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Where are they now?
ONE-TIME York City manager Alan Little has saluted the club for repeating the historic feat of playing at Wembley.
Little was the Minstermen’s leader when he fronted City’s historic first march on the lush Wembley turf in the Division Three play-off final against Crewe Alexandra in 1993.
Any fan worth their salt knows that Little’s charges triumphed 4-2 on penalties after the two teams could not be separated over 120 minutes, each locked at 1-1.
Today it is the turn of Martin Foyle to lead the club out into another day in the sun, this time at the newer and bigger Wembley in the FA Trophy final against Stevenage Borough.
And while Little can claim to be the first, he was generous in his desire for the club, whom he served for more than a decade, to be crowned Wembley wonders for a second time.
Said Little: “For a club of the stature of York City to have had one chance of playing at Wembley was probably more than the club could hope for. To have another chance of playing there is fantastic.
“I know they have not had the best of seasons, but hopefully today they can finish off on a high note. We won promotion but to win a cup would be a great achievement and it would certainly soften the blow of not doing what they would have liked in the league.”
Though Little no longer has any connection with a game he enjoyed 32 years in as a player, coach, assistant manager and manager, he still revelled in the memory of his and his team’s dazzling day in the sun 16 years ago.
“It’s a limited opportunity for a player to play at Wembley and even more so for a manager and no one can ever take that away from York City or myself,” added Little, whose tenure at Bootham Crescent also included a run to the play-off semi-finals a year after Wembley, plus a bewildering brace of Coca-Cola Cup conquests of top-flight clubs Manchester United and Everton in successive seasons.
“We went down there as a united team, not just the players, but the directors, backroom staff and the squad, as well as the fans, and we got the result we fully deserved.
“It was funny. We made a decision that we did not want to stay down in London to celebrate if we won. We all wanted to get back to York where we could celebrate with our fans. The response was brilliant from our supporters and it just capped what was a fantastic experience.”
Captain of the 1993 Wembley marvels was Paul Stancliffe, later to serve as assistant to Little.
Now head of youth development at Coca-Cola Championship outfit Doncaster Rovers, the former Sheffield United and Wolves defensive kingpin still rates City’s Wembley magic on a par with captaining Sheffield United back to the top-flight and an opening game against then champions Liverpool at Bramall Lane in 1990.
“I couldn’t really split those two occasions,” he said. “Everything was just great about the day at Wembley, apart from Tut (Steve Tutill) giving away the penalty that took us into extra time.
“Even as the years have gone by, playing at Wembley is just something that you never forget.
“We had a great mix then of experience and flair. I was one of the older guys alongside Gary Swann and Tony Canham and then we had the likes of Paul Barnes and Jon McCarthy, who gave us that bit extra.
“And when we got back to York and our open-top bus ride it was battering with rain yet thousands of fans turned out. It was brilliant.”
Legends of 1993
1 Manager Alan Little
After more than ten years at York City as youth coach, assistant manager and manager, had spells managing Southend and Halifax before quitting the game. Lives in Lincoln, where he works as a front-line manager for a parcel delivery firm.
2 Goalkeeper Dean Kiely
Still plying his trade as a shot-stopper in the top-flight with FA Premiership relegation-battlers West Brom, where he is number two to England’s Scott Carson.
3 Right-back Andy McMillan
Working full-time with Premiership Hull City on their Enterprise scheme helping people to gain national qualifications through football. Also on the Tigers’ centre of excellence coaching staff.
4 Left-back Wayne Hall
The 1993 penalty-scoring king works as a prison officer in South Yorkshire.
5 Centre-back Paul Stancliffe
The Wembley 1993 captain is head of youth development at Coca-Cola Championship Doncaster Rovers, whom he joined after leaving similar position at York City.
6 Centre-back Paul Atkin
He works as a driving instructor. Lives in Pocklington.
7 Right-wing Jon McCarthy
Works as a sports teacher at Sandbach College, also does punditry work covering Premiership-bound Birmingham City for independent Birmingham radio station.
8 Central midfield Nigel Pepper
Lives in York, qualified as a sports teacher, and now working with young offenders.
9 Central midfield Gary Swann
Only gave up playing semi-pro football in Essex League two years ago. Now a leisure centre manager in Guildford.
10 Left-winger Tony Canham
Now working for Leeds City Council.
11 Striker Paul Barnes
Hero of the terraces for his scoring exploits, he is a partner in a finance brokerage company in his native Midlands.
12 Striker Ian Blackstone
The cutlass to Barnes’ rapier thrusts, was still playing semi-pro last season with Tadcaster Albion. Works for an engineering firm in York.
13 Substitute: Steve Tutill
Works in the prison service, including qualification as a sports teacher, at Wetherby.