Part 1: The scale of the pandemic emerges

AFTER initial upheaval and the 2019/20 season being ended prematurely, attentions turned to making sure York had a fair crack at getting promoted.

The battle for the play-offs

April 28 – A letter is reportedly sent to National League clubs warning that the number of promotion places could change.

May 21 – The English Football League calls relegation “integral” to the competition’s integrity, allaying some fears about promotion from the National League.

May 27 – The FA grants the National League an extension to the deadline by which play-offs must be completed. Play-offs are still not guaranteed.

June 11 – The National League propose the season should be determined by points per game. First-placed in National League North, York are now set to cede top spot to King’s Lynn Town.

It is not clear whether play-offs are classed as ‘elite’ sport and allowed to go ahead.

June 12 – York start the #Promote2 campaign to push the National League North to keep two promotion places open. National League South outfit Havant & Waterlooville do the same.

June 14 – York City’s request that the second-placed team be promoted is knocked back. Alan Mak MP writes to National League chairman Brian Barwick calling for play-offs to be held, noting that the Government “has not expressed a view” on their elite status.

June 16 – York receive an ‘ordinary resolution’ vote on whether the play-offs should take place “if legally possible”.

June 17 – The resolution is “overwhelmingly” backed in the vote. York’s place in the play-offs is confirmed “subject to competition rules and Government guidance”.

June 18 – York push the National League to honour the second promotion spot in the event that the play-offs cannot take place.

June 19 – The FA say that Steps 1 to 7 will not be able to restart without fans. A September restart looks possible. Any restart after the New Year could see the 2020/21 season declared null and void.

June 23 – A play-off semi-final target date of July 25/26 is set. Clubs are required to present a thorough Covid-19 testing plan to the National League medical officer.

June 28 – The York City Vice Presidents Association matches the fundraising efforts of fans from a crowdfunder launched in March to take York’s 2020/21 recruitment budget to £30,180, guaranteed to be spent only on assembling and developing the team.

July 1 – City report no positive Covid-19 cases from the first round of testing.

The National League receives £200,000 from the Premier League to help hold the play-offs. York estimated in May they had lost more than £250,000 while chairman Jason McGill estimates that play-offs could cost the club between £120,000 and £150,000.

July 4 – Play-off date set for July 25. The FA are yet to ratify June 16’s resolution.

July 10 – York fans can buy cardboard cut-outs for the play-off semi-final, which will be against the winner of Altrincham v Chester.

July 17 – National League confirms rules for play-offs, including numbers of substitutes and the removal of extra time.

The FA Council’s ratification of the play-offs is confirmed.

July 19 – The FA and Government announce the Step 1 and 2 seasons will start no earlier than September 5. Pre-season friendlies between non-league clubs can take place from August.

Altrincham beat Chester 3-2.

July 25 – York lose the play-off semi-final 2-0 at home to Altrincham.

Part 3: York look ahead to 2020/21