OF all the off-field issues that were raised at York City Supporters Trust’s AGM this week, the importance of at least one was intrinsically linked to what you put on it.

Expected operating losses for the 2016/17 season in excess of £500,000, which will be revealed when the club’s accounts are released at the end of next month, is an eyewatering figure for a relegated National League side, not to mention one that benefitted from a £400,000 Football League parachute payment and the financial rewards of winning the FA Trophy final at Wembley.

The lesson is clear – money counts for very little in the quest for football success if it is spent unwisely.

James Mathie – Supporters Direct’s head of England and Wales - extolled the achievements of Wrexham at the AGM as an example of good governance, given they are currently top of the National League table on a break-even budget.

The Welsh club are clearly helped in that respect by an average home gate of 4,333, but there are other reference points for the Minstermen in terms of what can be achieved if the right person is given access to more modest purse strings.

In fact, little more than a decade ago, Billy McEwan built a City team for a fraction of last season’s costs that played the most attractive football in the Conference and reached the play-offs, plucking the likes of Clayton Donaldson, Martyn Woolford, Neal Bishop, Ben Purkiss and Richard Brodie from obscurity.

Donaldson, Woolford, Bishop and Purkiss continue to enjoy distinguished Football League careers and Brodie really should be doing too, if he had harnessed his talents fully.

In contrast, of those brought to Bootham Crescent in the summer of 2016, it is difficult to trace whether the likes of Ben Barber, Franklyn Clarke, Matt Fry, Danny Galbraith, Jack Higgins, Justin Johnson, Fraser Murdoch, Lanre Oyebanjo and Charlie Wardle are kicking a ball around at any level just one season later.

Alfreton Town, meanwhile, are just one of many part-time outfits who, in the past, managed to achieve what City, with a seven-figured backing, couldn’t last season and staved off the threat of National League relegation with a wage bill in the region of £160,000, as recently as 2014.

The Derbyshire club, now in National League North, will even travel to Bootham Crescent in a fortnight’s time with a defender in their ranks – Tom Allan – whose day job is working as a community coach for City’s Foundation.

Last weekend, meanwhile, the Minstermen shared the spoils against a Tamworth team who, with a £250,000 budget, will pay their players at least a quarter of the salaries that chairman Jason McGill reportedly had to cover to the tune of £90,000 last month.

Semi-professional duo Brackley and Spennymoor also remain ahead of City in the National League North standings.

City sporting director Dave Penney witnessed first-hand what the club’s top-three budget acquired in the summer of 2016 when, as assistant manager of Guiseley, he helped the Leeds part-timers thump their Yorkshire neighbours 6-1 to record their first victory of the season after a win-less start of 13 matches.

Penney was instrumental in that humiliation, using his contacts to draft in a couple of key signings and, during a week when City auditor Steve Kilmartin cast doubt on whether the club would still be around to fulfil its last season at Bootham Crescent despite work on the construction of the Community Stadium continuing at Monks Cross, it was encouraging to hear that the former Doncaster boss and City manager Martin Gray are constantly busy looking to bolster the ranks for this campaign and the next one.

On the pair’s packed scouting schedule, Gray revealed: “We were at the Nottingham Forest v Barnsley game last Friday night and we’ll be at Forest’s game against Derby on Monday night. We’re watching lots and lots of players and not just forwards, because we’re looking for next season as well.

“We were also at Gateshead’s games this week and last week and you look at opposition players too, because there will be a lot at clubs with players who are going to be out of contract, so we’re planning for the next 13 games and also for next season by seeing what’s available. We’ve got a big network of games to cover at this moment in time and you have to do that.

“You can’t just rely on DVDs or agent recommendations and that never stops! You get every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to offer you a (Lionel) Messi, but you’ve got to go out and look with your own eyes and, as much as we have people looking and working for us, myself and Dave work very hard on following up what has been seen. There are lots of games being played all the time.

“A lot of the Premier League under-23 matches are played on a Sunday now, but we’re out and about because you have to do your job right.”