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York City's Best Ever XI

We've all got a different opinion of what represents City's best ever eleven, read on ...

Local Hero

Following a poll, an article in the Yorkshire Evening Press dated (31st October 1998), they named Barry Swallow as York City's all time "local hero". The article went onto say it was a part of a nationwide Football League initiative as part of its centenary celebrations, although that had happened 10 years earlier in 1988, so it was actually celebrating 110 years. The article went onto contain several spelling mistakes and named one player who’d never played for City. The article is reproduced below.

Former club captain and current director Barry Swallow was today crowned York City's 'Local Hero'.

Swallow soared to the top of the poll conducted by the club in association with the Yorkshire Evening Press as part of the promotional campaign to mark the Football League's centenary. Before setting off for this afternoon's visit by City to Wigan Athletic the jubilant votes-victor said: "I am flabbergasted, absolutely amazed. I had never given it a lot of thought, but to win is very, very nice. I am flattered by the fans' support. It's incredible."

The one-time central defensive pivot, who made 312 appearances in a seven-year stint with the Minstermen, polled an emphatic 33% of the voting.

He finished an outright winner ahead of striker Keith Walwyn in second place. Centre-backs Barry Jackson and Chris Topping finished in joint third place in the poll, which generated considerable interest from City fans.

Of the current crop of City stars Andy McMillan finished with the most votes to land fourth place.

The newly-crowned City 'local hero' cited the stars of Doncaster Rovers, his first League club, in the 1950s and 1960s as his own playing champions.

Top of the Rovers' legends for Swallow was his father, the late Ernie Swallow, whose exploits are still recalled with pleasure. "I still get a lot of feedback when I go back to Doncaster from fans who remember dad as a player. Unfortunately I was only 19 when he died. I was so disappointed he never saw more of my career, especially my days with City. With my dad playing there I used to watch Rovers a lot. They were a big club then, a power in the Second Division and used to attract crowds of 30,000 regularly. Alec Jeffrey was a great player in those days as was Peter Doherty, who also managed the team. They were my heroes." said Swallow, who before coming to York played for Doncaster, Crewe, Barnsley and Bradford City.

Now he is a hero in his own right and both City and the Football League, who instigated the poll, are now deciding how best to mark his achievement.

How the votes were cast: Barry Swallow: 33%; Keith Walwyn 16%; Chris Topping and Barry Jackson 5.3% each; Andy McMillan 4.8%; Jon McCarthy 3.9%.

The remaining 31.7% of the votes were cast among the following 35 players: Colin Addison, Paul Aimson, Paddy Atkinson, Paul Barnes, Arthur Bottom, Phil Burrows, John Byrne, Cyril Coultate (Who?- Ed), Graeme Crawford, Richard Cresswell, Wayne Hall, Ian Helliwell, Ian Holmes, Chris Jones, Roger Jones, Norman Jukes, Dean Kiely, Andy Leaning, David Longhurst, Barry Lyons, Alf Patrick, Nigel Pepper, Jack Pinder, Brian Pollard, Alan Pouton, Jimmy Seal, Billy Rudd, Paul Stancliffe, Gordon Staniforth, Paul Stephenson, Sid Storey, Gary Swann, Des Thompson, Steve Tutill and Norman Wilkinson

Read The 1998 Article

David McGurk

On 26th April 2014, David McGurk speaking to York Press nominated his favourite York City XI (from past and present team-mates).

Michael Ingham, Lanre Oyebanjo, Dan Parslow, Luke Graham, James Meredith, Alex Lawless, Neal Bishop, Scott Kerr, Manny Panther, Martyn Woolford, Clayton Donaldson.

Daniel Parslow - Best Teammates

In May 2019, Dave Flett interviewed Daniel Parslow for York Press and asked him to name the best players he played with at City.

In 4-4-1-1 formation Parslow named Ingham; Gibson, McGurk, O’Connell, Meredith; Blair, Lawless, Bishop (N), Chambers: Woolford, Donaldson.

