York City's Naughty Boy Step

For all the highlights in City's illustrious history, we've had our fair share of lowlights, both on and off the pitch. Below is our list of candidates for York City's naughty step, reserved for those naughty boys, some far more so than others, who have discredited City. The steps are largely filled by off the pitch miscreants, the bad players went straight into York City's all time worst team. So reading down from the top step down ...

DOUGLAS CRAIG (and BARRY SWALLOW) As chairman, Douglas Craig’s reign started well with our first Wembley triumph in 1993, followed by 2 good seasons in the 3rd flight and a League Cup win over Manchester United in 1995. Craig had been a City supporter for many years before joining the board in 1978 and becoming chairman in 1990. His political views were well known and even some people who disliked him and his forthright opinions respected him for his fairness. In the early years of his reign as chairman, City enjoyed steady progress, with promotion via Wembley, a second successive play off season, a 3-0 Old Trafford win and strong youth team seemingly putting City on a strong upwards curve. Within a month of the United win, Craig was involved in an altercation with the team after a 6-1 defeat at Peterborough. The season petered out, survival was only confirmed 5 days after the official end of the season on a Thursday morning in Brighton. A successful youth policy provided players for the first team whilst the sale of starlets such as Jon Greening, Richard Cresswell and Graeme Murty would eventually net the club nearly £3m. Cries of “where’s the money gone” were answered by paying over £700,000 for the likes of (oops, nearly called them players) Colin Alcide, Barry Conlon, Gordon Connelly, Rob Matthews, Adrian Randall, David Rush, John Sharples and Mark Tinkler. A rot set in, along with the inflated fees paid, City’s wage bill spiralled out of control. The wage bill was £1.6m in 1999/2000 (the first one back in Division 4) and was twice as big as that of 5 seasons earlier. It rose to £2.16m in 2000/1. This at a time when total income was around £1.4m and total expenditure was £2.7m. Those 2 seasons saw City’s wages to turnover amongst the worst ever known in English football. With a changing transfer market and City’s youth production line drying up, there were no big sales to cover the losses.
Since our formation in 1922, City’s shares had been traded at (or around) their £1 face value, most being passed from director to director, some being held by fans. The vast majority of the shares were held by a small number of people, mainly the directors, a small number were held by a few fans (some had been passed down through several generations and others bought in 1979 or 1983 when the share capital was expanded). The directors were seen as the moral guardians of the club, performing their duties as a labour of love and not seeking to profit from York City, looking after it and passing control onto the next generation. Indeed, given the amount of time and effort (and often additional financial backing provided), it was often a loss maker. No one had ever looked to make a share trading profit, indeed some had been bought at £1 and sold for less.
In 1999, in an attempt to safeguard City’s future in the case of liquidation, the directors decided to split the football club from its main asset the ground. Bootham Crescent Holdings was formed. In December 2001, at the AGM, Craig announced the directors would resign at the end of the season and invited offers to take over the football club. Craig said, “since when did the moral guardians of the club have to sit and take abuse, vilification and vandalism and continue to hold the role”. Although, they did nothing illegal, Craig and his fellow directors walked away with the ground (worth several million pounds) and left a near worthless football club behind, doing a deal to sell their football club shares to John Batchelor. The board / supporter trust was shattered. Despite repeated attempts to negotiate the return of the proceeds to the club, at the time of writing, there is no public evidence that the monies were have been returned. A (dis) honourable mention for Barry Swallow who is fighting Craig for the top spot. Voted our player of the millennium in 2000, as a director, he profited from Douglas Craig’s actions and netted a tidy sum from the sale of his shares (some reports noted around £200,000 pre tax), apparently ignoring pleas from supporters to donate the sale proceeds back to the club.
PS Craig is possibly high up on AFC Wimbledon's naughty steps for his role on an FA panel which overturned a Football League ruling which paved the way for the original Wimbledon club to move to Milton Keynes in 2003.

