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York City win promotion - back where we belong
Updated: YORK City’s second slice of Wembley glory in the space of just eight days has been hailed as the victory which “means everything” to the club.
More than 7,000 fans roared the Minstermen to the nail-biting 2-1 triumph over Luton Town in yesterday’s Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final which put City back in the Football League after an eight-year absence.
It completed a momentous week in the club’s history after Gary Mills’ men claimed the FA Trophy by overcoming Newport County at Wembley and plans for a new 6,000-seater stadium at Monks Cross were approved by City of York Council.
City’s promotion celebrations will continue in York today and the club’s communications and community director Sophie Hicks said the last week’s events were “slightly surreal”.
“Being back in the Football League means everything to the club,” she said. “It’s the day all York City supporters have been waiting for, and myself and all the directors are very proud that we have helped bring some pride back into this club. Our fans were absolutely outstanding against Luton for the way they got behind the team despite being massively outnumbered –like the players, they showed true resilience.
“It’s very emotional when you see how this has made so many people happy and it’s a complete vindication of the decision to approve the stadium plans, because sport in York is on the up.”
Mrs Hicks said it had been a “huge fight” to bring the club back from near-extinction and back into the League, saying: “We have had to fight for survival, for the ground and just to keep the club going – now it’s all come together in just eight days.
“There has been a lot of hard work involved, and it has all paid off. We have learned a lot from our years as a non-League club and this could really be the start of something. This team has made national headlines and put its home city on the map. Everybody in York and North Yorkshire should be very proud.”
City fan Dave Stevens, 32, from South Bank, said: “However long I support City for, there will never be another day like this. This win couldn’t mean more to the club, the players, the manager and the fans.”
Shaun Gilbert, 40, of Fulford, said: “It was unbearable to watch at the end because we knew how close we were to fulfilling a dream, but the scenes at the end of the match are just something nobody’s ever going to forget.”
Richard Robinson, 30, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, said: "It's just unbelievable - I can't get over it.
"We're back where we belong and it means everything to the club and the city to be back in the league."
Duncan Campbell, 58, from Acomb, said: "I was at Wembley when City won promotion in 1993, but this is better because it matters more.
"We belong in the league, especially with somebody like Gary Mills in charge, and although it will be difficult, getting there was the real challenge. We have the team and the manager to hold our own and put on a good show."
Hyla Campbell, 30, who was born in York but now lives in Nigeria and flew back to be at Wembley for the play-off final, said: "I still remember very clearly being at the Vetch Field in Swansea - a ground which doesn't even exist any more - for City's last game in the league in 2004, and now we're back. It's absolutely brilliant."
Neil Robertson, 38, from Tadcaster, said: "This is the end of eight years of hard work - first the FA Trophy, now promotion. Gary Mills has done a brilliant job, we have a really good team and I think we are going to do really well now we're back in he league."
Jonathan Linnen, 20, from Alne, described City's victory as "amazing", adding: "I've supported York City all my life and we've never seen much success, but now we've won twice at Wembley in the space of just over a week, and hopefully Gary Mills can take us up against next season." And Olly Wilks, 20, from Skelton, said: "There's no reason why we can't be pushing for a place in the top half of League Two next season."