New York City recruit Greg Young aims to use his own play-off anguish to provide a tonic for the Minstermen troops as he outlines to The Press York City reporter DAVE FLETT.
YORK City’s new signing Greg Young is hoping he can provide the perfect remedy for any play-off hangover at Bootham Crescent.
Centre-back Young was a member of the Halifax Town side which missed out on a return to the Football League in 2006 when they were beaten 3-2 by Hereford United in the Conference play-off final.
The following season, the Shaymen slumped to a 16th-place finish in the table and, 12 months later, the club were demoted three divisions after plunging into administration.
A hangover of George Best proportions maybe.
But, having been there before, Young believes he can draw on that experience to ensure his new club do not dwell on the disappointment of their Wembley defeat to an Oxford team managed by Chris Wilder – his old boss in Calderdale.
Young also pointed out that Halifax’s efforts to bounce back during the following season were not helped by the sale of key players like top scorer John Grant to Aldershot and the 27-year-old defender hopes City can now hold on to the nucleus of their 2009/10 squad.
He said: “The club wants to get back into the League and I’ve been in that position of missing out narrowly. I know what that’s all about and how the players are feeling.
“I can bring that experience because I have been through it. It’s a hard place to be but you have to forget what you’ve missed out on, take the positives from last season, remove the disappointment, build again, get a stronger squad and push for promotion.
“People talk about hangovers and there was a bit of one at Halifax but it was probably more to do with losing a few players.”
Young signed for Halifax after a brief spell with Northwich having been handed his first taste of professional football at Grimsby Town.
Following Halifax’s demise, he has spent the last two seasons studying for a sports exercise science degree while playing part-time football for Altrincham.
The 6ft 3in tall defender has helped the perennial relegation candidates to successive mid-table finishes of 14th and 15th, boasting the ninth-best goals conceded record in the division last season.
But Young admitted he has joined the Minstermen because he wants to set his sights higher, while continuing in higher education on a part-time basis.
He said: “I was out of contract at Altrincham and got a phone call towards the end of the season saying York were interested. The manager said he was keen to sign me and I was naturally interested in a club like York.
“I watched the play-offs and got another phone call and came down to see the ground and training ground.
“Everything impressed me, including what the manager had to say, and I was keen to sign.
“I had a couple of other options but York match my ambitions. They have been in the play-offs and I want to get back into the League. I think York can do that next season.
“I dropped out of full-time football for two years to do my studies and Altrincham have been a good club to me. We had two relatively good years for a part-time team and the club is well run but, ultimately, I want to play at as high a level as I possibly can and it’s pleasing to get on board with a club like York.”
The Doncaster-born defender is also looking forward to sharing a dressing room with City top scorer Richard Brodie.
The former Newcastle Benfield forward has netted in three of his last four meetings against Young, including a penalty during last season’s 2-1 home win after his new team-mate hauled him down in the dying stages.
Young is a big admirer of fellow City strikers Michael Rankine and Michael Gash too from previous contests and is impressed with the team’s match-winning potential, saying: “Brodie’s goalscoring record speaks for itself and Michael Rankine, who is an old friend of mine, is a handful, as is Michael Gash.
“They are three very good strikers and that can make a big difference. A lot of teams struggle for strikers but we have three that can win you games.”
As Alty’s third top scorer last season, Young is hoping to prove his worth, meanwhile, as an occasional marksman again during 2010/11.
His tally of six would have only been bettered by Brodie, Rankine and Gash among the City ranks and, surprisingly, he had only scored seven league goals in seven years up to last summer.
About his new-found talent, Young added: “It’s something I have worked on in my own game during the last couple of years. I made a point of improving my scoring record and I’ve done that slightly.
“It can make a massive difference because you can’t just rely on your strikers to get you goals. I’m aiming to match last season’s tally or better it and, having played against York, I know the dead-ball deliveries are good so, hopefully, I can get on the end of a few.
“But, first of all, I have to prove my worth to win a starting place. I believe I am good enough to do that.
“I know the team is strong at the back but, hopefully, I can add to that with a bit of leadership and communication.
“The manager also likes to play a brand of football I want to be involved in.”