WITH their club having been managed by an Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman over the last two years, York City supporters might have felt entitled to a few laughs.

Instead, all three have contributed, in varying degrees, to the sorry joke of a season that has culminated in the club losing their precious Football League status.

Some of the seeds for City’s current predicament were undoubtedly sewn by former Northern Ireland chief Nigel Worthington who, having overseen an unlikely march into the League Two play-offs following the inspired loan signing of Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope, embarked on a summer recruitment drive that continues to have repercussions with forward flop Jake Hyde having been put on the transfer list this week with a year still to run on his generous contract.

Other transfer-market mistakes such as Lindon Meikle, Marvin McCoy, Jason Mooney and Anthony Straker, meanwhile, departed with financial settlements long before the scheduled expiry of their Bootham Crescent deals this summer.

Amid such an environment, proud Yorkshireman Wilcox picked up the baton and deserves recognition for staving off the genuine threat of relegation in 2014/15.

Wilcox’s work through the last close season was less meritorious though.

Having already brought the massively-underwhelming Emile Sinclair to the club, Vadaine Oliver would prove an equally poor acquisition, while Reece Thompson went from hopeful Frickley Athletic trialist to a permanent cash signing on the back of one impressive pre-season goal against Newcastle United.

The efforts of all three, along with the inherited Hyde, fell spectacularly short of providing the thrust and goal threat that has been missing from City’s forward line during four seasons back in the Football League, aside from the brief potential suggested by Wes Fletcher and the clear talent of borrowed loan signing Bradley Fewster.

Coupled with the decisions to release club stalwart Dan Parslow, who is now a National League champion with Cheltenham, while George Swan and Taron Hare were brought in, then it’s clear Wilcox made blunders.

Needing to rely on two full-backs in McCoy and Femi Ilesanmi, who he had deemed surplus to requirement, did not represent a healthy situation either.

Given the team were hovering above the relegation zone by the end of October and nowhere near to fulfilling Wilcox’s stated top-ten target, few questioned the decision to relive him of his duties and the level of supporter unrest, which manifested itself as early as the 3-0 opening day defeat at Wycombe, made his position virtually untenable.

But, whereas the timing of Wilcox’s departure cannot be disputed, the choice of his replacement can be.

Former Celtic skipper Jackie McNamara’s appointment was largely greeted as a positive move if internet reaction is to be taken as a reliable consensus of the general fan base.

Like chairman Jason McGill, City supporters were seemingly seduced and excited by McNamara’s win rate of more than 40 per cent whilst in charge of Scottish Premier League outfit Dundee United.

Few observers at the time were playing devil’s advocate and querying the fact such statistics were achieved in an era when Rangers were plying their trade outside of the top flight, as did Hibernian and Hearts for different periods.

But, aside from such reservations, alarm bells began to ring when, having been parachuted in from north of the border, McNamara confessed he knew little about League Two football.

Disappointingly, that quickly became evident in the Glaswegian’s attempts to apply some much-needed surgery to the Bootham Crescent ranks.

With only the loan market to turn to initially, McNamara decided to give youth a chance with six under-21 rookies thrown in against Accrington.

The subsequent 5-1 thrashing, on the back of a 6-0 thumping at Portsmouth which saw then youth-team coach Jonathan Greening sent off after he was dragged out of retirement, will be remembered as two of the biggest debacles City fans have ever witnessed.

Such a reliance on youth looked a naive experiment that might have been worth a try, but there was consolation in the knowledge that the damage could be negated by responding accordingly during the transfer window.

But, to subsequently take the same approach in January, smacked of folly.

It has since been suggested that decision was based on necessity because more experienced options were simply not available, but that does not tally with the decision to run the rule over potential teenage targets during training sessions in December or the business done by rival clubs later in the window when City had filled their permitted five match-day loan options and more.

Some of the untried, higher-league arrivals during McNamara’s reign were frighteningly unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the physical and mental demands of professional lower-league football, with Jordan Lussey, Ntumba Massanka, Stefan O’Connor and Lubo Satka the most obvious examples.

Others started well but had their confidence eroded as times became tough and perhaps, of all the baby-faced arrivals, only Fewster and Kyle Cameron showed the character to emerge from the other side unscathed.

More senior additions like Derek Riordan and Danny Galbraith didn’t inspire either, as the scene was set for a disastrous run-in of one win from the last 16 games that would see the club finish the season a massive nine points adrift of safety.

In total, McNamara was given the opportunity to bring in 15 players by a staunchly supportive McGill and, for that reason and because he has been in situ since the start of November, he will always be held most accountable for the second-worst campaign, points wise, in the club’s 94-year history.

