For us, few away days compare to York City. Well, that’s how we saw things when it was still an annual league trip on our schedule each year. But it’s now almost four years since we last had the pleasure. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. We’ll get into that in a few moments. But the Minstermen are a side that, for a long ol’while, we had no business in knowing; a stalwart of the Football League for so long, yet now fallen on harder times. So, what’s the craic with that?
Who are York City?
The story of York City is one that technically goes back to 1908. An amateur club to start with, they joined the Northern League – but only for two seasons. To cut down on all that travelling, the club signed up to the Yorkshire Combination in 1910 and then the Midland League in 1912. After three seasons, the competition was suspended due to World War One. Before it could start back up again, however, the original club was forced under in 1917. It wouldn’t be until five years later that a new York City FC would be formed.
Like the original Minstermen, the Midland League started things off – but only after a bid to join the Football League from the off didn’t succeed. Seven seasons and not much to write home about from their time in the Midland League later, the club achieved League football; elected at the expense of Ashington. For the next 75 years, the club retained their League status – peaking in the 1993-4 campaign where they finished fifth in the second tier.
But, on the flip side, there were also seven separate times where York were forced to go through the process of re-election after finishing too close to the bottom of Division Four. The last of those times came in 1980-1, with the Minstermen ending the season a point adrift of Stockport County at the foot of the table. By being spared the boot, it meant that City could continue their run as a League club. If not, they might not have been given the chance to record a famous 3-0 win at Old Trafford in the 1995-6 League Cup. It was yet another addition to the list of Minstermen cup scalps that we don’t have time to go into.
Why do we know York City?
The next time York City finished bottom of the Football League, however, there would be no election process to save them. The 2003-4 season saw them again condemned to the foot of the Division Three table by a single point. It came after a run of 20 games without a league win. But the relegation trapdoor swung open this time; swallowing the Minstermen as Chester City and Shrewsbury Town went up. We, on the other hand, had ended seven points adrift of the playoffs in our 11th straight season in the Conference. We were ready and waiting for a brand new face to join us.
What is our record against York City?
To start with, it wasn’t great. Our first-ever meeting came at their place in October 2004 – and it was a comfortable home win. But we did get off the mark in the return game at ours; four goals and the honours split down the middle. The 2005-6 campaign saw us claim four points from the available six, even though the Minstermen ended up improving massively on their fortunes with eighth position – up from 17th the previous year.
In the 2006-7 season, Boro’s promotion charge arguably fell away as we went in search of FA Trophy glory. For York, it was also a successful season; making the playoffs with ease. Morecambe put paid to their hopes of a return to the League in the semis, though. And the Minstermen found life a little harder in the two seasons to come. Indeed, we won three of the four league fixtures across the 2007-8 and 2008-9 campaigns; a 3-3 draw thrown in for good measure too. And to round off the second of those two seasons? Why, there was the small matter of a two-goal win in the FA Trophy final; Steve Morison‘s last game for us.
Into the 2009-10 campaign and Boro’ were forced to settle for a point in our October date at Bootham Crescent. It wouldn’t be until after we’d clinched the Blue Square Premier title that we’d meet the Minstermen in the return fixture. It was neither here nor there that we’d run out 1-0 winners thanks to David Bridges. It’ll be the day best-remembered instead for Mark Roberts lifting the Conference trophy. And for being our last match as a non-league team. Well, until next season rolls around.
York City: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 17 — W 8 — D 5 — L 4 — F 28 — A 21 — Pts 26 — WR 47%
Our last tango: York City 2-1 Stevenage, 30 January 2016
What happened to York City?
Of course, York did make it back into the League in 2012 after beating Luton Town in the playoffs. We very much approve of this, by the way. All that it then needed to get one of our favourite away days back in the diary was our relegation from League One. After that happened in 2014, the stage was set. But we only got another two years out of them. And maybe it was for the best too; Boro’ winning just one of our four encounters before the Minstermen dropped back down into non-league football.
It went from bad to worse for them too. A dismal first campaign back in the Conference finished in disaster as York suffered a second straight relegation into Conference North. The falling down bit looks to have been the easy bit. The getting back up again? Not so much. After two mid-table finishes, the Minstermen are only now looking like they could return up a division. Top of the table (as we write), they do need the wheels to fall off at Kings Lynn Town – two points behind with four games in hand. Could be a close one…
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – York City club profile