FANS are being asked to suggest the names of York City heroes of the past that four apartment blocks to be built at Bootham Crescent could be named after.

The club, which is 100 this year, is hoping to put forward for consideration a selection of names from each of four different periods in its past. This week, in the fourth and final part of our review of the club's history and of the people who have helped make it what it is, we reach the period from 1993 to the present.

It's a period that began with City enjoying a solid, six-year stay (from 1993-1999) in the third tier of English football - and which also saw some memorable League Cup performances, says club historian Paul Bowser.

"In 1995, City overcame Manchester United, winning 3-0 at Old Trafford then resisting a strong comeback from Alex Ferguson’s full-strength side in the second leg to progress by an aggregate score of 4-3 at a packed Bootham Crescent," Paul says.

In 1999, the club's board of directors moved City’s main asset – its ground - into a separate company called Bootham Crescent Holdings (BCH).

Two years later, the very existence of York City and Bootham Crescent was imperilled. Then City chairman Douglas Craig announced that the club would resign from the League and close if a new buyer was not found within weeks.

"Another bombshell followed, when it became clear that City’s home ground was not part of any deal and would have to be purchased separately from BCH at a cost of £4.5million," Paul says. "A Supporters’ Trust was formed, as fans mobilised against what many saw as a betrayal by the directors."

In 2002 John Batchelor became chairman after securing the club for £1. He agreed to City leaving Bootham Crescent by the end of May 2003, despite having no other venue to play at.

"From this desperate position, both club and ground somehow survived due to the time and effort of countless individuals rallying under the Trust banner," Paul says.

"Tens of thousands of pounds of funding from supporters helped keep City afloat, including a £50,000 donation from lifelong fan and current chairman Jason McGill. This bought the time for a last-minute agreement to be reached with the administrator in March 2003."

However, it took a separate negotiations in early 2004 to secure Bootham Crescent, McGill being a central figure in brokering a loan from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund to buy the ground.

York Press:

Flashback to 2014, and then City Manager Nigel Worthington and chairman Jason McGill look at plans for the new community stadium

Remarkably, City’s on-field fortunes initially seemed impervious to the upheavals, but a calamitous dip in form in the second half of the 2003/04 season saw the club related from the Football League after 75 years of membership.

A sometimes difficult eight years followed, as the club sought to regain League status alongside working with the City of York council to secure a site for a new community stadium.

All the struggles became worthwhile during a fabulous eight-day period in May 2012. City’s long-term home was assured as councillors approved plans to redevelop the Huntington Stadium site, in between the team and its supporters twice tasting victory at Wembley. Under Gary Mills’ charismatic management, City lifted the FA Trophy and, more importantly, won the Conference play-off final against Luton Town to regain their much-cherished Football League status.

York Press:

York City open top bus celebration tour following the double Wembley triumph in 2012

City had a roller-coaster four years back in the League, then suffered successive relegations to the National League North. The situation was made worse by frustrating delays to the buildingof the new stadium. Eventually, however, the time came to move. City’s home match against Hereford United on 3 March 2020 was the last competitive match at Bootham Crescent to be played without COVID restrictions.

"City’s future is now very much at the LNER Stadium, the club having finally moved in during 2021," Paul says.

Although Bootham Crescent’s football days are over, plans to redevelop the site include a lasting legacy area - and, hopefully, four apartment blocks named after City heroes. The rules stipulate the blocks can only be named after City figures of the past, not those still living. That limits who can be considered from this period. But Paul has written mini-biographies of some City stalwarts (none of them players) who are worthy of consideration.

You're free to come up with your own suggestions, of course. To suggest a name, visit


Bryan Foster, the groundsman

York Press:

York City groundsman Bryan Foster spreads straw on the pitch to revent freezing ahead of an FA Cup tie with Liverpool in 1986

Bryan had aspired to grace the Bootham Crescent pitch as a footballer, playing for City’s ‘A’ Team in the Yorkshire League for a time, but was thrilled to do the next best thing when he joined the ground staff in 1958. In a career spanning five decades,‘Fozzy’ became hugely popular.

Foster’s office was the Bootham Crescent playing surface which improved immeasurably under his loving care.

Tales abound as to his generosity, kindness, racing tips, and the regular imploring of trespassers to get off his pitch. Then, the morning after a home win over Cambridge United in February 1994, Bryan gave the pitch a quick check after a heavy overnight frost before returning home. Tragically, he died suddenly later that day, to the shock of his many friends across football.

Malcolm Huntington, the reporter

York Press:

Along with Wilf Meek, Malcolm’s reporting on York City created an authoritative archive which chronicles the club's day-to-day history. He covered City’s first team for the Yorkshire Evening Press from 1968 onwards until his retirement as chief sports writer in 1995, and even then remained a familiar face in press boxes up and down the country. He was awarded an MBE for services to regional journalism.

Malcolm rarely missed a City fixture over a 45-year period, totting up over 2,000 matches, but sometimes his other career took precedence - that of international tennis umpire. He officiated at six Wimbledon finals, and also at two Olympic games and the Davies Cup.

Malcolm had a forthright style, and would never shy from confrontation with the York City board. Nevertheless, he was well-respected. A minute’s silence was held in his honour prior to the match against Forest Green Rovers in April 2017.

David Batters, the club historian

York Press:

David drew upon an archive of press cuttings combined with his wealth of statistics and knowledge to create books that have become the York City bibles to many fans. Attending his first match as a nine-year old during the 1948/49 season, Batters’ interest in the club grew. He collected programmes and news cuttings, and maintained statistical records which became engrained his memory.

He began contributing to the programme in 1974 by submitting a ‘Memory Lane’ feature and soon became the club historian. In 1990, he published the first of two ‘Complete Record’ books, detailing every match, player, and attendance since 1922. An updated edition was published 18 years later.

Always cheerful, Batters was also a familiar face around Bootham Crescent on matchdays as a co-commentator and summariser for York Hospital Radio.

Steve Beck, Save City campaigner

York Press:

In the early years of the millennium, when the future of the club was imperilled, Steve was a key figure in the ‘Save City’ campaign. He volunteered his accountancy skills at the formation of the Supporters’ Trust in January 2002. His sheer presence and larger-than-life personality were aligned with a steely determination that the club must be saved after previous chairman John Batchelor put City into administration. Steve became the club’s new chairman in March 2003 after the Trust takeover, but relinquished the role in early 2005.

He remained on the City board until 2009 and remained a passionate City supporter. There was huge sorrow at his passing at the tragically early age of 58. The players wore black armbands in his memory during the final home match of the 2014/15 season.

Frank Cawood, supporters’ club

York Press:

Frank saw his first City match as an 11-year-old, and helped with the move from Fulfordgate to Bootham Crescent in 1932. After returning to York following wartime service, his association with the club grew stronger. He worked tirelessly for the fund-raising Auxiliary Club, helping to raise £100,000 for City over a ten-year period from 1954.

In 1959, he became the Supporters’ Club Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. He was the club’s chief matchday steward at Bootham Crescent for many years, cashing up that day’s takings - which meant he missed most of the match. He enjoyed the away fixtures more, and was always welcomed aboard the team bus.