HE once tackled the likes of Ryan Giggs and Anders Limpar for the Minstermen, but Andy McMillan is now hoping to stop the city’s germs and bacteria in their tracks.

The York City legend is taking a break from football to concentrate on an exciting new business venture which it is estimated could save the NHS and UK tax-payers thousands of pounds a day.

As recently as the end of last month, a North Yorkshire Norovirus outbreak saw at least two wards closed at both York and Scarborough hospitals.

In January, meanwhile, restricted visiting was enforced for only the second time in York Hospital’s history because the safety of patients and staff was being endangered.

But, uniquely on these shores, McMillan’s BIODECOM company can have hospital wards reopened within 20 minutes of being decontaminated, rather than the minimum seven-day wait that is the norm.

Explaining the potentially revolutionary process, the former City full-back, who is placed second behind Barry Jackson on the club’s all-time appearance list, said: “We go into hospitals, nursing homes, care homes, nurseries and schools and kill off any germs, viruses and bugs.

“We can totally eradicate MRSA and the Norovirus in one visit, because the difference between our method and that of other companies operating in this country is that we can validate the work. We do this with Protak Scientific strips, which are put up in the corners of rooms and, after the machinery has been set up and doors sealed, you get a reading off them that proves nothing has survived in the room and patients can be moved back into the ward straight away.

“Nobody else is doing that in the UK. The existing method is to put down a biological plate for seven days to see whether there is any growth.

“That plate might not come back clean and the period of time that the ward is shut is then extended. There’s also another technique that’s known as “spray-and-pray” and I know what it’s like when you think you’ve cleaned your own kitchen surfaces and it’s incredible what’s still on them.

“But we can give customers complete satisfaction that rooms are sterile within 20 minutes of coming out of the room and the work can take from ten minutes to an hour depending on room size. In care homes, you sometimes get an odour too and we can eradicate that so it doesn’t come back, while other methods can just mask it for a while. Our method is being used by nearly every hospital and care home in America and it’s massive in the pharmaceutical industry.”

McMillan – City’s 1990s favourite who is now 50 – has already held discussions with the City of York Council and York Hospital regarding a possible future working partnership and also has a meeting with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust lined up.

“We’re looking for different contracts with various different hospitals and care homes and I’m hoping we should soon be inundated with work,” McMillan added.

The South Africa-born, former Tottenham trialist has now left his most recent job in football, overseeing the i2i’s International Soccer Academy at York St John’s University – a role that he combined with being assistant manager to Chris Moyles at Alfreton Town for a short period before the pair left their positions at the end of last season.

When this chance then presented itself, McMillan felt the timing was right for a career switch.

“I wanted to do something different and a very close friend of mine asked me what I thought of this product,” he pointed out. “We had three or four meetings and decided to do it.

“There are three of us that have put money into the company and we’ve bought the machinery, trained the staff and have offices in London and Haxby. That’s all been expensive, but you have to invest to get it right.

“I’m the managing director and the other two guys have businesses of their own, so I’ve been busy getting it up and running over the last three months. I started by reading ‘Microbiology for Dummies’, and now I know all sorts.

“When I finished playing football, I did a business management degree and had my own aggregate business, whilst I was doing my coaching badges, so I know a bit about running companies and I enjoy challenges, so this is a fresh one. I’ll probably go back into football if this takes off and can work on its own but, if it takes a couple of years, I’ll stick at it.”

McMillan played 492 times for City between 1987 and 1999 before ending his professional career as a player during a brief spell in Scotland with Ayr United.

He went on to coach at academy level with City, Hull, Lincoln, Barnet, Notts County and Grimsby, prior to his stint with the seniors at Alfreton.

While not ruling out a return to the game, though, McMillan has admitted he has grown a little disillusioned with the politics and cut-throat nature of the industry, declaring: “I’m pleased to see players who I’ve worked with doing well like Ben Godfrey at Norwich, Jamal Lowe with Portsmouth and Elliott Johnson at Barnet, but the academy system has changed from when I went into it in 2002.

“There are politics involved and clubs hoard players because they’re scared of making mistakes. Football’s also a cut-throat industry and that’s getting worse and worse now.

“There’s no security. We went in at Alfreton and did a really good job but were then told they would be cutting the budget, so we left, only for them to quadruple it when the new manager went in!

“I’m glad to get out of it really and my wife says I’m a different man. I can also spend more time following my sons’ careers. I can visit Alex in Sweden, where he’s playing now, when I want and watch Max train and play for Leeds under-18s.”

SEAN Newton is the early leader of The Press Player of the Month contest for March.

The 30-year-old utility man won our man-of-the-match award for the 1-0 win at Leamington to collect three points towards the standings.

He also received the two bonus points available to the player who received the most man-of-the-match votes from our Twitter poll.

The other Press points went to Alex Kempster (two) and Hamza Bencherif (one) as out second and third-highest rated performers respectively.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Bartlett 27, Burrow 27, Griffiths 24, Wright 14, Newton 13, Moke 11, York 11, Ferguson 9, Heslop 9, Penn 9, Tait 9, Bray 8, Kempster 7, Parkin 6, Langstaff 5, Mirfin 5, Allan 4, Bencherif 4, Burgess 4, Davis 4, Agnew 3, Digie 3, Dyer 3, Harris 3, Law 3, McLaughlin 3, Hawkins 2, McAughtrie 1, Parslow 1.

The Press Player of the Month standings for March: Newton 5, Kempster 2, Bencherif 1.

Goals: Burrow 17, Langstaff 5, Wright 5, Kempster 4, Newton 4, Bencherif 3, Parkin 3, York 3, Ferguson 2, Harris 2, Moke 2, Tait 2, Bray 1, Burgess 1, Griffiths 1, Hawkins 1, Heslop 1.

Assists: Burrow 10, Harris 6, Ferguson 4, Langstaff 4, Law 4, Wright 4, Parkin 3, Bray 3, Griffiths 3, York 3, Bartlett 2, Allan 1, Agnew 1, Bencherif 1, Digie 1, Dyer 1, Hawkins 1, Heslop 1, Kempster 1, McLaughlin 1, Newton 1, Tait 1.

Discipline: Wright eight yellow cards; Heslop seven yellow; Moke, Newton both six yellow; Bencherif five yellow; Griffiths, four yellow; Tait one red, two yellow; Davis three yellow; Ferguson, Law both two yellow; Penn one red, one yellow; Bray one red; Allan, Burgess, Hawkins, Kempster, Langstaff, McAughtrie, York all one yellow.