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York City legend Jon McCarthy tips ‘92 Club’ return
York City favourite Jon McCarthy and manager Alan Little are given a rousing send off before their 1993 Wembley triumph
WEMBLEY hero of yesteryear Jon McCarthy believes York City can repeat the feat of 1993 play-off plunder if they stick to their league game-plan.
McCarthy was an integral cog in the original “Wembley wonders” City line-up, who almost two decades ago saw off Crewe in the old Third Division final to gain promotion.
The enthralling tussle was City’s first appearance at Wembley, then, of course, in its twin towers incarnation. Whip-fast winger McCarthy and Co prevailed over the Railwaymen after a heart-halting penalty shoot-out.
Now the Hartlepool-born City fans’ favourite is fervently hoping his old club can experience the glory of promotion – this time back to the Football League – just over a week after the Minstermen stood under the arch of new Wembley basking in the glow of lifting the FA Trophy.
McCarthy, a sports science teacher and sports coach at the Mid-Cheshire College in Northwich, reckoned City’s first leg of a dream double at the home of English football could go either way in favouring either the Bootham Crescent brigade, or Sunday’s play-off opponents Luton Town.
But he was certain that if City’s approach to Sunday’s shoot-out was mapped out in the same methodical manner which graced their Conference campaign, then the Minstermen in red would be celebrating a wondrous one-two come Sunday tea-time.
“That’s the key for me,” said McCarthy. “The great record that York have over Luton throughout the season is down to them obviously having a great game-plan. So if they stick to that, if City can play Sunday’s final as they would a league game, then I think that will be the way they will succeed.
“And how great would that be if they got back into the Football League. For me York City have always been a proper Football League club. They have history and tradition, as do Luton.
“It was such a pity that York went out of the League. But this is a brilliant chance to get back to where they deserve to be.”
As he reflected on City’s eight years away from the ‘92 Club’, McCarthy said the play-off final was arguably the club’s best route back.
“You see clubs from the Conference who spend massive amounts of money to get out and they usually do by winning the championship,” said the 41-year-old, who played 233 times for City in five seasons before his £450,000 move to Port Vale in 1995.
“You can’t see York having the resources to do that like other clubs, so going up by the play-offs is their main hope.
“Now the chance is there on Sunday and I am keeping everything crossed that the club where I had so many good times and, which has a great support, can do the business.”