JACK FOUNTAIN John (commonly known as Jack) Fountain received a 15 month prison sentence in January 1965 (and was ordered to pay £52.50 in costs) for his part in a nationwide bribery / betting scandal, first exposed by The Sunday People, that shocked the nation. He admitted to 4 counts of match fixing (3 City games and an earlier Swindon match). Justice Lawton described him as “an evil influence at York City”. A former City captain, it was alleged that he was involved in fixing 3 City matches, a 2-1 home defeat by Tranmere (press reports of the time noted his "many inaccurate passes" and other lapses) in October 1961, a 3-2 away defeat (from 2-0 up) at Oldham in December 1961 and 2-1 defeat at Stockport in April 1962 (that defeat cost City promotion that season). He continued to play for City until his contract was terminated in April 1964 shortly after the story broke. He stood trial alongside 9 other players and ex players. The then recently retired Jimmy Gauld received a 4 year prison sentence (plus ordered to pay £5,000 costs) as ringleader, whilst all the other guilty players, including 2 ex England internationals each received 15 months or less in prison. They were all banned from football for life by The Football Association. In total, over 30 players were prosecuted. 2 other ex City players, Peter Wragg and Walter Bingley who'd played in the City defeats were investigated but not charged. However, some club officials and players believed that on the balance of probability other City players may also have been involved. Wilf Meek, the Yorkshire Evening Press’ City correspondent at the time described it as “the most unfortunate and sickening week in City’s history”. It was widely reported that Gauld sold his story to The Sunday People for £7,240, if true, the equivalent to around 6 years of his playing wages in today's money.

JOHN BATCHELOR Thought of as our saviour when he bought the club from Douglas Craig. Opinion soon started to change when schemes linking City with his motor racing team and branding City as York City Soccer Club to generate interest in USA surfaced. In October 2002, he launched half price season tickets for the following season and denied claims that City were in financial trouble. A month later, City entered a creditors’ voluntary agreement leading to the rise of the York City Supporters’ Trust and their eventual takeover of the club. The truth behind the Batchelor reign made grim reading. He diverted club sponsorship money into his racing team, season ticket money had been mis-spent and walked away with a £120,000 profit (some reports stated it was £300,000). Along the way he managed to sign away City's 25 year lease on Bootham Crescent which would have left us homeless in June 2003 but for the sterling work of The York City Supporters Trust. He died in 2010 of liver failure, probably caused by alcoholism.

REECE THOMPSON Joined City in the summer of 2015, the young striker signed from Frickley after an impressive trial which cumulated in a wonder strike in a pre season friendly against Newcastle. His early season form, 3 goals in his first 6 competitive matches, suggested we’d made a good signing. After a Johnston Paints game in early October, he was struck down by a virus which the club later said was a “long term illness”. Russ Wilcox, who’d signed him left and was replaced by Jackie McNamara. Early in 2016 McNamara said he’d never met Thompson and had no idea when he’d be fit enough to return to the club. Miraculously, just a few days later, he was back in training. He never regained his zest under McNamara and was allowed to leave for North Ferriby United in September 2016. Another promising talent that never flourished at York. The underlying illness was never officially disclosed although enough rumours abounded to point to his real problem. Subsequently, it is an understatement to suggest that Reece Thompson endeared himself to City supporters. His goading celebration in front of the Longhurst after scoring for relegation rivals North Ferriby on New Year’s Day 2017, along with regular social media spats, cemented his status in some circles as one of the most unpopular players to pull on a City shirt. Invariably Thompson’s display for NFU, Guiseley and Boston always saw City’ defence unsettled and antagonism towards City’s fans continued, as witnessed by his miraculous recovery once Daniel Rowe was cautioned for a foul against him when playing for Boston in December 2017. Before him, it is also believed that Martin Garratt suffered similar personal problems. STOP PRESS: Reece Thompson jailed for assaulting girlfriend in April 2019, receiving a 40 month prison sentence and 10 year restraining order. Given early release, under licence, in January 2020, a month later, The Ministry of Justice confirmed he had been recalled to serve the rest of his sentence, it is understood the recall followed a series of inappropriate tweets in relation to his conviction and because he spoke about the case to a national news website.

DAVID RUSH A striker, signed from Oxford in £85,000 in January 1997, he was effectively sacked in September 1997. The reason was never disclosed but its believed he may have crossed a white line. Despite hoping to get some money for him, we never did. He was playing for Morpeth at the start of the next season (including scoring 2 in a 3-2 over Blue Star on August 17 1998) and later played 10 league games for Hartlepool.

ANDY FERRELL A wholehearted midfielder, former Newcastle junior, Andy Ferrell joined City in May 2009 on a free and moved to Gateshead in February 2010 for £3,500. Later, he noted the biggest regret of his career was not taking Martin Foyle's advice to stay and fight for his place in the team after returning from suspension. In June 2012, he was arrested for supplying drugs and later received a 4 year jail sentence after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine and amphetamines. At Newcastle Crown Court, Ferrell, along with 14 others admitted a series of offences and were jailed form a total of more than 40 years. It is understood that after leaving Newcastle in 2004 and signing a £5,000 a week deal with Watford, his gambling addiction began. As he plummeted down the divisions, he turned to supplying drugs to make money and became involved in a plot to supply cocaine an amphetamine across Tyneside. A friend said, “He’s one of the nicest lads you’ll meet in your life. He had everything going for him, but he went off the rails because of gambling. He’s not a bad lad and he’s absolutely gutted now. It’s such a shame to see so much talent go to waste. He just got massively into gambling. I think it’s a very common problem with footballers. They are earning all this money, but they can’t go out and drink every night so they go out and gamble. When he gets out he will be able to get into coaching or something like that. I’m confident he will get back on track. He’s determined to put it behind him. He’s a special kid. He’s got something about him.” Released in 2014, he joined Ashington and in May 2015 was appointed manager of Bedlington Terriers. His side were relegated in his first season and he was relieved of his duties in September 2016. On March 30, 2023, it was reported that he was one of 4 men who had received a 3 year banning order after disorder flared in a pub before a Newcastle United home game. Read More. Some suggested that he'd been set up.

