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York City remember David Longhurst

7th September 2019

During today’s game with Southport, York City Football Club remembers the life and passing of former City striker, David Longhurst, who 29 years ago tomorrow sadly lost his life doing what he loved, as he turned out for the Minstermen during the 1990-91 season, in our Fourth Division clash with Lincoln City.

On 8th September 1990, Longhurst ran out at Bootham Crescent for the final time, aged just 25, becoming the first player to die during a Football League match since 1927. Bootham Crescent had fallen silent, and with supporters left to grieve - the match was postponed at the half-way point. The subsequent inquest revealed that the City number ten had suffered from cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition, having collapsed on the pitch just minutes before the break.

Both the club and the city were rocked by the loss of Longhurst, who in his opening six games for the club, had shown such promise, scoring twice during a season that would culminate in City finishing 21st, narrowly avoiding relegation to the Conference.

Picked up by Brian Clough in 1983, Longhurst began his senior career at Nottingham Forest, but having failed to make an appearance for the Reds, a move to Halifax Town followed in 1985, where he proved himself a talisman, notching 24 times in 85 appearances for the West Yorkshire outfit.

Longhurst, who was born in Northampton, departed Halifax for his hometown club, where he spent a single season before Peterborough United came calling. In March 1990, Longhurst made his final switch, to Bootham Crescent, leaving him with 40 goals in his 186-game career.

Off the field, Longhurst was a highly regarded and popular man who was full of character; and although it is impossible to know what Longhurst could have achieved at York, and in football, he will always be remembered fondly.

Over the summer of 1991, just a year following Longhurst’s death, construction of the David Longhurst Stand was completed, and officially opened to the public during a friendly with Leeds United, thereby etching Longhurst’s name into the permanent history of the football club.

Longhurst’s legacy lives on to this day, not just in City folklore for namesake, but his death triggered the mandatory testing of young players for cardiac conditions, with the hope that further tragedy could be prevented.

Former City chairman, John Reames, wrote this prominent tribute to Longhurst in his programme notes for the Cardiff City game that followed: “The sudden death of David Longhurst should remind us all that football is just a game.”

A minute’s silence will be held for David Longhurst today prior to kick-off, and he will forever be remembered as the players face the David Longhurst stand.



Article by Rob Glover.

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