The former Scotland international’s work on the training ground also came under scrutiny, meanwhile, with Cameron’s startling admission that the club didn’t really do any work on set-pieces, while a total of 30 points surrendered from winning positions during the campaign illustrated the players’ inability to manage match situations professionally.

McGill has steadfastly refused to hold McNamara culpable with fingers of blame in his April statement seemingly pointing to past members of the coaching team who, if they were an unsettling presence as seemed to be the inference, such concerns were swiftly addressed by a parting of the ways with four months of the campaign left to play.

Similarly, Michael Coulson was vilified for a decision hardly unusual at any football club when, as an out of contract player and in his late 20s, he opted to secure his future at a different club.

When he played, injury allowing, Coulson could also normally be relied upon to fire in a spectacular goal, which was much more than others, perceived as loyal to the cause, were contributing.

City’s record under McNamara, sadly, proves conclusively that he was the wrong choice to keep the club in the Football League.

Time will now tell whether he is the right man, as he claims, to usher in a long-term vision that will move the club forward and which, apparently in retrospect, has been heralded by McGill as the chief reason for appointing McNamara in the first place.

He will, at least, get the chance to build his own team, which was arguably never fully afforded to his predecessor Wilcox.

McNamara must now demonstrate transfer market acumen that has so far been absent during his six-month reign, with the likes of Fewster and Lewis Alessan dra already on the club’s radar prior to his arrival.

With the Dundee United squad he assembled last summer having also suffered top-flight relegation for only the second time since the 1930s, his managerial reputation depends on it.

Player Ratings:

Lewis Alessandra

Added some much-needed aggression to the Minstermen’s frontline following his loan arrival from Rochdale in March. Guilty sometimes of not picking his head up and releasing the ball earlier. Showed a desire to influence matches, before seemingly losing a little interest when relegation was confirmed.

Apperances: 11 (0); Goals: 2. Rating: 4/10

Scot Bennett

Aside from a shaky showing against Bristol Rovers, largely a reliable loan recruit, who added value to the team at centre back and in a midfield anchoring role. A clever reader of the game. Also filled in at left back when required with minimal fuss.

Appearances: 11 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 5/10

James Berrett

Scored a handful of very good goals breaking from midfield. Guilty of drifting in and out of too many games. Jackie McNamara struggled to identify his best position after he had started promisingly under Russ Wilcox as the attacking link man in a 4-3-3 formation.

Appearances: 37 (3); Goals: 5. Rating: 4/10

Will Boyle

Had a difficult baptism to life at League Two level following his loan arrival from Huddersfield reserves. Went on to forge a reasonable understanding with Dave Winfield at the heart of defence. Taken out of the firing line, though, following a hapless two-match spell when he scored an own goal, conceded a penalty and got sent off.

Appearances: 12 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

Kyle Cameron

Newcastle United teenager who grew in confidence during his loan spell. Showed a decent turn of pace for a big defender and comfortable on the ball when employed at centre half or left back. Strong in the air too, leading to his first senior goal at Hartlepool.

Appearances: 18 (0); Goals: 1. Rating: 5/10

Josh Carson

Looked hopelessly unfit during the first half of the campaign. As a consequence, restricted to limited starts under both Wilcox and McNamara, but still figured in 25 games to little affect. In his best condition as the season drew to a close, but badly exposed when used out of position at left back against Accrington.

Appearances: 6 (19); Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

Michael Collins

A tidy and intelligent presence in midfield after being brought in on loan from Oxford. Lacked dynamism and energy though. Returned to the Kassam Stadium soon after McNamara’s appointment.

Appearances: 10 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

Michael Coulson

Another injury-hit campaign for the dangerous attacker. When fit, illustrated his ability to produce something out of nothing with several spectacular goals. Upset the club, though, when news of his pre-contract move to St Johnstone broke in March.

Appearances: 23 (2); Goals: 7. Rating: 5/10

Matty Dixon

Found it difficult to impose himself on proceedings following his transfer in January from Hull City, where he was under-21s captain. On occasions needed to move the ball quicker. Will need to come to terms with the speed of the professional game if he is to progress next season.

Appearances: 6 (1); Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

Bradley Fewster

A constant threat when used as a centre forward with an insatiable hunger for scoring goals. His desire for the ball meant he unsettled defences and he displayed an unerring calmness, which belied his age, when presented with a chance to hit the target. Not always as effective when used in a wider role or as a lone central striker, but Middlesbrough have a genuine talent on their hands.

Appearances: 18 (6); Goals: 8. Rating: 6/10

Scott Flinders

Kept as busy as any York City keeper in recent times and, generally, rose to the challenge. Without his saves, the club would have collected even fewer points. Made high-profile mistakes in three or four games, but such a record compared favourably with his outfield counterparts.

Appearances: 48 (0); Goals; 0. Rating: 5/10

Danny Galbraith

Showed flashes of ability, but his end product was frustratingly unreliable. Boasts a career goal record that is dreadful for an attack-minded player who does not offer a great deal defensively. Needs to hurt teams more if he is to resurrect a flagging professional career.

Appearances: 14 (7); Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

Ben Godfrey

Exuded confidence when given his first senior start at the age of 17 by Wilcox in the 1-0 home win over Yeovil. Never afraid to demand the ball from more senior pros and dish out instructions himself. His potential and maturity persuaded Premier League Norwich to make their move in January for the former Archbishop’s Holgate pupil’s services in a deal that could be worth £1million dependant on him fulfilling his potential.

Appearances: 7 (8); Goals: 1. Rating: 5/10

Jonathan Greening

Persuaded to don his boots again following McNamara’s arrival at the club with midfield pair Russell Penn and Luke Summerfield sidelined by injury. Gave a sublime second-half cameo appearance against leaders Plymouth after coming off the bench to a rousing reception from City fans. But blotted his copy book with an elbowing incident that led to a red card and subsequent 6-0 thrashing at Portsmouth and was never seen again before also leaving his role as youth-team manager in December.

Appearances: 2 (1); Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

Luke Hendrie

The on-loan Burnley right back had his pocket picked by some of the division’s more wily wingers, but was always 100 per cent committed to the cause. Had the energy and eagerness to get up and down his flank. The quality of his crossing could fluctuate from game to game though.

Appearances: 18 (0); Goals: 0. Rating 3/10

Jake Hyde

Made 14 appearances during a season when he was declared unavailable more often than he was fit for action. Other than a shot that hit the post to set up Alessandra for his debut goal, it is difficult to recall any other worthwhile contributions. Some supporters quipped he lived up to his surname when he disappeared swiftly up the players’ tunnel after they vented their fury at Dagenham in March and he was only seen on a pitch once more before the end of the season.

Appearances: 4 (10); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Femi Ilesanmi

Provided forward thrust from left back and a whole-hearted approach to the game at all times. Sometimes caught napping defensively though. His endeavour needs to be allied to greater footballing intelligence.

Appearances: 39 (2); Goals 0. Rating: 5/10

Michael Ingham

Did well when given a chance to impress on the final day of the season but, less so, when handed two starts a couple of months earlier. Hard to judge which spell between the sticks was most indicative of where he is now as a goalkeeper. After years as City’s first choice, has been content to lead a puzzling existence playing second fiddle for three seasons at an age when many in his position are in their prime.

Appearances: 3 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

Mark Kitching

Looked one of the more promising loan additions during the experimental 5-1 home defeat against Accrington when City fielded six debutants. Not afraid to carry the ball forward from left back and also strong for his age. Didn’t get another opportunity, though, prior to his return to Middlesbrough.

Appearances: 1 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

Keith Lowe

One of the most puzzling declines seen in recent times. Went from an ultra-dependable, virtually flawless two-time Press Player of the Year winner to an anxious shadow of his former self. Made an early error during opening game of season and never seemed to recover prior to being released soon after McNamara’s arrival.

Appearances: 19 (1); Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

Jordan Lussey

Former Liverpool under-21 captain who struggled terribly after being thrown straight in for his debut against Accrington at right back. Couldn’t cope with the pace of the game and looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. Sent back to parent club Bolton immediately afterwards with an injury.

Appearances: 1 (0); Goals 0. Rating: 1/10

Ntumba Massanka

Came on loan from Burnley with a prolific pedigree in under-21s football. Never looked like reproducing that promise in a City shirt with a poor first touch and inability to make intelligent runs. Proved too raw for League Two football and sent back to Turf Moor long before proposed end to his stay.

Appearances: 1 (2); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

John McCombe

Looked sluggish when given his chance at centre back just before Wilcox’s departure. Never featured under McNamara. Released from his contract in February.

Appearances: 6 (0); Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

Marvin McCoy

Featured in every game under Wilcox at the start of the season despite being put on the transfer list over the summer. Sent in the occasional decent cross but always looked vulnerable defensively. Quickly frozen out by McNamara and moved out during the January transfer window.

Appearances: 19 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

Kenny McEvoy

Gave flashes of his attacking flair, but anonymous in other games. Would have been a real asset if he had hit consistent highs. Might still have been worth greater exposure during closing weeks of the campaign.

Appearances: 10 (9); Goals: 2. Rating: 4/10

Bryn Morris

England youth international who added an extra dimension to the Minstermen with his ability to break forward from the middle of the park. Another who was slightly afflicted by the inconsistency of youth though. Returned to Middlesbrough when McNamara decided he needed to use his loan entitlement in other areas of the pitch.

