Courtesy: The PressBettson and co targeting spot in futsal Super League8 Feb 2017
by Tom Harle
ENGLAND international Robbie Bettson won’t rest until York City Futsal break through their glass ceiling and into the Super League.
It’s been a mixed week for Bettson – he was part of the England team that missed out on qualification for the European Championships in the preliminary round in Bulgaria.
But on Sunday he returned to help the Minstermen retain their National Two North title with a draw against Tranmere Rovers.
The team’s new association with York City FC helped them recruit Bettson – one of the finest players plying their trade in this country – and with it came the strength of their ambition to apply for promotion to futsal’s exclusive members club.
“Getting into the Super League is the clear ambition for this club,” Bettson said. “That’s one of the main reasons I joined, the chance to progress and build something here.
“It’s not just a chance to be part of a team but also to build a one club philosophy.
“When I first started futsal it was just universities playing each other; Sunday morning stuff, sort of rock up and play. Now the sport is improving all the time and our association with the football club can only make it better.”
Attempts to set up a Super League club in the city have previously been thwarted by the team playing under the banner of the University of York and lacking the necessary facilities.
With York City’s name behind them and the newly-built Sports Arena installed on the Heslington campus, the club surged to the league title with three games to spare and it seems a matter of time before they make their mark at the highest level.
Bettson, who hails from Saltburn-on-Sea, spent most of his career at Middlesbrough Futsal before joining York.
“Things were going well on the court at Middlesbrough, we had a strong team,” he explains. “There were problems behind the scenes with our funding and for the last year it didn’t improve organisationally.
“The team ended up folding and that gave me the opportunity to move down to York.”
The 29 year-old brought youth international Dylan McAvoy with him down from Teesside, as well as his younger brother Jamie.
Head coach Junior Roberti, the embodiment of the sport’s growth in York, left them with an easy choice when he outlined his vision for the club.
“I’ve known Junior for a few years and have always enjoyed playing against his teams,” Bettson said.
“He’s always taken time to speak to me after games and just wishing me well a lot of the time.
“We played York in a pre-season game before the start of the season and with Middlesbrough not likely to continue, he invited us down and it was an easy decision for us.”
The Three Lions, under new coach Mike Skubala, beat Malta and hosts Bulgaria in Varna but a disappointing 5-1 defeat to an unfancied Albania saw them miss out on the one qualification spot for the next stage of the Euros.
Despite a frustrating week on international duty, Bettson took much from the overall experience.
“It’s an insight into what it would be like to be a professional,” he said. “In other countries futsal players train every day, we only train twice a week here.
“There’s all of the access to physios, doctors, strength and conditioning and all the nutrition that professional have.
“Everything is top level stuff. It was really good to experience that.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari