YORK City co-chairman Matt Uggla will look to learn from the mistakes of his debut year in charge of the football club. 

A season of promise ended on the final day with York avoiding relegation back into the Vanarama National League North by merely goal difference, with City escaping the drop on the last day of the campaign for a second year running. 

But with Minstermen boss Adam Hinshelwood acting quickly in the transfer window to bring in five new faces early on, Uggla has identified the mistakes made on his part last campaign and is working to avoid similar errors in the coming campaign, after reflecting on a ‘really long’ season that didn’t go as planned for the chairman.

“To me it feels like an eternity, it’s been a really long year. I’ve not lost any hair, but definitely some sleep over the course of the year,” Uggla told York Hospital Ball Podcast, who produced an exclusive, excellent interview on Saturday that can be found in full here

“The measure of someone is that everyone is human, we’re going to make mistakes. 

“Do you have enough about you to recognise the mistake, learn from it and put it right? I think that hopefully I do, last year wasn’t a success in many ways, but I love this club with all of my heart. 

“The losses hurt me probably more than anyone in ways that were pretty heavy, and at certain points of the season it was pretty exhausting.

“I think we’ve come out unscathed in terms of the division we’re playing in, hopefully you can already see the signs of things starting to turn with being far more sensible in what we’re doing, rather than maybe being a bit more trigger happy and saying yes to everything.

“It’s a far more measured approach.

“Even by this time last year we weren’t in the door, so you can see how much business we have done already.

“I think that we potentially missed the boat last year with a lot of the free agents coming out of clubs, our club had also already been offered new contracts so we were left in a bit of a weird place.

“The recruitment was extremely rushed, it was almost like throwing darts at a darts board blindly and saying that we’d take that guy and that guy, some of them have worked out really well.

“Most would agree that Dipo Akinyemi is a superstar for this level and is also a great person, and others haven’t worked out so well.

“It was a real kind of roulette, but coming in, getting our business done earlier and having a plan in place for what we want to do once the season ended will hopefully pay dividends.”

Plans for the 2024/25 Vanarama National League season are well underway for York, with Uggla admitting that following City’s 2-0 victory over Woking in mid-April, he was confident that he could begin preparing for another season in the fifth tier, rather than suffering relegation.

York City began planning for next season after beating Woking 2-0.York City began planning for next season after beating Woking 2-0. (Image: Tom Poole)

The cogs have already begun spinning, with five signings through the door and a further one expected this week, with City now using a more measured approach for bringing in potential transfer targets.

Uggla told York Hospital Ball: “It was a weird one, because it took a while to understand what division we were going to be in.

“Once things started to clear up, and I know that it was the last day that we stayed up, but I think that internally we felt that after the Woking game it would have taken a lot for us to [go down], and we would have been very, very unlucky.

“Probably after that we started to move forward with our approach on things, doing our homework and throughout the year already having lists in place.

“It was just doing those final bits, which I don’t think we really did last year, but finding out about players’ personalities.

“A lot of the times last year we had just one target where we had to get that player in, it made us desperate and that showed by overpaying on not just the fee but wages, but this time if our top target doesn’t work out or their being silly, the agent is being silly then that’s fine, see you later, onto number two, three or four. We’d be happy with all four of them.

Uggla would also go on to explain his cryptic message on social media which was posted in January, which read: “Goes to plan I feel January could be the biggest month we as a club will have had for a long time and help us really move to the next level.”

The City chairman confirmed that the club had been close to bringing in a statement name alongside Billy Chadwick, who was the single addition in January.

“I’m not going to lie, I completely forgot about January but there was one deal that was close that would have been really big.

“For some reason it didn’t go through, that was probably what I was alluding to, but other than that I don’t think that we looked too much to add in other than Billy.

“I think you’ve seen it so far in this Summer too, players are coming in at ridiciously high demands but as a club we have to set non-negotiables and say ‘look, this is what we pay for this’ and ‘this is what we pay for that’.

“I rate that structure no matter what, if we can do that then hopefully, in time, that reputation will restore itself and people will become more realistic.”

As part of York’s new recruitment structure, Uggla also looked back upon the impact of David Stockdale, Head of Recruitment, and Matt Lever, Recruitment Analyst, as well as why he thought that the two positions didn’t quite work out for the football club.

David Stockdale left his role as Head of Recruitment.David Stockdale left his role as Head of Recruitment. (Image: Tom Poole)

The duo both exited last month after less than a year in their roles.

Uggla explained: “The idea with those guys was to have a system in place there to help the manager, and I think that they both did a good job but were just new to their roles.

"Maybe that didn’t help, but it is what it is, they’ve moved on and we wish them both the best."

With the 2023/24 season now at an end, Uggla looked back upon his highlight of the season, paying homage to Hinshelwood after City’s response to a dastardly 6-1 defeat to Altrincham.

A run of form helped York finally get over the line in confirming their safety and position in next season’s National League, with that important triumph over Woking seeing the Minstermen all but safe heading into the final day of the campaign.

Uggla told York Hospital Ball: “I think watching, and it was maybe a bit of a phoenix out of the ashes moment, but everyone watching and maybe themselves had written the team off, and had condemned us to going down.

“There was a lot of negativity towards Adam, which I know really affected him because we speak often, so I know that it really affected him.

“Watching him turn that around gives me a tingle just thinking about it, it was special and I don’t think it could have happened to a better man.

“Watching that and watching them all kind of turn, whilst also going from that Altrincham game to going to the final game of the season [a 1-0 defeat to Solihull Moors, with York surviving by goal difference], it was pretty surreal.”