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Bootham Crescent XI Revealed

20th January 2021

At the end of December, York City fans voted for their overall ‘best ever’ players to have played on the hallowed turf of Bootham Crescent.

In 4-4-2 formation and five substitutes, the following players will be known as the Bootham Crescent 'Best XI'.

Goalkeeper - Dean Kiely (1990-1996)

Irish international goalkeeper Dean Kiely kept an impressive 70 clean sheets for the Minstermen in 210 league appearances. After joining from Coventry in 1990 Kiely played in some notable games for City, including the famous 3-0 victory over Manchester United in the League Cup at Old Trafford in 1995, and also saved a penalty in the shootout against Crewe in the 1993 Third Division play-off final victory at Wembley. He left York for Bury in 1996 and went on to play in the Premier League for Charlton, Portsmouth and West Brom. Nowadays, Kiely is the goalkeeping coach at Crystal Palace.

Appearances: 239

Clean sheets: 82


Right Back - Andy McMillan (1987–1999)

South African full-back McMillan is second in all-time appearances for York, playing for City 492 times over 11 years. He played in some of the most famous games in York’s history, including the 1993 Third Division play-off final victory at Wembley and also the League Cup giant-killings of Manchester United and Everton. McMillan went on to play for Ayr United before retiring and going into coaching, including at one time a role in York’s youth academy. He now works in the decontamination business, and classes tackling the coronavirus pandemic as easier than trying to tackle Ryan Giggs.

Appearances: 492

Goals: 5


Centre-back - John MacPhail (1983–1986)

Centre-half MacPhail played for York 173 times after joining from Sheffield United in 1983. His time at City included the 1983/84 season where his side won the Fourth Division with a record-setting 101 points, and also the FA Cup run the following year, in which York beat Arsenal and took then-European Cup holders Liverpool to a replay. MacPhail scored an impressive 29 goals for City, and was once fined soon after signing from Sheffield United for using an under 24 railcard on his way from Sheffield to York. MacPhail was 28 at the time. He finished his career in 1994 as player/manger with Hartlepool United.

Appearances: 173

Goals: 29


Centre-back - David McGurk (2004-2014)

McGurk played in York City’s defence across three loan spells before joining permanently from Darlington in 2006. He went on to make over 300 appearances for the club, with perhaps his best moment coming in the second leg of the 2010 Conference play-off semi-final at Luton, where he made a brilliant goal-saving tackle on the Luton striker to help his team reach the play-off final. McGurk played in a number of Wembley finals with York, and is currently the manager of Hyde United in the Northern Premier League.

Appearances: 332

Goals: 6


Left-back - Wayne Hall (1989–2001)

Left-back Wayne Hall played 438 times for City from 1989-2001. His time at the club included a hugely successful period in which York played in the Second Division. ‘Ginner’ helped them get to these heights, scoring the winning penalty in the shootout against Crewe in the 1993 Third Division play-off final. He also played in the cup shocks against Manchester United and Everton, and even nutmegged Ryan Giggs in the former of those games. A huge fan favourite, Hall now works as a prison officer.

Appearances: 438

Goals: 11


Winger - Jon McCarthy (1990–1995, 2002)

Northern Ireland international right-winger McCarthy joined York in 1990 and was part of the team that won promotion through the Third Division play-offs in the 1992/93 season. He won City’s Clubman of the Year twice before signing for Port Vale in 1995 for £450,000, which was at that time York’s record transfer fee the club had received. He went on to play for clubs such as Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday and since retiring McCarthy has stayed involved with football, managing Chester for 62 games and also working in the media as a commentator. He is currently assistant-manager at Southport.

Appearances: 234

Goals: 38


Centre-midfield - Nigel Pepper (1990–1997)

Another member of that 1993 Third Division play-off final victory, Pepper was a central midfielder who played 281 times for York, scoring 45 goals. His performance that day at Wembley against Crewe, including a successful penalty in the shootout, is made even more impressive by the fact it was found soon after that he was diabetic. He was also part of the famous cup games against Manchester United and Everton, and scored in his last game for the club. He went on to play for Bradford and Aberdeen among others, eventually retiring from football in 2008.

Appearances: 281

Goals: 45


Centre-midfield - Neal Bishop (2006–2007)

Midfielder Neal Bishop only played for the Minstermen 63 times but made a huge impression with the York fans, including winning the Clubman of the Year award in 2007. He joined from Scarborough in 2006, and most memorably scored a brilliant volley from outside the box on the last day of the 2006/07 season to secure a play-off place for the Minstermen. After leaving York in 2007, Bishop went on to have a successful Football League career with teams such as Notts County, Blackpool and Scunthorpe. Now 39 years-old, Bishop currently plays for Scarborough Athletic.  

