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Middlesbrough benefit game thrills York City’s David McGurk
LONG-SERVING York City defender David McGurk is delighted that boyhood heroes Middlesbrough will kick off his benefit season at Bootham Crescent.
McGurk has played for the Minstermen in each of the past eight campaigns at Conference level and has been rewarded for his service after being part of the squad that secured promotion back to the Fooball League last season.
Championship club Middlesbrough have agreed to send a strong side, featuring at least ten professionals, to face City on Saturday, August 4 just a day after travelling to Carlisle for another pre-season friendly.
For lifelong Boro fan McGurk, who grew up watching their players train outside his bedroom window, the gesture means a lot.
He said: “I’m delighted they will be coming for my benefit game. There might have been opportunities to get a team who would probably bring more fans but, being from the area and growing up supporting them, makes it more special.
“My parents’ house backs on to the old training ground in Hutton Road, so I used to watch them train out of my back window from as young as I can remember and then started going to games from about the age of five.
“My first hero was Stuart Ripley. I wanted to be a right winger when I was a kid just because he was one and heading balls as far as I can from centre-half wasn’t the dream those days.
“I’ll have a load of family and friends coming down. My aunty started taking me to Ayresome Park when I was young before the move to the Riverside where I went with my parents and mates.”
McGurk, whose nickname is Ty in reference to a store in his native Teesside, travelled to Eindhoven in 2006 to witness Boro’s 4-0 UEFA Cup final defeat to Sevilla. He also watched Boro contest League Cup and FA Cup finals.
“I’ve been to pretty much every big game they have been involved in over the years,” the 29-year-old centre-back added.
“In fact, Wembley was a bit of a nightmare place to visit before last season as I’d never won there as a fan or player in about seven attempts.
“The only cup Boro did win was at the Millenium Stadium but I did get to that one as well though.”
Boro first-team coach Mark Proctor, the assistant manager at Darlington when McGurk started his career there, has helped make the game possible with McGurk appreciating his efforts, saying: “Once I mentioned it to Proc, he went out of his way to get it organised so I can’t thank him enough.”
McGurk also believes the match will be of great benefit to City’s players as they prepare for the start of the League Two season a fortnight later.
“It’s always a good test playing players from a higher level,” he reasoned.
“We usually give a good account of ourselves in these games and, with two weeks to go before the start of the League Two season, hopefully we will be close to 100 per cent.”
The game is one of three events already organised for McGurk’s benefit year.
A golf day will also be held at Forest Park Golf Club on Wednesday, August 29, and a benefit dinner has been arranged for the Royal York Hotel on October 25 when former Middlesbrough and Blackburn striker Craig Hignett the guest speaker.
Entries are now being taken for the golf day, which will be played to a Stableford format with a fee of £160 for a team of four, including coffee and bacon sandwiches on arrival and a presentation dinner.
Teams of three can also request a City player to make up their numbers and individuals can pay £40 to be allocated to a team.
Tee times will be from noon and the FA Trophy and Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final cup will also be on display.
Places can be reserved by phoning Malcolm Slinger on 07769 262923 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org