Appearances: 4 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

Eddie Nolan

Initially looked quite a steady performer and with the versatility to operate in both full-back positions, as well as in midfield. Scored a goal of the season contender at Stevenage. But McNamara was unimpressed by his standards after taking the helm and released him in the New Year.

Appearances: 14 (4); Goals: 1. Rating: 3/10

Stefan O’Connor

Baffling how a young player could benefit from some of the best coaching in the world at Arsenal for so long and then go out on to a football pitch with no defensive awareness. Athletic, but looked vulnerable when used at centre half. Just as lackadaisical at right back.

Appearances: 4 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Vadaine Oliver

Of initial value to the team under Wilcox when the team’s approach was more direct and he showed a desire to flick on regular aerial balls forward. Once that passion seemingly disappeared, though, he cut a lethargic figure up front. A return of one goal from his last 22 games of the season saw fans boo his second-half introduction on the final day at Morecambe.

Appearances: 36 (6); Goals: 10. Rating:2/10

Russell Penn

Disappointing during the opening months of the season prior to picking up an injury at Barnet. Returned before Christmas to provide some guidance to a team that was struggling desperately under McNamara. Gave a smattering of decent displays and got on the sceorehseet during the run-in, but manager still seems unsure of his skipper’s most effective role in midfield.

Appearances: 35 (2); Goals: 3. Rating: 4/10.

Derek Riordan

Nowhere near up to scratch with the speed of the English game after a spell in the wilderness north of the border. Had no impact during his brief outings. A somewhat bewildering recruit.

Appearances: 1 (3); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Callum Rzonca

For all pub quiz aficionados, take note. Name the York City player who’s only two appearances for the club came outside of the country? Answer – last season’s first-year professional, who looks destined to depart following cameos at Newport and Swansea.

Appearances: 0 (2); Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

Lubo Satka

Seemed transfixed by fear for the majority of his six loan outings from Newcastle. Such nerves and tension led to a bizarre own goal against Notts County. Picked up cautions due to poor positional sense and did not feature after struggling at Wimbledon in mid-March.

Appearances: 5 (1), Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Emile Sinclair

Contributed nothing of note in 14 outings. Rarely looked in control when in possession and did not put his pace to good use. Finished the season on loan at Guiseley.

Appearances: 5 (9); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Anthony Straker

Provided three assists for the team, but more by accident than design as his awkwardness briefly bamboozled opposition defenders as well as City supporters. Never really seemed to have a plan in mind when on the ball. Parted company with the club during the New Year.

Appearances: 7 (6); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Luke Summerfield

Eight goals and nine assists will compare favourably with many of his midfield contemporaries in League Two. At his best, a genuine creative force for the team with an ability to deliver telling set-pieces. On other occasions, struggled to offer the same inspiration and dead-ball quality deserted him.

Appearances: 35 (1); Goals: 8. Rating: 5/10

George Swan

Team conceded 16 goals during his four starts and a substitute outing at centre back. Had trouble tracking strikers who used their pace and intelligence to run in behind him. Might have suffered from only being paired once with a more experienced centre half during his limited opportunities.

Appearances: 4 (1); Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

Reece Thompson

Started the season in a blaze of glory, following up a spectacular pre-season goal by hitting the net three times in his opening seven matches as a professional. Appeared to then hit a wall when the adrenalin of his new career subsided. Looked unfit after returning from a four-month absence through illness and threatened nothing off the bench from February onwards.

Appearances: 11 (5); Goals: 3. Rating: 2/10

Rhys Turner

On-loan Oldham striker who, with one tap-in during ten outings, failed to add some much-needed firepower to the City forward line. At least, offered industry and desire. Moved on by McNamara as he looked to strengthen other areas of the team.

Appearances: 5 (5); Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

David Tutonda

Overly-fond of step-overs, but struggled to provide the reliable service needed to make Wilcox’s wing-back system a success during the opening weeks of the campaign. Also suspect defensively. Another that returned to his parent club - Cardiff - during the early weeks of McNamara’s reign.

Appearances: 8 (6); Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

Dave Winfield

Displayed determination throughout the campaign and a strong, physical adversary for all opposition forwards. Made the odd blunder, but far more goal-saving blocks and clearances. A worthy winner of The Press Player of the Year award.

Appearances: 38 (2); Goals: 2. Rating: 6/10

Stephane Zubar

Looked uncomfortable in the left-sided defensive role he was assigned with, following a return from Bournemouth on loan. While playing out of position, an ungainly twist saw him suffer knee ligament damage at Exeter. Subsequently returned to the south coast and his season was over after just five games.

Appearances: 5 (0); Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10