Comment YUSU Elections 2018

Still a sporting chance

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Johnson impressed, Scott too; Mildon, meanwhile, puzzled and mused, whilst Stash went blow for blow as Sneddon's supporters stole the show.

The hustings for the hotly-contested position of York Sport President 2009-2010 were a lengthy affair, with the questions flowing freely and all candidates desperate for the merest hint of an edge going into next week's voting, but after gorging on a veritable feast of hot air, I could see no clear winners or losers at nine o'clock on Tuesday night.

Early favourite Emily Scott will have done her bid no harm, despite showing a few nerves on stage in front of a demanding crowd. And Michael Sneddon's raucous army of supporters may have cheered him to the rafters (and booed returning officer and pirate policeman Tom Scott to the doldrums when he cut 'our Sned' short during an Eric Cantona quote), but it will all matter relatively little to the casual electorate, whose no-show stunk of a repulsive, but vaguely understandable, apathy towards the whole hustings process.

I say 'understandable' because the general lack of originality across the spectrum of the candidates' answers certainly left me craving some fresh ideas and doubting the value of the evening as a whole. However, Kath 'Viking Kath' Mildon did provide a real 'alternative' option with an intriguing talk of fruit cafes and bicycles for hire; and she even entertains hope of using the central lake for water sports. But a question on how the candidates valued 'success' as pitted against 'participation' revealed a distressing lack of depth resident beneath their bubbly exteriors. Yes, of course participation breeds success, that is self-evident and, surprise!, all candidates agreed on this, but how the next president would hope to integrate the two was what we really wanted to know and, in any case, why should a president crave half-baked BUCS 'success' at all, if that's what the term means?

Only Sneddon gave hint of a definitive answer, equating success with BUCS rankings and suggesting all participation be aimed at that goal - a misguided understanding if ever one was aired within the confines of L/028 - and, as such, he exposed a carelessness by refusing to guarantee support for college level sport ad infinitum. He may well have a weighty job on his hands if he hopes to reel back those college stalwarts he has now alienated. In contrast, this is an area in which Emily Scott really does excel. The revelation that she has played "every college sport" for Halifax certainly sticks in the memory and, no matter the absurdity of the notion, showing commitment to a variety of sports at lower levels - all the while representing York at university level in many others - will be a major fillip to her in the coming week. Such things might even cost Sneddon, a self-confessed 'non-player', any chance at fulfilling his presidential aspirations.

Gemma Johnson, meanwhile, will have surprised a few voters during an assured and considered performance and may, in deed, have derived the most benefit from the hustings process. Her pledge to take issue with the £40 membership fee will be welcomed by all, but she was not alone in opposing the lofty price, with Sneddon and Mildon keen to jump on the bandwagon. This topic, as my fellow Sports Editor Adam Shergold pointed out on Monday, will certainly continue to play an important role. Of the other candidates, it is Michael 'Stash' Leahy who may yet have the best answers to the critical financial issues given his experience as treasurer and he certainly displayed a sensitivity to the topic, but the club budgeting problems that have coloured this sporting year and the suspicious £10,000 surplus currently bulging in the York Sport bank account may cost him a few votes, too.

With the questions coming thick and fast, the candidates retreated into the over-egged diplomacy that is so often on show at these events, giving vague, non-descript, and generally indistinct answers on the issues of minority sports, LGBT participation and the perception of York Sport as a splinter clique of YUSU.

It will need a little more spark from one of these candidates to give us a clear front-runner. Alex Lacy gained significant support for his campaign last year with an exhibitionist, David Blaine-style day of press-ups that lit-up market square. If these five fail to show their undoubted individuality, and still harbour hopes of a famous landslide in week nine, they could do a lot worse than follow their predecessor's example.

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1 Comment

Michael "Stash" Leahy Posted on Sunday 18 Aug 2019

Are you referring to the PS10,000 surplus that we've already redistributed the majority of? Here's a few causes that have received grant money directly from the PS10,000...

Subsidized training for Riding
Competition costs for Cheerleading
Coaching equipment for Gymnastics
Coaching for Pool & Snooker
Timing equipment for Swimming & Waterpolo
Safety equipment for YUSnow
Lecture for Jiu Jitsu
Coaching subsidy for Women's Lacrosse
Match equipment for American Football
Helping Fustal run their own tournament at York

This is just club development. This term, York Sport has put more than PS9200 back into York Sport clubs. Next term, we've still got over PS7000 earmarked for the development of our clubs. This wouldn't have been possible without the sound financial planning implemented throughout this year.

All clubs were emailed highlighting the availability of the funds, and we're thrilled that so many diverse clubs have taken us up on the offer.
The money was allocated in accordance to our commitment to equality between all York Sport clubs, as agreed earlier in the year.

All this information is available in the York Sport Committee minutes at and distributed to all the clubs.


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