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Gary Mills leads York City into Football League
JUBILANT manager Gary Mills hailed the best hat-trick in York City’s 90-year history after watching his side clinch promotion to the Football League.
The Minstermen ended eight years of non-League football after goals from Ashley Chambers and Matty Blair secured a 2-1 Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final Wembley win over Luton Town, who had taken a second-minute lead through Andre Gray.
Victory came only one weekend after City’s 2-0 FA Trophy final victory over Newport County at the hallowed home of English football and three days after City of York Council passed Oakgate’s planning application for a new Community Stadium at Monks Cross.
Commenting on an unsurpassed nine days in the Minstermen’s proud existence, Mills said: “To come to Wembley two weeks running and do the double is an incredible feeling.
“In fact, with the ground announcement, it’s been a terrific treble and probably the best hat-trick ever at York City Football Club.
“I know how much just saying we are a Football League club will mean to everybody and my players deserve it because they have worked hard to achieve that goal since day one this season and getting out of this league doesn’t come easy.
“We started poorly from the first minute of the final but grew after their goal and were excellent from that moment on.”
Mills also suggested the season’s achievements were made possible by a team spirit unrivalled in this country and even greater than that credited with winning Chelsea the Champions League final a day earlier.
He added: “Chelsea said they won the Champions League final because of their togetherness and I applaud them for that.
“It was a great achievement but I don’t think any side in the country has stuck together more than us over the season. I believe we have been stronger than Chelsea in that respect.”
Mills also revealed he employed an unorthodox tactic the night before yesterday’s crucial clash to ease any pre-match nerves his players might have had.
While stopping short of his old mentor Brian Clough’s famous advice that his players should have an alcoholic drink on the team bus prior to the 1979 European Cup final, Mills said: “I let all the players have a pint of Guinness the night before the match.
“We all did that together because I think it is important to relax and you sometimes need to take some weight off their shoulders.”
City supporters will have, no doubt, sunk more than a solitary pint last night and Mills was quick to recognise the part the team’s 9,000-strong following played in helping to silence the 30,000 Luton fans.
He said: “We went to Luton – where they probably had ten times more supporters than us – and beat them, so Wembley wasn’t a problem. Our away form is incredible and Luton probably did us a favour bringing so many fans as it turned it into a bit of an away game. In truth, I only heard the York supporters.
“They have been brilliant all season and I want to thank all the ones that came to support us again because I know it’s not cheap to come to Wembley two weekends on the trot. I also want to thank anybody who could not come down but have been to other games, because they have been fantastic as well.”
Mills made one surprising omission yesterday with Paddy McLaughlin, who has started more outfield games than anyone aside from James Meredith this season, making way for a fit-again Chris Doig as Dan Parslow switched back into midfield.
The City boss explained that sentimentality can never influence his team selections and he will be no different when he begins to assemble a squad capable of challenging for promotion from League Two next term.
He added: “I left somebody out who has played in the majority of games for me but you do not get anywhere if you don’t make big decisions, what you feel are the right ones. You live and die by them and, if I feel I need to also improve my squad now, I will do.
“Not everybody will be coming with us to League Two but all the players deserve great credit because they have been superb for me and the club this season.”