YORK City fans have been busy mobilising themselves this week to show “solidarity” for their Darlington counterparts at today’s Blue Square Bet Premier clash.

This afternoon’s hosts are still unsure whether their game against the Minstermen will be the last in the club’s 128-year-old history following chairman Raj Singh’s decision to withdraw his financial support.

As it stands, a £50,000 cash injection from fans should provide enough funds to keep the club in business until Monday and City fan Jon Stokes is hoping for a strong display of support from the away end this afternoon.

Stokes, who has been following City since the mid-1990s, recalls all too painfully how the actions of previous Bootham Crescent chiefs Douglas Craig and John Batchelor saw the club come within hours of extinction.

Fan power helped save City then and the We Are York supporters’ group member is hoping the same can happen at his team’s near neighbours.

He said: “We’ve made some banners and between 1,500 and 2,000 A4-sized posters with ‘Football United’ printed on them which we hope all York City fans will hold up before the game. I’d also encourage York fans to donate to the bucket collections around the ground.

“Once the whistle goes we will be getting behind our team because, as York fans, we want three points but we also want to show some form of solidarity to recognise what Darlington supporters are going through. We know what it’s like to be messed about by chairmen.

“Clubs like Darlington, York, Kettering and Chester in the past have been used as play things by rich men and that’s not what football’s about. Football clubs belong to communities and should not be put at risk by the actions of individuals.

“You don’t want to lose teams that have been your traditional rivals and we’ve had some good games at Darlington over the years, especially at Feethams.”

We Are York have been formed to follow up the efforts of the disbanded Jorvik Reds fans’ group, who added colour and noise with the support of their team both in home games and up and down the country.

To learn more about their activities, visit the We Are York page on Facebook.

The Minstermen’s board of directors, meanwhile, will offer their support for Darlington today by paying for their match tickets instead of enjoying complimentary hospitality admission.

Community director Sophie Hicks has also encouraged as many City fans as possible to make the 55-mile journey north this afternoon.

She said: “Having been through very troubled times ourselves ten years ago and, having been only 30 minutes away from closure and extinction, we feel real empathy for the Darlington supporters and all the staff and players.

“Hopefully, we can take around 2,000 York supporters to Darlington for the match, and show the Quakers some solidarity and subsequently contribute £20,000 to £30,000 of much-needed income through our gate receipts.

“As a show of support, the York City directors will be making a donation to Darlington as payment for our match tickets and we won’t be accepting any hospitality on the day to ensure Darlington keep their costs to a minimum. We are also encouraging staff and players who receive complimentary tickets to do the same.

“The two clubs have such a long history. We have played each other so many times and have shared many of the same players over the years.

“Although they are local rivals and we will be striving to win the match and gain three points, we all hope this is not Darlington’s last game and that a solution to their financial problems is found very soon.”

Hicks also added that the plight of Darlington should serve as a warning for other teams but went on to point out that unlike tomorrow’s hosts, whose new stadium has exacerbated their financial struggles, relocation for the Minstermen is crucial to securing a sustainable future for the club.

“The overheads relating to their 27,000 capacity stadium, their average attendance of less than 2000, and the playing budget they set for this season have proved too much for Darlington,” Hicks said.

“Football clubs have to be sustainable to ensure they have a secure future, and this is the reason why York City desperately needs a new community stadium to offer us vastly greater commercial opportunities and relieve us of the burden of maintaining Bootham Crescent – a decaying, 1932 stadium.”

Blair poised to bag back-to-back awards

MATTY Blair will collect a second successive Press Player of the Month award with only defender Daniel Parslow now capable of earning a share of the honours for January.

Winger Blair is five points clear of Parslow going into this afternoon’s Blue Square Bet Premier clash at Darlington.

That means Blair will finish the outright winner of the monthly competition unless he fails to win a point and Parslow is named The Press man of the match and also wins our internet poll to find the supporters’ star man.

Parslow enjoyed that distinction after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Kidderminster, earning two bonus points towards the standings. He received another two points as The Press’ second-highest rated player at Aggborough behind our man-of-the-match Chris Smith.

Smith received three points for that accolade while ’keeper Michael Ingham picked up the last one on offer as The Press’ third-highest rated player in the Midlands match.

In last Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Ebbsfleet, the Press points went to Blair (three), Ingham (two) and Scott Kerr (one).

Blair also grabbed the additional two Player of the Month points as a runaway winner of the website vote.

To be in with a chance of presenting Blair with his January Player of the Month prize at a City home game, vote for your man of the match from today’s clash with Darlington online.

The Press Player of the Year standings (do not include Player of the Month bonus points): Walker 28 points, Blair 23, Kerr 22, Ingham 16, McLaughlin 16, Meredith 15, Fyfield 14, Chambers 12, Smith 11, McGurk 10, Moké 9, Challinor 7, Parslow 7, Oyebanjo 6, Boucaud 5, Pilkington 2, Henderson 1, Reed 1.

January Player of the Month standings: Blair 13, Parslow 8, Kerr 7, Ingham 3, McLaughlin 3, Smith 3, Pilkington 2, Fyfield 1.

Goals: Walker 15, Blair 14, McLaughlin 10, Chambers 8, Reed 7, Challinor 3, Fyfield 2, Moké 2, Pilkington 2, Smith 2, Ashikodi 1, Blinkhorn 1, Boucaud 1, Henderson 1, McGurk 1, Meredith 1, own goal 1.

Assists: Chambers 10, McLaughlin 10, Blair 8, Meredith 7, Moké 7, Pilkington 7, Walker 5, Kerr 4, Reed 4, Challinor 2, Oyebanjo 2, Potts 2, Henderson 1, McGurk 1, Parslow 1, Smith 1.

Bad boys: McGurk 8 yellow cards; Smith 6 yellow; Boucaud, Walker both 1 red, 3 yellow; Kerr 5 yellow; Challinor, Meredith both 4 yellow; McLaughlin, Parslow both 3 yellow; Fyfield, Moké, Oyebanjo, Reed all 2 yellow; Brown 1 red; Ashikodi, Chambers, Ingham all 1 yellow.