Appearances: 63

Goals: 4


Winger – Matty Blair (2011-13)

Blair’s career saw him play football at the ninth, eight, sixth, and fifth tiers (for Stratford, Bedworth, Redditch and Telford, and Kidderminster respectively) before joining York in 2011. That season saw City finally make it out of the Conference, with Blair playing a starring role, chalking up 52 appearances and scoring 20 goals, including one in the Play-off Final. After another year at Bootham Crescent, Blair switched to fellow League Two side Fleetwood and earned yet another promotion. He’s now plying his trade at Cheltenham, following a few years at Doncaster; at 31, he’s showing no signs of giving up football any time soon.

Appearances: 101

Goals: 27


Striker – Paul Barnes (1992-95)

Paul Barnes cemented his place in the York history books with a brace against Manchester United in that famous 1995 FA Cup victory, and next summer he was poached by Birmingham City for a then-record fee of £350,000. In goals-per-appearances, Barnes must be up there as one of Bootham Crescent’s very best; in 179 games over four seasons, he netted a stunning 85 goals and spells at Burnley and Doncaster also saw him score at a ridiculous rate. Despite never playing for England himself, Barnes has made his own contribution to the England national team, with son Harvey who currently plays for Leicester City in the Premier League and made his first appearance for the Three Lions last October.

Appearances: 179

Goals: 85


Striker – Keith Walwyn (1981-87)

Another brilliant goalscorer, Keith Walwyn, also notable for being one of the first black players to turn out for City. In less than 300 games, Kittitian Keith netted 140 goals, making him twice Clubman of the Year (one of only eight players to do so); his scoring record at York is bettered only by Norman Wilkinson. Despite a less prolific later career at Blackpool and Carlisle, Walwyn remains a York icon. After his footballing career ended, Walwyn opened a sports store in the Preston area. Walwyn passed away in 2003 aged just 47, but was immortalised with a duly named ‘Keith Walwyn Lounge’ at Bootham Crescent. It was officially opened by his widow, Liz, in August 2006. The legendary striker will also feature on a mural in the fanzone at the LNER Community Stadium.

Appearances: 291

Goals: 140




Goalkeeper – Nick Pope (2013, 2014)

In five years at Charlton, Pope amassed nine loan spells, two at York, before stepping up to the first team in 2015. Fan favourite at Bootham Crescent, he was a part of the club’s winning run under Nigel Worthington in 2013/14 where the Minstermen sneaked into the playoffs after finishing 2013 in a relegation fight and then losing only two games up until the end of the season. He was snapped up by Burnley in the summer of 2016 and has since made nearly a hundred appearances for the Premier League club, alongside four England caps.

Appearances: 24

Clean Sheets: 16


Left-back – James Meredith (2009-12)

Australian Meredith first played for Derby County, after being spotted by a scout in Melbourne. He also had a stint in the Republic of Ireland, at Sligo Rovers, and then a successful loan at AFC Telford led him to sign for York, where he visited Wembley three times, winning an FA Trophy and earning promotion to League Two. Since then, Meredith has gone from strength to strength, and is now playing Down Under for top-flight Macarthur FC, following successful spells at Bradford and Millwall.

Appearances: 162

Goals: 3


Centre-back – Paul Stancliffe (1991-94)

Yorkshire-born Stancliffe spent all but one year of his career in God’s Own County, racking up three hundred appearances for each of Rotherham and Sheffield United. Bootham Crescent was a fitting home for the last years of his career, and captain Stancliffe guided City to promotion in 1993 during a three-year stint, beating Crewe Alexandra at Wembley. He’s now been behind the scenes at Doncaster for fifteen years, managing their under-18s.

Appearances: 103

Goals: 3


Centre Midfield – Scott Kerr (2011-13)

Kerr spent only two full seasons at York, but still made a not insignificant impact on the club. Another from the 2011-12 team that returned City to the Football League, Kerr was nearly thirty when he arrived at Bootham Crescent, having already had lengthy spells at Scarborough and Lincoln. His experience was a great asset to the side, and, despite a season-ending injury in March 2012, he earned the accolade of Clubman of the Year. Departing York a year later, he saw out his career at a string of northern non-league clubs.

Appearances: 89

Goals: 1


Striker – John Byrne (1979-84)

One of the most talented and skilful players to ever appear for the club. Byrne began his career at York as an apprentice after being recommended to then City Manager Wilf McGuiness by a taxi driver. He helped the team to the Third Division with promotion in 1984. Well known for the outstanding partnership up front with Keith Walwyn. After being named best Fourth Division Player in 1983-84 before he was snapped up by QPR in for £100,000 and later played in France before returning to England and finishing his career with Whitehawk. Byrne also made 23 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland. He now works for the NHS.

Appearances: 199

Goals: 64



Written by Will Green and Kyle Goldsmith

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