced moment at the hands of City's red-topped full-back.

THE York City Five went goal crazy in the first round of the Worthington Fives, the first ever amateur five-a-side tournament giving fans the chance to represent their nominated pro-club in a national event.

The City team, showing five changes from the squad announced in this column last week, of Graham Bootland, Shaun Turner, Mark Willougby, Steve Smith, Nik Shaw and Simon Kehoe beat their counterparts from Stoke 16-1

The York Five will now face the Newcastle Five in the Second Round on Sunday, September 24 at the Powerleague Soccer Centre in Nottingham.

The Worthington Fives final will be played as a curtain raiser to the Worthington Cup Final in February, with the winners scooping an all-expenses paid trip to a top European game.

All 92 Carling Premier-ship and Football League clubs are to be represented in the tournament. The First Round draw mirrored that of the actual Worthington Cup.

BACK in April, this column begged the question just how City's nickname, 'The Minster-men', came into being.

The moniker, replacing 'Founded 1922' on the club badge and other nicknames such as the Robins, City and the Happy Wanderers, following the 1954-55 FA Cup semi-final run, first appeared in the Rothmans Football Yearbook for the season 1972-73.

But how it was born remained a mystery.

However, former Evening Press Chief Sports Writer Malcolm Huntington has now shed some light on the 'who dunnit'.

Malcolm, who followed City's fortunes for our readers for 27 years, believes it was coined by a tabloid journalist making a rare visit to York during a successful City cup run.

The Evening Press would be pleased to hear from any fans able to shed more light on the origins of the club's numerous nicknames. City may also have been known as the Chocolatemen or the Marionettes in the past.

YORK City's home matches against Torquay United on November 11 and against Plymouth on March 31, 2001, will offer £1 entrance for children under-16 when accompanied by an adult.

The kid-a-quid initiative was introduced last season by City and was deemed a big enough success for a repeat performance.

Reduced £5 entry for students will also be available for City's home games against Leyton Orient on October 21 and Shrews-bury on December 2.