The following is taken from Dave Flett's article in the Yorkpress on May 17th 2019.

Dan Parslow named his Best XI from the York City teammates he played alongside during 11-and-a-half years' service for City. 3 time Clubman of the Year Parslow has opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation and here's his chosen line-up:

Goalkeeper - Michael Ingham "I played with him for years, he was solid and reliable." Like Parslow, the Northern Ireland international racked up more than 300 appearances for City during eight seasons of service from 2008 and 2016. He was between the sticks for the Minstermen’s Wembley twice heroics of 2012. Since leaving Bootham Crescent, he has spent the last three campaigns at Tadcaster Albion and he turns 39 this summer (2019). Nick Pope wasn't here long enough to be considered although from day one he was class.

Right-back - Ben Gibson Arrived on loan at Bootham Crescent from Middlesbrough in February 2012 just a month after turning 19. Subsequently displayed his Premier League class by becoming an impressive performer at centre half and left back as the Minstermen finished the campaign with their two national stadium triumphs. After leaving City, the 6ft 1in defender won ten England under-21 international caps and helped Middlesbrough gain promotion to the Premier League before earning a £15 million move to Burnley in August 2018.

Centre-back - David McGurk Another member of City’s modern-era 300 club, having served the club over a ten-year period. Renowned for the Minstermen’s very own “Bobby Moore moment” when he executed a remarkable goal-saving tackle on Luton striker Tom Craddock in the 2010 play-off semi-finals, earning this reporter’s only ever 10/10 rating in the process. Injury problems troubled him during latter years but was still instrumental in keeping the club in the Football League under Nigel Worthington in 2013. Now forging a career in coaching and finished the 2018/9 season at Hyde as assistant manager to his former City colleague Darren Kelly.

Centre-back - Jack O’Connell Signed by Gary Mills in January 2013 on loan from Blackburn, the then 18-year-old defender possessed a maturity beyond his years amid the pressurised environment of saving the club’s Football League status. Nigel Worthington trusted him at centre half and left back. Now 25, he made 40 appearances as Sheffield United clinched promotion to the Premier League in April 2019.

Left-back - James Meredith Inspired signing by Martin Foyle, who recruited the 21-year-old left back from Shrewsbury in 2009 after he had ended the previous campaign on loan at National League North outfit Telford. Another vital cog in the Wembley-twice squad, with Gary Mills converting him into a midfielder for the play-off final win against Luton. Subsequently moved on to Bradford City and has spent the last two campaigns (2017-9) playing for Millwall in the Championship, while making Australia's squad for last summer's World Cup.

Right-wing - Matty Blair Made a phenomenal contribution to City’s 2012 success, hitting the target in the FA Trophy and play-off final victories at Wembley, as well as grabbing the winning goals in each of those competition’s semi-finals. Moved on to Fleetwood after one season with the Minstermen in the Football League and went on to score the only goal of a two-legged, League Two play-off semi-final against his old club in 2014. Proved he is still the man for the big occasion when he netted for Doncaster against Charlton in the 2019 League One play-offs on Sunday before his club went out on penalties.

Central-midfield: Alex Lawless A cultured midfielder who provided the quality in Martin Foyle’s functional 2010 Conference play-off final team. Departed for Luton Town in 2011 and helped the Hatters win promotion to the Football League three seasons later. Repeated that achievement with Leyton Orient in 2019 at the age of 34.

Central-midfield - Neal Bishop Great addition by Billy McEwan from Scarborough, who became the midfield heartbeat of the Scotsman’s exciting young team that reached the Conference play-offs in 2007. Was a big loss when he subsequently moved to Barnet that summer. A mainstay in the Championship for a season at Blackpool and, at 37, featured in the League Two play-offs for Mansfield in 2019. The central pair were "so comfortable on the ball and could pop up with a goal".

Left-wing - Ashley Chambers Still Leicester’s youngest-ever first-team player at the age of 15, Chambers helped tee up both goals in City’s 2012 FA Trophy final Wembley win against Newport, before returning the following weekend to smash in an emphatic equaliser during the 2-1 play-off final triumph over Luton. Hit double figures as the club’s top scorer in League Two the following season before moving to Cambridge. Now 29, has tormented his old club for Nuneaton and current club Kidderminster in National League North.

