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Gary’s gone but once he was king
IN THE early evening of May 21 last year, Gary Mills was answering questions live on television, his arm draped around Jason McGill’s shoulders.
“We’ve got promoted, we’ve won the trophy, we’ve done the double. You celebrate it. It’s good when you have the good times, you enjoy them. When you don’t…” his words tailed off as the interviewer ended the discussion on top of a bus in Coney Street.
Ten short months on, Gary Mills knows how the reply ends. Damned by his poor player recruitment last summer and eight home defeats, the manager and his chairman split.
Some may well find it strange to have sympathy for a reasonably well-paid football manager who is unlikely to be unemployed for long. But Mills embraced the heart and soul of this fine old city.
When a pre-season game was arranged at Huntington last year to commemorate the death of a great friend to many, he was only too happy to field all the first-team players before coming on for a cameo substitute appearance, helping to raise thousands for charity.
At the end of the final home game of last season, he rallied the fans, promising FA Trophy victory followed by the ultimate rabble-rouser: “Let’s get out of this bloody league.” Sadly, the great Football League adventure proved a step too far, and his famed passion seemed to disappear.
There is no room for sentiment in football and Nigel Worthington arrives with our good wishes.
But the mind still returns to May – the goals of Chambers and Blair, the promised land and a sunny evening in York when the fella from Northampton was king.
Steve Castle, York.