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Gary Mills reflects on a ‘fantastic’ two years at Bootham Crescent
HAVING celebrated his second anniversary in charge at Bootham Crescent this week, York City manager Gary Mills has firmly outlined his intention to guide the club into npower League One.
During his 24 months at the helm, Mills has lifted City 25 places up the football pyramid from 16th in the Blue Square Bet Premier standings to 14th in this morning’s League Two table.
He has also swollen the club’s coffers by a sum approaching seven figures during that time, courtesy of last season’s play-off and FA Trophy final win double at Wembley.
Under his tenure, City have won 48 per cent of their matches too and, on average, only lost every fifth game.
But Mills, who started his reign with a 1-1 home draw against Bath back on October 16, 2010, is now looking forward to the next challenge.
“I believe we’ve started this season well and I think everybody wants to get out of this division eventually,” Mills said. “Eventually could mean years or months but the next job is to get this club into League One.
“Some people might say the first priority is to establish ourselves as a League Two club and that might be the case because we are all still learning about League Two and how it’s different to the Conference but, as manager, I want to take this club up again.”
Mills’ dugout adversary this afternoon is the Football League’s longest-serving manager John Still, who has been in charge of Dagenham & Redbridge for eight-and-a-half years.
Only Premier League trio Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes have been in their posts longer from the country’s top 92 teams with Mills’ two-year tenure placing him 24th in that list.
Incredibly, 47 of the current incumbents, more than half of the overall total, have been at the helm for less than a year.
Asked whether he hopes and intends to stick around in North Yorkshire for as long as Still has carried out his duties at Dagenham, Mills said: “Who knows?
“What I have learned in football is you don’t talk about being anywhere for eight years. You talk about getting to three because you never know what’s around the corner in this game.
“If we go back to this time last year who would have dreamed what was about to happen? As a manager, you just have to get on with your job and do your bit every day but I am very happy and want to take this club further.”
Reflecting on his achievements since swapping Tamworth for the Minstermen two autumns ago, Mills added: “You always hope as a manager that you can go in and turn a club around.
“I wanted to be the man to achieve what the chairman and everybody else wanted for the club which was getting back into the Football League. A couple had come close in the past but I did it and I’m proud of that.
“I’ve loved every second of the last two years. It’s been a dream and what we have achieved has been fantastic, but I’ve also met some lovely people and made some good friends in a great city.”
Brewing up a shock for Daggers
Travelling Dagenham fans who normally pay 70p for a cup of tea, will be in for a shock at today’s game.
According to one of the surprise findings in this week’s BBC Sport Price Of Football survey, City charge more for a half-time cuppa than London’s big four of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham.
In fact, at £2.10, the caterers at City sell the seventh-most expensive brew in the English game after Manchester City (£2.50), Manchester United (£2.50), Liverpool (£2.20), Newcastle (£2.20), Birmingham (£2.20) and Blackburn (£2.20).
City fare better on season tickets, offering the eighth cheapest in the country’s top four divisions at £242 behind Hartlepool (£155), Bradford (£199), Northampton (£199), Leyton Orient (£200), Walsall (£215), Fleetwood (£230) and Oxford (£240).
Only Burton (£16), Accrington Stanley (£17) and Fleetwood (£17) also offer better value than the most expensive match-day ticket at Bootham Crescent of £19.
Skipper climbs Press rankings
YORK City captain Chris Smith moved up to third in The Press Player of the Year standings after being our man of the match in the 1-1 draw at Bradford.
Smith collected three points towards the contest with Ashley Chambers (two) and Danny Kearns (one) also recognised as The Press’ second and third-highest rated players at Valley Parade.
The two Player of the Month bonus points on offer to the player who polled most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website went to Chambers. Jamal Fyfield still leads that competition.
To be in with a chance of presenting the October Player of the Month with his prize – a framed photograph – on the pitch before a City home game, register your man-of-the-match votes from today’s League Two clash against Dagenham or Tuesday’s trip to Accrington.
You can also tweet your selections to @daveflettpress
The Press Player of the Year latest standings (not including Player of the Month bonus points): Walker 12, Parslow 11, C Smith 10, Ingham 9, Chambers 8, Fyfield 8, Coulson 7, Blair 6, J Smith 5, Oyebanjo 4, Doig 3, Blanchett 2, Taylor 2, Challinor 1, Kearns 1, McLaughlin 1.
The Press Player of the Month latest October standings: Fyfield 9, Walker 6, Chambers 4, Parslow 4, C Smith 3, Blair 2, Doig 2, Coulson 1, Kearns 1.
Goals: Coulson 5, Chambers 4, Walker 3, Blair 2, McLaughlin 2, Parslow 1, C Smith 1.
Assists: J Smith 5, Walker 4, Chambers 2, Coulson 2, Parslow 2, Challinor 1, McLaughlin 1, C Smith 1.
Bad boys: Chambers 4 yellow cards; Fyfield, McLaughlin, C Smith all 2 yellow; Challinor, Coulson, Doig, Ingham, Kerr, J Smith, Walker all 1 yellow.
A book chronicling last season’s double-winning Wembley campaign will be on sale in the club shop at today’s home match with Dagenham.
City Are Back has been written by Bootham Crescent season-ticket holder Paul Wilson, who will be signing copies this afternoon.
As well as charting the 2012 triumphs, it also contains a brief history in its 220 pages with 24 colour photographs, match reports, league tables and statistics.
It costs £15 and can be ordered by phoning Croft Publications on 01423 322558. Post and packaging costs £3.
The book can also be ordered online at www.croftpublications.co.uk