Football sucks. I thoroughly hate the bloody game at the moment (typing this just after a 4-0 loss away at Oxford which pretty much turbo-fucks us as far as Football League survival goes).
But a couple of weeks ago, Nick Murphy asked if I’d knock together an all-time York XI (in a 4-4-2) plus five subs for the Dagenham and Redbridge programme in advance of our game there. And so I share it here for you, to remind you of happier times.
GK: Dean Kiely
Arriving initially on loan, but quickly being snapped up permanently, Kiely played a part in the two great glories of the 1990s – the play-off win at Wembley and the 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
RB: Andy McMillan
Having trialled for Spurs and Hull, the South African signed for City in 1987 and stayed for 11 years. 492 games puts him second on the all-time appearances for the club.
CB: John MacPhail
A stylish but uncompromising defender, MacPhail won Clubman of the Year twice in his three years at City, the first during the 1983/84 Division 4 championship-winning season.
CB: Paul Stancliffe
Not arriving at City until he was 33, Stancliffe still played with distinction, captaining the side to play-off victory at Wembley in 1993.
LB: Wayne Hall
Cult hero thanks to the combination of gingerness and baldness and twelve years at the club. Another alumnus of the play-off win, he struck the winning penalty in the shoot-out with that fabled left foot.
RM: Gary Ford
Classy right-winger who debuted for the club at 17, member of the Championship side of 1984 and the Cup win over Arsenal and draws against Liverpool.
CM: Nigel Pepper
He was a nutter, but he was our nutter. You didn’t want to be on the end of one of his rasher challenges. Owned a rocket of a free-kick too. 1990s stalwart.
CM: Neal Bishop
Only spent a season and a half at the club when we were in the Conference, but he was clearly far too good for us. Clubman of the Year in his one full season.
LM: Jon McCarthy
At a club like York, you don’t often get truly exciting players. McCarthy was one. Twice Clubman of the Year, he was right-sided, but I’m sure he’ll do a job out here.
FW: Keith Walwyn
My first football hero. A man about whom nobody spoke anything but highly. A true gentle giant. 140 goals in 291 matches, second highest in the club’s history, and sadly missed by all.
FW: Keith Houchen
Before his diving header in the final for Cov, Houchen’s FA Cup moment came at a freezing Bootham Crescent in January 1985 as he rolled a late penalty past Arsenal’s John Lukic, the most memorable of his 27 goals in two seasons at City.
Subs: Alan Fettis, Denis Smith, Graeme Murty, John Byrne, Paul Barnes
Basically, what I’m saying is that for two periods in my life – the mid-1980s and mid-1990s – we weren’t utterly shit. Maybe I should have put Byrne in for Houchen, but the latter gave us that moment against Arsenal. Maybe I should have put a left-winger in instead of McCarthy, but I didn’t and I don’t care. And obviously I only went for players I’d seen, otherwise the 1955 side would have got a look-in.
Anyway, now that navel-gazing is done, let’s return to the present reality. *sigh*