LUKE FOSTER 2006 loanee centre back from Lincoln, jailed for 3 years in March 2024 for running a cannabis factory.

TOMMY HENDERSON A fair haired, direct, right winger we picked up his registration on a free from Bradford Park Avenue when they lost their Football League status in 1970, he lit up the following 2 seasons. He took Albert Johanneson’s place in the side in November 1970 and was a regular for the rest of the season as we gained promotion. He held his place in the side throughout the following season as we struggled in Division 3. I recall him being a fan’s favourite. With a diminutive stature and big bushy side burns, his powerful and direct runs down the wing and stunning shots were crowd pleasers as we won promotion in his first season and fought off relegation a season later. At the end of the 1971/2 season, as reported on BBC’s Look North at the time, he was sacked when caught stealing someone’s wage envelope, believed to contain £27, from inside the club, in the days when wages were paid in cash in little brown envelopes. Sadly that was the end of a promising league career and he drifted around the non league circuit never to be heard of again.

ADAM SMITH One of many wide men who flattered to deceive. This time over 18 months between late 2008 and 2010. After City, he drifted through (and down) the leagues until hitting the front pages (in Derbyshire at least) in January 2017 when found guilty of a “sophisticated” £22k fraud in a case involving claiming money back on multiple occasions for a single purchase from TK Maxx stores across the country. Read More.

MOSES ASHIKODI A perpetual offender who did little wrong (apart from not scoring enough and if that’s a crime, this page would be very long) in his 6 months with us. He joined us, initially on loan in November 2011 and was released after not featuring in either of our 2012 Wembley double winning triumphs and scoring just once in 11 appearances. A speedy striker, with us, like with many of his clubs, he failed to deliver after showing initial promise. However, by all accounts, he toed the line whilst with us, something that’s not true of some of his other clubs. Starting his career at Millwall, at 16, he left the club by mutual consent in 2004 after a training ground incident that reportedly saw him threaten fellow striker Mark McCammon with a plastic knife. In 2016, he played for at least 6 clubs in the lower echelons of the pyramid. They included one game at Croydon where he walked out of the club after being subbed on his debut in March and ending the year at Chatham Town where in his second appearance, he stormed off the pitch, just 7 minutes after coming on as a sub, after a flare up with a teammate, leaving Croydon with 10 men (having used all the substitutes. He was sacked after the game. At last count, still short of his 30th birthday, he’d had 28 clubs, ranging from Rangers and West Ham all the way down to the lower tiers of the pyramid in a career characterised by impressive trials, contracts cut short and petulance when not in the starting side.

MILES MASSEY Former City youth keeper who in April 2002 was found not guilty of supplying Ecstasy tablets to Tom (son of Gordon) Staniforth. Tom died in August 2001, having collapsed in the York city centre complaining of severe headaches. Read More

2021 BETTING SCANDAL It emerged on 27th October 2021, that there had been a number of betting offences resulting in 3 City players and a staff member being charged by The FA, although details of Michael Woods' case were previously available on thefa website. On their website, City said, "York City Football Club acknowledge the one-month FA ban from football handed out to first team player Josh King and previously Ryan Whitley. Michael Woods was also previously charged and has paid a fine and assistant-manager Micky Cummins is awaiting an outcome after being charged by the FA. All incidents relate to breaches of FA betting rules as part of a wide-ranging investigation across non-league football. The club has clear policies in place regarding betting and continue to provide education via the FA for all club employees. We are very disappointed by the situation. However, we will continue to support those affected throughout the process". A day later (October 28), City confirmed that "Micky Cummins would be absent from all fixtures and training indefinitely whilst City await a verdict from the FA on a charge. Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan will step in and support Steve Watson in the dugout and that the individuals affected will be supported with further education in line with the clear club policies in place and we will continue to liaise with the FA on the matter". Read more. In some cases, bets were placed prior to joining City and / or during covid / lockdown / furlough times. Outcomes may reflect the quantity of bets, the amount of co-operation the defendant gave, their wage, outcome of the bets and any personal / mitigating circumstances. At the last count, the FA had posted findings from over 100 similar cases on their web site, high profile cases included Paul Scholes, Kieran Trippier and Joey Barton as well as ex City striker Adam Boyes. A few weeks prior to the City cases becoming public knowledge, 2 Boston players had received 5 month and one month bans for similar breaches as the FA clamp down.

  • MICKY CUMMINS Assistant manager Micky Cummins was charged with 148 bets (total stake of £434.63, total loss of £187.19) placed on football matches between January 2015 and March 2019 (having joined City in January 2019). On the day Watson left City (November 13), he indicated that he expected Cummins to be back in early December. The FA website published its findings on November 18 (the case was held on November 8). Cummins received an immediate one month and £800 fine plus a further one month ban suspended for 12 months (to November 7, 2022). In his submission, Cummins admitted he had been naive, believing the betting rules applied to players only (not staff) and in mitigation, it was noted that he had "suffered particular personal tragedy recently that affected his mental health". The punishment was deemed to be towards the lower end for his offences which included "bet to win" on his own team (Middlesbrough).
  • MICHAEL WOODS He placed 72 bets (stake £691.79, return £498.45 resulting in a loss of £193.34) across the 2019/20 (Aldershot) and 2020/1 (City) seasons, 71 of which were when he was furloughed. When questioned, he openly admitted to other bets that The FA were unaware of and believed that being furloughed he wasn’t covered by the regulations. Fined £250 and no match ban.
  • Josh King He placed 139 bets (stake £1,042.93, return £591.72 resulting in a loss of £451.21) across the 2019/20 and 2020/1 seasons. They included 2 bets on City to win (both bets and his £7 stake was lost) and many more involving competitions in which City were involved with. Originally denying the allegations, he later changed his defence but the commission found "no credible explanation" in his defence of friends using his account and phone to place bets. One month suspension (expiring 12th November 2021) and fined £750 (possibly the maximum possible, i.e. 2 weeks’ wages).
  • Ryan Whitley Further details to be confirmed.

UNNAMED PLAYER When City played Oxford during the 2009/10 season, Martin Foyle felt his line up had been leaked to Oxford before the game. He had the same feeling in May at Wembley when City lost to Oxford in The Conference Play Off Final. Much later, he was able to identify the player responsible for the leaks. Martin Foyle Talks.

MARK MALEY Not sure if he qualifies or not, but he’s on the lower steps anyway. A Sunderland loanee, he was an irregular left back for us throughout most of the 2001/2 season before a season ending thigh injury saw him return to Sunderland in March 2002. The following month, when messing around in his flat with an airgun and teammate John Oster, he was accidentally shot in the eye, an injury which ended his football career.

GARY MARTIN Signed on November 2nd, 2017, it seemed a strange signing as he had already agreed a 3 year deal in play for Lillestrom in Norway from January 1st. He scored his only goal for City in our FA Trophy win over Coalville on November 25th. He was sacked 2 days later when City discovered he’d played local amateur football in Darlington a day earlier. Given Martin Gray and his backroom team’s Darlington and north east connections, it is surprising Gary Martin thought he wouldn’t be spotted breaking his professional contract with City. Read More.

YORKIE / SHIPPO October 1st, 1994 (v Stockport), City's original mascot, Shippo, disgraced himself during the half time penalty shoot out when he was in goal facing the Junior Reds. He dropped his shorts causing much merriment in the Longhurst, chants of "Shippo For England" and even caused Douglas Craig to leave the boardroom to see what all the commotion was about. To this day, Shippo has always maintained he didn't know what he was doing due to tunnel vision. Come April 29, 2000, Yorkie, his successor allegedly squirted water at Halifax's skipper as City went 2 up in an explosive match that saw Halifax have 3 players sent. It wasn't to be the last time that Yorkie was in trouble as on April 16, 2005, City's 0-0 draw with Dagenham was enlivened by an unscheduled appearance by Yorkie on his bike. Read Alex Bedingham's own account.

NIGEL PEPPER (1) Our former midfield hard man, so hard, he received 3 red cards in four games against Darlington in the 1990/1 season. The third being a straight red for a foul on John Borthwick, a later City teammate. In over 5 years with City, he was integral to our successes, including our 1993 Wembley play off win and later League Cup success over Manchester United. As well as his tackling ability, he was a regular scorer from open play from midfield as well as being a highly dependable penalty taker. On leaving City, he was about to join Burnley before Bradford City's successful £100,000 bid came along. He also had a chance to join them and Portsmouth later in his career. He later played for Aberdeen, Southend and Scunthorpe. Advised not to go to Scotland by Dean Windass, who felt he'd have trouble with the referees, he was sent off 3 times in Scotland, including once against Celtic when he returned from the subs bench after a suspension and received a straight red card after just 16 seconds. His career came to an end with Scunthorpe. On only his second appearance for them, early in the 2000/1 season, he was sent off for a bad tackle, receiving his red card on a stretcher as he left the field with a badly broken leg. He made just one more league appearance before being released at the end of the following season and drifting out of league football after failing to properly recovery from the injury despite 21 operations over the next 6 years. His long career was all the more remarkable as he spent the whole of the 1992/3 season feeling very tired, Jeff Miller putting it down to a hard pre season and the amount of games he was playing. After Wembley, he was diagnosed as a diabetic. Nigel Pepper interview: York Hospital Ball

NIGEL PEPPER (2) When on loan at Southend, he borrowed Mark Tinkler’s car and repaid the favour by driving at speed through every speed camera he could find.

BARRY JACKSON A club legend, he played a club record 539 competitive games for us between 1958 and 1970. The PFA named him City’s greatest ever player. Having received a suspended ban (2 weeks and £15) for being sent off in pre season game at Scarborough in 1969, the first time a suspended ban had been invoked, his final season ended in ignominy when he was sent off playing for City at Scunthorpe in January 1970, the incident being made worse when he angrily kicked over a trainer’s bucket as he left the pitch. The FA clamped down hard, invoking his previous suspended ban, they banned him for 8 weeks and fined him £25, the longest ban ever given by The FA for a sending off offence, in an era when 2 weeks was the norm. Given City’s postponements that season, the ban covered 15 league games (February 16 to April 11) plus his own testimonial against Hull in February. Consequences? This was one of the cases held up when moving away from bans in week to current system of game bans shortly afterwards. For Jackson, he was unable to regain his first team place, never playing again for City, as Topping and Swallow cemented their places. Jackson retired from professional football at the end of the season, but did have a short spell at Scarborough. Lots of parents would also put him on the naughty step for the amount sweets their kids bought from his sweet shop at the end of Bootham.

THE SUBWAY INCIDENT 4 City players, Strikers Michael Rankine and Michael Gash, winger Craig Nelthorpe and goalkeeper Michael Ingham were arrested in the early hours of a Sunday morning in August 2009 after an altercation outside the Subway sandwich shop in Clifford Street, York. A day early, all 4 had featured in City’s away friendly 3-1 defeat at FC Halifax where Nelthorpe had been sent off. The 4 who’d earlier been in The Gallery nightclub were understood to have been in an argument with two adult males which ended in violence. They were held in custody for a few hours before being sent to trial in September 2010. In the words of the police, it “escalated into violence” and the two males were subjected to a “serious assault” with one ending up in York Hospital with facial injuries. Whilst on BBC’s 606 website, “GerraldAggro“, in his own words and with his own spelling, wrote “they attacke my mate on the night he's got a fractured cheek bone, broken nose and chipped tooth, coloured lad was in subway and wouldn't allow my mate out the door as he was very drunk, my finally got through after a while and 3 mates started walking past gallery to taxi rank near fire station the they ran and jumped him from behind. Also one of my mates who was there that night it happened was an ex city palyer released a few years back made a few 1st appereances and was talking to ingham on the night yet the other three attacks his best mate. its a disgrace!!!!! should be locked up!!! Lad taking them to court anyway!!!!!” It was to be over a year before the trial concluded by which time Nelthorpe and Gash had left City. Gash pleaded guilty to affray along with Nelthorpe, while Rankine also admitted guilt, but to a lesser charge. The court also accepted a not guilty plea from Nelthorpe to a count of assault causing actual bodily harm and the players. Ingham’s not guilty plea was accepted and he faced no further action after prosecution described his involvement as "minimal."

PAUL CRICHTON Our 2004 return to non league wilderness started with new signing Paul Crichton, apparently doing a favour for his mate, Chris Brass, in goal. He lasted just 4 games before a very public falling out with City fans during a 4-0 defeat at Gravesend. He had a verbal altercation with City fans behind the goal who accused him of not trying. Words were said and Crichton’s City career was over. His departure was swift, probably released from a short term weekly contract rather than being sacked as sometimes reported. Read More. About 10 years earlier, I also recall Dean Kiely being goaded when he came back to York with Bury. City fans goaded him for leaving us for more money and Kiely responded with a hand gesture of counting his money behind his back in full view of his baiters. I’m afraid there’s no naughty step for Dean Kiely.

CHARLIE TWISSELL On October 24, 1959, his wayward shot smashed one of Reading’s floodlights. If that was an accident, he also recalled deliberately aiming (and hitting) a Main Stand spectator who had been abusing him during a Bootham Crescent game.

ANDY BISHOP Andy almost deserves a double entry. After the early kick off draw at Farnborough in October 2004, he walked into the club bar, dressed in a gaudy, non club issue, bright blue shell suit and bought 6 cans of lager, the assumption being they were for his own consumption on the long coach journey home. Fashion sense and re-hydration habits both deserve a low rung on the naughty steps. The only saving grace? Andy Bishop scored our goal in the draw and finished that and the next season as our top scorer.

JOHN MacCPHAIL Newly signed from Sheffield United in February 1982, shortly afterwards, he was fined for travelling from his Sheffield home to York on a train ticket bought with a young persons (under 24) rail card when aged 28. He paid using a card he was not entitled to use. It didn’t stop MacPhail from being voted City’s player of the year in 1984, our Division 4 championship winning season and again a year later. At the time the incident was laughed off as a “Jack the lad” antic perpetrated against a big company.

YCFC YOUTH TEAM On the way to an FA Youth Cup game at Stoke during the 1998/9 season, City’s squad stopped off for their pre match meal near Manchester. Resplendent in their red blazers, the youngsters were ushered into a posh dining room where they enjoyed above standard fayre. Was it a special treat in advance of a big game? The mystery was solved on the way out. Flustered hotel staff were placating a young Manchester United side who’d been palmed off with the beans on toast intended for City.

CRAIG SKINNER Does he deserve place on the list? He joined City in March 1999 on a 3 year contract. He played just 10 times for City over the remainder of that season and the whole of the next season (1999/2000) having suffered left knee ligament damage in the final pre season friendly with Gainsborough which flared up again as soon as he returmed to training in November 1999. He didn’t play at all for City (first team or reserves) in the 2000/1 season and wasn’t mentioned in any injury dispatches. On March 31, 2001, at a fans forum, Douglas Craig stated, "It is now in a position where it would be wrong for us or anybody at the club to pass any comment at all (on Craig Skinner’s situation). It is a matter that will have to be decided by the League in due course". That summer, his contract was terminated a year early. The following season he played a handful of games for Leigh RMI and Northwich Victoria in his native Lancashire before disappearing from view. Was he a naughty boy and what do he do to be ostracised for a whole season?

TONY YOUNG Signed by Wilf McGuinness, his contract was cancelled by mutual consent in November 1978 due to disciplinary problems.

NEIL MORRIS Short lived, young and mis-firing striker, his City contract was cancelled in late 1988 following a breach of discipline. Young brother of Chesterfield's long serving striker Andy Morris.

KEITH USHER Some might have seen him as an intransigent club secretary, but he gets on the naughty boy step for the language he gave Bobby Robson on the first occasion the pair spoke. As England manager, Robson (in his pre Sir Bobby days) took his England side to Aylesbury for a warm up in advance of Euro 88. With the Shipton Street Roof Appeal in full swing, we wrote to England (unbeknown to Keith and City) asking if he would bring his England team to play a fund raising game at Bootham Crescent in the run up to Italia 90. At the time, in quiet moments, there was a long running office joke that City’s youth team coaching staff (Gary Naylor et al) would ring from the backroom, Tricia Westland (Office Manager) would take the call and pass it onto Keith. Gary would pretend to be Bobby Robson (Usher’s boyhood hero) and try, usually successfully, to wind up Keith. One day in April 1990, Tricia took a call from the real Bobby Robson, she passed it on, insisting it was the real Bobby Robson. Keith took the call, not heeding the warning, the usual banter followed, the caller insisted that he was Robson, more insistent than usual, “I really am Bobby Robson, about your request to bring the England team to York for a friendly”, Keith’s language got riper and riper, "What f&c%in friendly?", his face getting redder and redder. The caller, maintaining his dignity and poise, continued to insist that he was Bobby Robson. With Keith in full expletive tirade mode, in walked Gary Naylor. Keith realised it wasn’t a wind up, he really was speaking to the real Bobby Robson, the England manager. All credit to Bobby Robson for having the decency to call personally and offer his apologies that England had no free dates to bring his Italia 90 squad to Bootham Crescent for a friendly. Bobby, graciously accepted Keith’s apology and the pair proceeded to have a good chat.

STEVE SENIOR March 1985 and City's league game at Millwall is postponed as Millwall have a scheduled FA Cup Round 6 tie that day. Millwall's cup opponents drew a second replay on the Wednesday before the game. Thursday afternoon, the Football League announced City's game at Millwall is back on. City have no supporter coaches laid on (and Denis Smith had already given the players the weekend off). Given the reputation of the old Den, who in their right mind would want to visit? One intrepid lifelong did. Just one. Making his way through south London, thrusting his programme money into the seller's hand, paying at the turnstile, he said not a word fearing his northern accent might give the game away. Pre match, collar up, head down, he took furtive glances to check he hadn't been rumbled whilst hoping to spot a fellow City fan. He was attracting no attention from the home supporters when the teams came out to warm up. City came to his end. He didn't cheer, with his head down, he read his programme. Suddenly, he was rumbled, "Hi Frank, Hi Frank", he could hear, his cover blown. Frank tried to ignore the calls, the more he did, the louder the greetings got, until Frank gave a furtive wave back to the caller. It was City full back, Steve Senior. Cover blown, City lost and Frank survived. The Millwall fans lived to fight another day, the following Wednesday in their delayed FA Cup tie at Luton (older fans will remember it well (and not for the football)).

Mr DORITO Sam Collins reign reached its first nadir when he publicly called out a City player for eating doritos on the coach to an away game. His identity wasn't publicly revealed at time, but with Sam Collins in charge, its surprising it was only doritos. Said player lived to play another day and we all know how much all the players improved under Steve Watson. Later, Daniel Parslow revealed at the Supporters Trust Q&A (Summer 2019) the player's identity stating one innocent party, Hamza Bencherif, had got really upset over all the hate and abuse he'd got from people assuming it was him.

YORK CITY FC May 6, 1995 and City's last game of the season, away at Peterborough. The players, in high jinks are bound for Magaluf straight after the game. Before the game, one player, who shall remain nameless as Dean Kiely wouldn't reveal his name, put vodka into his water bottle and topped it up with coke. With Deano guarding it in his net, the players would take a swig and pass it around every time City defended a corner. Somehow we drew 1-1. 5 months later, back at Peterborough, Douglas Craig stormed down the team coach after a 6-1 defeat and laid into the players.

ADRIANO MOKE After a particularly depressing 4-1 defeat at Curzon (17th February 2018), Adriano Moke got into a rather unnecessary social media spat with a supporter who he challenged to “meet up and bring tools or whoever”.

SEAN NEWTON Before City, Sean Newton recalled, "I was 18 and on loan at Droylsden. We beat Darlington and Chesterfield in the first and second rounds. I scored two against Chesterfield (December 2008). We got Ipswich in the third round and got thrown out because I was suspended. In terms of the FA Cup, I've got no good memories so I'm hoping this could be the start. The FA Cup is an exciting cup," he added. He also warrants a mention for skipping a training session to try his luck as a model on a phoot shoot.

CURTIS WOODHOUSE A former City junior (he moved to Sheffield United as a young teenager and later joined Birmingham for £1,000,000) turned bad boy. He'd "fallen out of love" with football by 2006 and turned to professional boxing, winning his first fight in September 2006. He was later crowned English light-welterweight title. In April 2006, he was convicted of assaulting a police officer and of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. As a result, his boxing licence was suspended for 5 months. Later he combined boxing with playing (and later managing) in non league football. Check the internet and you'll find more of his naughty boy incidents - Ed.

WILF McGUINNESS He fondly recalled taking City "From Division 2 to Division 4 in the reverse order". When he returned with City to Old Trafford in March 1975, during the pre match warm up, he called his players towards him and told them to walk towards the Old Trafford faithful alongside him, where he fully expected to receive a rapturous welcome home. All he and the players got was a volley of abuse and boos. On a 1975 post season trip to Majorca, he played a trick on the board of directors at Brian Pollard's 21st birthday meal. Excusing himself on the pretext of going to the airport to meet his brother, he returned dressed up in various player's clothes and wearing a wig pretending to be his brother. In a flamboyant display, he belittled the players and directors. Quite how the board didn't twig (the players were in on the joke) is a mystery, but it wasn't until Barry Swallow deliberately brushed Wilf's head dislodging his wig that the joke was out. A story in the excellent "City Memoirs" book tells of McGuinness lying flat on the training ground pretending to have been knocked out by a fallen branch, only for the players to hurdle him, ignoring any possible ailment. Sadly in 2017, Chris Jones noted that McGuinness had been suffering from dementia for the past 3 years. Earlier, Wilf denied Paul Cheesley the matchball after he scored a hat trick for Bristol City at York in October 1975.

JOE NEENAN Probably best remembered for his after City life. At Scunthorpe, he teamed up with team mate Ian Botham and wreaked havoc in Scunthorpe, one occasion ended in a crown court appearance for the pair. Later, as Burnley keeper, he's best remembered for kneeing an Altrincham player in the "groin" when holding the ball and trying to clear upfield resulting in a penalty against Burnley and a red card for Neenan. It doesn’t quite tally with his appearances in goal for England Catholic Schoolboys!

SCOTT ENDERSBY Excellent keeper, I recall him single handedly beating Wrexham on evening in March 1989, despite City being outplayed throughout, he stopped everything that came his way as City somehow won 1-0. He seemed to get frozen out towards the end of his City career, particularly by one director. Wonder if the rumours were true?

JOHN BIRD Served a 3 month touchline ban following a dugout fracas at Scarborough with their manager Ray McHale. The referee sent both managers to the stands, Bird aimed a kick at the Scarborough dug out on the way. He was arrested and held for 3 hours by the police. No police charges followed, but both managers were fined and given 3 month touchline bans by the FA.

CHARLIE WRIGHT 18th August 1978, a day before the new season starts and Neil Warnock, newly signed and appointed City captain turns up for training with a virus. Under pressure from the board and desperate for Warnock to play, manager Charlie Wright insists Warnock trains. So in the afternoon, Warnock, in his suit, trains alone practicing his free kicks. Falling out with the club, Warnock’s spell with City was short lived.

SHAUN MILLER In 2017, ex City striker, Shaun Miller, when playing for Carlisle, was found guilty of misconduct when trying to deceive the referee to win a penalty. He received the standard 2 match suspension. See the thefa website for the full findings.

THE FANS Whilst free to express an opinion and show dissatisfaction with the club, at times some people's actions went too far. In November 2021, Steve Watson and Jason Gilchrist received horrific abuse from the touchline during the second half at Curzon, both left the club within a month. In January 2022, Sean Newton received much social media abuse following the Bradford PA home defeat. He left the club, joining Buxton on loan the next week, having been given time off in between. Anecdotal evidence suggested that Steve Watsons's last signing, loanee Adam Senior was glad to get recalled by his parent club as City's form completely collapsed aand terrace dissent was loud and clear whilst some players refused offers from City knowing the febrile atmosphere that prevailed. It must be said, that the majority of supporters continued to back the players as evidenced by the applause that many supporters gave the players that make the effort to clap the fans after the Bradford PA 3-0 defeat (Newton being one of a few exceptions).

JACKIE McNAMARA Contrast John MacPhail’s train ticket treatment with Jackie McNamara. He was vilified. Despite his protestations and extenuating circumstances (he had a ticket, albeit for an earlier train and offering to pay for a new ticket), he was found guilty in court, so earns a place near the bottom step. On 5th February 2023, Yorkpress reported that he'd been ordered to pay £1,104 in fines /costs for a speeding offence at near Tadcaster. Read More.

SCOTT FLINDERS Fittingly near the bottom of the list. Well he was found guilty by The FA and served a 5 game ban for racial abuse for uttering the words “Not your kind” which were construed as being a racist insult by a player who’d just physically attacked him, an attack that could well have seen the AFC Wimbledon striker placed on the sex offenders register if it had been done on the high street. The hearing deemed Flinders to be an unreliable witness and found him guilty based on rather flimsy evidence. Although not legally trained, from reading the case transcript I feel confident I could have got him off.
“Mr Flinders, your wife has been insulted and your testicles squeezed, when you said, “My wife doesn’t like your kind”, did you mean the kind of man who verbally insults another man’s wife and then squeezes your testicles?"
“Yes Mi Lud.”
Case dismissed.

In May 2020, ex City loanee Elliott Whitehouse was found guilty under Rule E3 (1) as his language included an “aggravated breach” as defined by Rule E3 (2) as it included reference to race and / or ethnic origin and / or nationality. He was fined £2,000, apparently the minimum sanction (and it will have been based on his wage). Read more on the thefa website.

RODNEY ROWE (1) On a night out with Andy McMillan and Paul Stephenson, voices were raised and a female passer by made comments towards Rowe, she didn’t like his tone of voice and he didn’t like a reference to his colour that she made. Things escalated, Rowe picked her up and placed her in an industrial size wheelie bin. The police arrived and subsequently Rowe received a fine. Whilst he freely admits his actions were wrong, he’s equally right that no one should be disrespected regardless of who they are or the colour of their skin. (Y Front fanzine #10). Read More.

RODNEY ROWE (2) Again a rather harsh inclusion. In a rough FA Cup game at non league Southport in October 1997, Rodney Rowe was racially and verbally abused by some home fans. He cupped his hand to his ear when he scored his second, the home keeper took exception thinking Rowe’s actions were directed to him. More crowd angst followed. The police spoke to City manager Alan Little and as a result, Rowe was substituted in City’s 4-0 win.

SOPHIE McGILL Speaking on York Hospital Ball (April 2022) Sophie recalled the occasion she broke a padded director’s seat by jumping up onto her seat during a game.