Number-10 - Martyn Woolford Another astute piece of business by Billy McEwan, the Frickley Athletic winger was brought to North Yorkshire six weeks before his 21st birthday in 2006. Made the transition to full-time professional look effortless and excited City fans before 17 goals during a difficult campaign for the club in 2007/08 earned him a six-figured move to League One Scunthorpe. The following summer, he went on to score the winning goal against play-off opponents Millwall at Wembley to send the Iron into the Championship. In May 2019, he was released by League Two Grimsby at the age of 33.

Striker - Clayton Donaldson After being farmed out to the likes of Harrogate Town, Scarborough and Halifax, the speedy striker blossomed under Billy McEwan after joining City as a raw 21-year-old hopeful following his release from Hull in 2005. Plundered 44 goals in 93 matches during the next two campaigns before moving on to Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League. Subsequently won ten Jamaica caps and established himself as a trusted Championship marksman with Birmingham and Sheffield United, but only managed two goals in 34 appearances for troubled Bolton during the 2018/9 season at the age of 35.

Manager Gary Mills. "I enjoyed playing my football the most under Gary Mills, he got the best out of me".

Honourable Mentions Richard Cresswell, Scott Kerr and Ben Davies.

Dave Flett - Best XI

In November 2019, on York Hospital Ball, Dave Flett nominated the best team of players he’d seen represent City during his 10 years covering City for the York Press.

In 3-4-1 2 format, he named Pope; Parslow (“amazing shift at back and equally brilliant playing in midfield in front of back 4”), McGurk, Lowe; Blair (“(I need to) shoe horn him in at right wing back, phenomenal in those front 3 positions where he had a bit of licence to roam". He also named Blair as the nicest player he knew at City, Blair bought cakes into YEP office on his departure), Boucaud ("skills and mastery of a football were Premier League class, didn’t do it further up the pitch, would keep the ball well"), Bishop (N), Meredith; Woolford; Donaldson ("so fast and so skilful, a real handful for defences"), Brodie ("strength and pace, he had everything, he should have gone on to play at Championship level").

Chris Topping

In April 2020, Chris named his team of the best players he played with at York City. 1 Graeme Crawford, 2 John Stone, 3 Phil Burrows, 4 Ian Holmes, 5 Barry Swallow, 6 Chris Topping, 7 Barry Lyons, 8 John Woodward, 9 Paul Aimson, 10 Phil Boyer, 11 Brian Pollard. Subs Mike Walker, John Mackin, Dick Hewitt and Ted McDougall.

Russ Penn

When speaking to the “Shooting Towards The Shippo” podcast in May 2020, when put on the spot to name his best team of players he’d played with, Russ Penn included Nick Pope, Lanre Oyebanjo, Keith Lowe (“I’ve played with him at 4 clubs”), Ben Davies, Marlon Pack (Cheltenham), Wes Fletcher (“in his prime unplayable but not fit enough”, Shaun Harrad (Burton), Jack Maghoma (Cheltenham), and Michael Coulson (“definitely a maverick in terms of his personality”).

He also named Nigel Worthington as the best manager he’d worked under “although some might differ”.

David McGurk

When speaking on the Hospital Ball in November 2020, he named his best City team of players he’d played with in an adventurous 4-2-4 formation. Ingham (“you could count the mistakes he made on one hand in over 300 appearances”), Purkiss ("just pips Lanre"), Pars, Luke Graham (”can’t split them, both 7 / 8 every week”), Meredith; Neal Bishop (”grabbed hold of games, too good for some of our players, had it physically and mentally”), Kerr (“drove us on in games”); Donaldson (“on the right, where he played in his first season”), Walker (“untouchable for a period of time before injury”), Andy Bishop (“natural finisher”), Woolford;

YCFC Team Of The Decade - 2010-9


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