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TRIUMPHS by 2-0 and 11-4 – now just one more positive scoreline and York City will be able to revel in nine of the most pneumatically pumped-up days in their 90-year history.
The Minstermen, who tomorrow advance into football’s record-books as the only side to appear in two different competitions at Wembley in the space of just over a week, are seeking a hat-trick in which the tide of misfortune will have been transformed into a wonderwall wave of well-being.
This time last week the club garnered their first genuine silverware for more than two decades when they numbed Newport County 2-0 to lift the FA Trophy.
Just under 36 hours ago the bunting fluttered with even more fervour after plans for a new Community Stadium were agreed by an emphatic margin of 11-4 by City of York Council’s planning committee.
There are many hurdles still to clear, but the first and most crucial barrier has been straddled towards securing a new home for the Minstermen, York City Knights and sundry other community uses for the arena planned at Monks Cross.
Tomorrow the wheel of fortune spins back again to Wembley and the £1 million play-off final against arch-adversaries Luton Town.
For the winner the prize is simple yet pivotal – a return to the Football League. For City that would end eight long years out of the 92 Club elite – eight long years of lingering and lasting longing.
Manager Gary Mills has already etched himself into the club’s folklore by the feat of getting to Wembley not once, but twice in eight days.
Just think – before the end of the Premier League campaign there were no fewer than eight top-flight clubs yet to have appeared under the arch of Wembley. City have been there four times in the last four seasons.
It makes you wonder where are those doubting Thomases, Dicks and Harrys now who, during a blip in the campaign, questioned whether the City manager was up to the task?
His appointment has been a touch of the finest foresight from the club’s ruling McGill clan.
And if Mills inspires his Minstermen to a second successive Wembley conquest, he can stand among the small brigade of bosses who have overseen the most glorious chapters in the Bootham Crescent heritage – Tom Mitchell, Sam Bartram, Tom Johnston, Denis Smith, John Ward and Alan Little.
However, should a Wembley one-two not be secured under the arch tomorrow, there would still be no better candidate to launch City into another assault on clambering back into the Football League.
Astute, intelligent and passionate, Mills has been a breeze of freshness at the helm of City.
Those qualities, combined with a brilliant talent-spot for a player – just look at how Jason Walker, Matty Blair and Paddy McLaughlin have sprung from relative backwaters to prosper – ensure Mills is, without doubt, the man for City.
Whether it is outright success come sandwiches and Battenburg cake time tomorrow eve, or whether it is a case of start all over again in the Conference next season, the Northampton-born boss thoroughly deserves the acclaim of the club’s fan-base.
Initial approval for the Community Stadium has provided hope of a brand new future for City. If Mills remains in charge that hope burns brighter.
When Bill Shankly arrived at a moribund Anfield, one of his prime objectives was to “make the people happy”. Mills and his Minstermen have already made City people happy. Tomorrow let’s keep the faith they will be ecstatic.
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