As the shock waves over Bootham Crescent's imminent closure begin to reverberate, The Evening Press looks back at York City Football Club's highs and lows

PROFESSIONAL football in York dates back to 1912, when the first York City Football Club, formed as an amateur outfit in 1908, turned professional. A plot of land was bought in Burton Stone Lane not far from the current ground at Bootham Crescent.

The club played in the Midland League but, with the outbreak of war in 1914, games were suspended and the club folded in 1917.

It was to be another five years before it was decided York needed a standard bearer in the professional football world. Then, on March 31, 1922, about 400 people attended a meeting urging the formation of a York City Association Football Club.

Seven years later, on June 3, 1929, City were finally elected to the Football League.

City's opening league game, on August 31, 1929, brought a 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic with local youngster Reg Stockhill the youngest player to turn out for the club aged 15 years and 281 days and Jim Cowie scoring the goals in front of an 8,880 crowd.

City's Bootham Crescent tenure began in 1932. Their first League game at the ground, on August 31 1932, came against Stockport County. More than 8,000 watched as City's first goal at the Crescent was scored by Tom Mitchell. Reg Baines netted a second from the penalty spot as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

City had to wait until September 17 for their first win at the Crescent, a 4-3 triumph over Mansfield courtesy of a Baines hat-trick. The crowd was 4,313.

At the AGM in 1934, it was announced the Supporters' Club had raised more than £950 towards the cost of the Popular Stand, priced at £1,500.

In the following season, City reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

A crowd of 18,795 watch the 3-2 win over WBA in the fourth round, surpassed in the fifth when 23,860 gathered at Bootham Crescent for the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

City went out in the quarters to Huddersfield Town but only in a replay after holding the Terriers to a scoreless draw at Bootham Crescent.

That match was attended by 28,123, setting an attendance record which still stands today.

The following season, City suffered their heaviest defeat at Bootham Crescent losing 7-0 to Rochdale on January 14, 1939 in front of crowd of 3,826.

On September 2 that year, the day after war had been declared, all the players were called together at Bootham Crescent and it was explained football had been suspended. The players were given their cards and it was seven years before football was resumed on a normal peacetime basis again.

With the war over, better times returned. The club announced the purchase of Bootham Crescent in September 1948, and on November 20 that year, more than 19,000 saw a memorable 6-1 victory over Rotherham United when Alf Patrick scored five goals.

On April 23, 1949, a record League crowd of 21,010 saw the visit of Hull, City losing 3-1 with Patrick again on the scoresheet. The average crowd of 10,412 that season remains a club record.

Then in 1954-55 came City's spectacular run to the FA cup semi-finals, still surely the highlight of the club' history.

Cup fever grabbed York as star-studded sides from the First Division Blackpool, Tottenham and Notts County were swept away.

A 1-0 win over County courtesy of an Arthur Bottom goal earned a semi-final showdown with the mighty Newcastle United.

Bottom was on target again in a 1-1 draw with the Magpies in front of 65,000 spectators at a rain-lashed Hillsborough, but York's Wembley dreams finally came to an end in the replay at Sunderland, Newcastle winning 2-0.

The good times weren't over, however. A couple of seasons later, in February 1957, City achieved their record win with a 9-1 triumph over Southport at Bootham Crescent.

Some indifferent seasons followed before, in a heady seven year reign from 1968 to 1975, Tom Jonhston still reckoned by many to be City's best-ever manager lifted the club from the depths of Division Four to the heights of Division Two.

City were now facing the likes of Manchester United, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest but held on to their new-found status until Johnston left for Huddersfield.

Former Manchester United wing-half Wilf McGuinness took over but could not prevent City crashing back down to Division Four.

It was not until the club turned to Denis Smith in 1982 that matters picked up.

The former Stoke City player pieced together a side that stormed to the Division Four championship in 1983-84 with a record 101 points, the first side to break through the century barrier.

The following season came another of city's great Cup runs. On a cold, frosty day on January 26 1985 a dramatic late Houchen penalty at Bootham Cresecnt sent mighty Arsenal crashing out in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The draw gave City another plum home tie in the next round Liverpool. A tremendous display by York earned them a 1-1 draw before being swamped 7-0 in the replay at Anfield.

In 1987, however, Smith moved on to Sunderland, his place taken by Bobby Saxton who could not prevent City from sliding back into Division Four in 1988.

A poor start to the next season saw Saxton resign and his job went to John Bird, the former Hartlepool boss.

City were in the thick of the promotion hunt when Ward left for Bristol Rovers with just a couple of months of the 1992-93 season remaining.

Alan Little, who had been assistant to Bird and Ward, took over as boss and guided City to the play-off finals at Wembley.

Around 10,000 City fans made the pilgrimage to Wembley where left-back Wayne Hall score in extra time to give City promotion.

The 1995-96 season saw City shake football with a 3-0 Coca-Cola triumph over Manchester United at Old Trafford and hung on in the Bootham Crescent return to go through to the third round where they were finally eliminated by QPR.

Cup heroics could not be matched in the league and City only avoided relegation by beating Brighton 3-1 at the Goldstone Ground after the season had finished.

The pattern continued in 1996-97 when City put Everton out of the Coca-Cola Cup but spent the rest of the season battling against the drop.

The City board finally lost patience with Little in 1999 as City, in touching distance of the play-offs at Christmas, started to slide down the table.

After being handed the job at the start of the new season by February, with City just three places of the bottom of the Football League and the threat of relegation to the Conference real, he was sacked, replaced by former Hull City manager Terry Dolan.

Updated: 10:27 Wednesday, January 09, 2002