Gotta Getaway - The Players
Tony Woodcock He could have been Wilf McGuinness’ best ever signing for City. He did his homework, he did the deal with Brian Clough on the Friday, made his final scouting mission on the Saturday and was ready to part with £12,000 on the Monday when Clough backed out. An injury crisis at Forest meant the deal was off. Woodcock was in Forest’s first team, the rest is history. His goals propelled Forest to top English domestic honours, Division 1 champions in 1978 and then onto winning the European Cup in each of the next 2 seasons. For Woodcock, a glittering career FC Cologne and Arsenal followed, 42 England caps (16 goals) also came his way. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for City as we managed to secure another curly topped striker, Terry Eccles.
Derek Hales The curly top theme continues, as City had previously done a deal with Charlton to sign a young Derek Hales before he broke into their first team and couldn’t stop scoring. Apparently, Hales considered York too far up north and declined our offer. He went onto score 148 goals in 2 spells with Charlton and had spells with West Ham and Derby in between. Along with his goals, he’s well remembered for a rather large beard and when he and his best buddy come striking (Front 2, not boxing) partner, Mike Flanagan were sent off for fighting each other on the pitch.
Alan Shoulder Blyth Spartans striker who starred in their 1976/7 FA Cup run. They thought they were starting another long run when they drew 1-1 at Bootham Crescent in Round 1 the following season. They were wrong, City won 5-3 in an epic cup replay. Shoulder stood head and shoulders (multiple puns not intended). After the game City made a bid for him. Silly man, he turned us down and instead joined Newcastle for £20,000. Can’t think why. He scored 38 goals for them in 4 years before finding his way to Carlisle.
John MacPhail / Keith Walwyn / Dean Kiely You might wonder why these 3 City stars are in a list of players City should have signed. Well, they should have. All 3 were able to walk out of City at the end of their contracts and sign for other clubs competing in the same league as City. In all 3 cases, we received derisory tribunal fees and didn’t adequately replace them, think Mike Pickering, David Buchanan and Tim Clarke, you’ll have to think hard to remember any of them.
Paul Robinson We had 2 strikers with this name playing with us in the 2004/5 season. We could have had their namesake in goal. Paul Robinson was a member of the York City Boys team until being released by City when aged 15, considered not good enough to keep on. As was the case with many other discarded City youngsters, Robinson drafted west to find his next club. Rather than Harrogate, he stayed on the slow train all the way around to Leeds. Being released, we didn't get a cut of future transfer fees or bonuses received for his England appearances or maybe with some of his later England appearances we’re glad not to publicise the fact that he’s one of our old boys.
Darius Charles We actually signed him in a double deal with Michael Gash from Ebbsfleet. Turned out his girlfiriend wasn't keen, so he backed out of the deal a day later. After Ebbsfleet, Charles enjoyed a league career with the likes of Stevenage, Burton and AFC Wimbledon whom he helped to Division 2 play off success in 2016. Usually a centre half, his eye for goal saw him have a run as a striker.
Jamie Vardy In 2011, Having just paid £50,000 for Jason Walker, Gary Mills looked for a striker to play alongside him. He took the name Jamie Vardy (who'd just helped FC Halifax to win the Northern Premier League title, 2 leagues beneath City) to Jason McGill and the board but was knocked back having just signed Walker. Fleetwood, Leicester and England followed for Vardy.