IAIN DUNN has noted that John Askey gave York City “a belief” that players benefitted from as they secured promotion to the Vanarama National League.
City beat Boston United 2-0 in the National League North play-off final at the LNER Community Stadium to bring an end to their five-year tenure in sixth-tier football.
With the season seemingly lost at its half-way point, the introduction of Askey revitalised the club and saw them thunder up the table into a play-off place.
“I think, at the time, a change was needed,” reflected Dunn.
“Steve Watson and Micky Cummins didn’t get any luck at the start of the season and the injuries compromised and off-field things got in the way too. That made for an unhappy place.
“John Askey came in and he got them fitter and sharper.
“I think by doing that, he gave them a belief. I think that the players bounced off that.
“The players needed someone to believe in them and I think that they returned that in massive doses.
“This looked like a team that believed in what it was doing. If you do that, you’re going to have success.”
Askey was initially brought in to be part of the management set-up at York City after Micky Cummins was suspended.
He spent one game in this role before being swiftly named as interim manager after Watson left. Askey was then appointed on a full-time basis in March.
I must admit, I felt sorry for Steve Watson and the club at the start of the season because he literally had no defence for those first three or four games,” noted Dunn.
“I just don’t feel like he recovered from that. They went into the season with high hopes but they were almost dashed within those first three or four weeks.
“Fair play to the board because they just thought ‘We need to change this’. I think Steve Watson was unlucky but it did need that change.
“The board had the foresight to give John Askey the job and what a decision that was.
“He is the catalyst, make no mistake about it. It took him a while to get his processes across to the players but once he did, and he got the team fitter and sharper, the players bought into what he was telling them.
“That final run-in was really quite marvellous.”
Askey’s journey with York to the play-off final and ultimately, to the National League, was an incredible achievement given where the club were upon his arrival.
The culminating game against Boston was played in front of a record crowd at the LNER, with just under 7,500 fans gathering for the match.
“To have 7,500 people there, for the LNER Community Stadium, it was a signature moment and it was a moment that the club, the York City fans and the people of York needed,” implored Dunn.
“It erupted. We all know the potential of the club but I think on Saturday, when you saw the noise and the atmosphere that the crowd created, we want more of that. It was fantastic.”
“I’m a grown man now but I’ve been supporting City since I was six, on and off, because I had my own career to look after.
“But I went to Wembley in 1993 and when my football career ended, I reverted back to type and was again a City fan. I was then very lucky to go into the media-side of things.
“National League North, without being disrespectful, isn’t a place that York City should have been entertaining, given that it’s a full-time of its stature.
“To get that promotion in the first year of the new stadium, in the centenary year, it felt like everything was aligned.
“I just hope we can kick on now and take advantage of the strides that have been made.”