York City sack manager John Askey despite 'desire' to keep him

York City boss John Askey (at Port Vale)
John Askey led York to promotion in May. Credit: PA

A row has broken out after a non-league football club sacked their "popular" manager – before claiming they wanted to keep him.

John Askey led York City to promotion from the National League North after being appointed on a short-term deal in November last year.

The 58-year-old former Macclesfield and Port Vale boss, who became a fans' favourite, was given a permanent contract in March.

But a year after he joined the club, Askey has been dismissed.

In an initial statement, City's board acknowledged that Askey's popularity and "incredible success" meant supporters may be "upset and confused".

The statement said: "However, after taking numerous factors into consideration the board are confident that it is in the best interests of the football club."

Following a backlash from fans on social media, the club released a second "clarification" statement.

'No possible solutions'

It said: "Sometimes things happen behind the scenes of many football clubs that require the board to make difficult decisions."

The board said Askey had told directors he wanted to leave the club "but was not in a position to resign due to his personal circumstances".

The statement added: "Both directors expressed their desire to retain John as manager, find solutions to improve lines of communication and working practices within the club. John indicated that he felt there were no possible solutions or remedies."

Board members said they sought legal advice and "unanimously agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest to part company with John".

Their statement added: "We believe that presented with such circumstances any business would have reached a similar conclusion."

York, who beat Woking in their first game back in the National League, currently sit 12th in the table having not won since October's victory over Torquay.

But the decision to dismiss Askey has been met with widespread derision by fans.

Luke Dale wrote on Facebook: "There was a brief window at the end of last season and the start of this season, where it finally looked like we'd escaped the perennial clown show that is York City. But no - normal service has resumed. Incredible."

Marc Smith said: "This isn't in the best interests of York City, it is the agenda of individuals."

John Uttley added: "All the great work achieved last season has now become a laughing stock situation. This is a very sad day for the football club."

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