City History

Young City

Young Team

By the end of the 2003/4 season that saw City relegated from The Football League, we were fielding one of our youngest ever line-ups. The team that faced Leyton Orient (May 1 2004) at Bootham Crescent was certainly the youngest since the John Bird era and around the same 21.5 years of age that lined up at Scunthorpe on March 2, 1991.

In 1991, against Scunthorpe, the team was: Dean Kiely (aged 20), Andy McMillan (22), Wayne Hall (22), Shaun Weatherhead (20), Steve Tutill (21), Steve Bushell (18), Richard Crossley (20), Tony Barratt (25), Ian Helliwell (28), Iain Dunn (20), Glenn Naylor (18). Scunthorpe won 2-1. It was Bushell's debut.

Against Orient, we lined up with: Chris Porter; Graeme Law, Stuart Wise, Leigh Wood, Dave Merris (Sean Davies); Adam Arthur (Kane Ashcroft), Chris Brass, Darren Dunning, Bryan Stewart; Lev Yalcin, Liam George (Andy Bell). Subs not used: Dave Stockdale, Michael Staley.

The average age of the team which started the match was 21.6 (21 and 200 days). After Liam George, David Merris and Adam Arthur had been replaced by Andy Bell, Sean Davies and Kane Ashcroft, the on pitch average age had dropped to 20.7.

For the final Legaue game a week later at Swansea, the average age of the starting XI was 21.4 (21 years and 133 days). City already relegated, were seeking to avoid a club record twentieth successive league game without a victory. Player-manager Chris Brass reacted by turning to the kids, with five teenagers named in his starting eleven, plus two eighteen-year-olds, a seventeen-year-old and sixteen-year-old on the bench. The late Kane Ashcroft, 17, received a full debut in midfield and was later joined by forward Robbie Haw, also 17. But centre-back Michael Staley, just 16, missed the opportunity of becoming the fourth-youngest player in City's history as he remained watching from the sidelines. Swansea included current Everton manager Roberto Martinez in their line-up, in addition to fellow midfielder Leon Britton, who played against York in a Capital One Cup second round tie between the two clubs earlier this season. Prolific striker Lee Trundle was only named amongst their substitutes. Operating within a 4-3-3 framework and with Adam Arthur and Bryan Stewart flanking Turkish youth international prospect Levent Yalcin in a particularly fresh-faced looking attack, the visitors struggled to pose a serious threat for much of the duration, although Yalcin had a shot on the turn bounce narrowly wide on the quarter-hour. Their goalkeeper Chris Porter had already fended away a Kristian O'Leary volley after Stuart Jones scuffed a chance wide. Paul Connor did have the ball in the back of the net when Leigh Wood's attempted clearance hit defensive colleague Richard Hope. But a raised flag immediately cut short celebrations. Connor also saw a header turned away by Porter, while Hope headed wide from Darren Dunning's corner towards the opposite end. But in truth and with nothing left to play for for either club, it was proving a particularly low-key encounter. Connor broke away after the break and Porter saved again before Bradley Maylett fired across the face of the visitors' goal. Youthful York were never really much of a threat in reply. Stewart's low volley finally produced a routine stop for veteran goalkeeper Roger Freestone and Yalcin also screwed wide from the edge of the box as the contest drifted towards its scoreless conclusion. Some supporters invaded onto the pitch at the final whistle, making their way towards the travelling fans before collectively warmly applauding their efforts as seventy-five years of Football League history heartbreakingly came to an end in South Wales.
Swansea City: Freestone, Jones, Tate, Iriekpen, Coates, Maylett (Roberts 69), O'Leary, Martinez, Britton, Nugent (Trundle 59), Connor. Subs (unused): Corbisiero, Rees, Murphy
York City: Porter, Law, Wood, Hope, Merris, Ashcroft, Brass, Dunning (Haw 60), Arthur (George 76), Yalcin, Stewart. Subs (unused): Stockdale, Staley, Davies
Ref: S. Tanner (Avon)
Att: 6,806

In contract, Jackie McNamara's young player revolution kicked off with a 5-1 home defeat against Accrington in November 2015 when the average age of City's starting line up was over 23 years.

For details of those line ups, see here.

Young Players

Left winger Reg Stockill is the youngest player (15 years and 281 days) ever to play for City. He made his City debut in our first ever Football League match, that day scoring City's first ever FL goal. Stockill only went on to make only one more City League appearance (the first game of the following season) before moving to Scarborough, where he was sold on to Arsenal.

Central defender Lee Grant (16 years and 116 days) is our 2nd youngest ever debutant. He made his Minstermen debut against Bristol Rovers in 2002 as a substitute under Terry Dolan but turned down the opportunity of a scholarship at Bootham Crescent to sign for Aston Villa, for whom he played in 2004 FA Youth Cup final. He returned to City on loan the following season.

STOP PRESS: 7th October 2017: First year, youth-team scholar, Ryan Edmondson became the third youngest player in City’s history when he replaced Amari Morgan-Smith on 73 minutes aainst Brackey, a tactical change rather than one necessitated by injury. He was the first player born in the new millennium to play for City.

3rd youngest is keeper Mick Astbury (16 years and 298 days) who made his debut in 1980. He went on to play in our famous FA Cup win over Arsenal five years later.

With many youngsters making the first team in recent years, Michael Staley qualifies as the youngest (and 4th youngest in our history), although at 16 years and 116 days, he was a non playing sub wen he first make the 16 against Orient on May 1, 2004.

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