NEW arrival John McReady has thanked York City for saving his professional career.

The 19-year-old midfielder, who has signed a two-year deal with the Minstermen, admitted fearing for his future in the game after former club Darlington fell into administration and crashed out of the Blue Square Bet Premier.

“I can’t believe it,” he said after putting pen to paper. “After what happened at Darlington last season I was thinking ‘Is this my professional career over?’. I did have doubts in my mind. But, obviously, I’m just so glad that York came in and saved my career in a way.”

McReady’s capture, for which City will pay a small fee, was part of a busy day of transfer activity, yesterday, with forward Michael Coulson also signing a two-year contract and defender James Meredith departing for League Two rivals Bradford.

McReady said he needed little encouragement to join manager Gary Mills’ Football League revolution.

“It has been a long two weeks,” he explained. “I first talked to the manager and everything seemed to be agreed but there was a little blip with terms at the Darlington end and I am delighted to have joined.

“I agreed terms straight away and everything seemed right. I’m hoping to help the team as much as I can. They should go into the League not fearing anyone. After winning the double last season, why not go for a double promotion?

“You have seen other teams do it in the past, like Doncaster and Stevenage, so why not?”

While disappointed at the fate which has befallen Darlington, McReady said he was anxious to experience once again the match-day atmosphere of Bootham Crescent, which he says is a complete contrast to games in front of spartan crowds at the Darlington Arena.

“What’s going on at Darlington is so sad,” he added. “It’s just a shame I couldn’t keep them up last season but I am hoping they can return to the League – obviously that’s going to take a long time. At the Darlington stadium it was hard to generate an atmosphere, it was that big.

“I’ve played here (Bootham Crescent) a couple of times and the atmosphere is fantastic. The fans are close to the pitch so I am going to enjoy it.

“Everything about the club seems to be going in the right direction.”

Chief among McReady’s ambitions at York is to score more goals, having netted three for the Quakers, including one against the Minstermen in a 2-2 draw in January.

“I’m a ball player. I like to attack and get at players – try and create and score goals,” he said. “I play out wide or in the middle, anywhere across midfield. I’m going to see how pre-season goes and, obviously, fight for a place.

“Hopefully I can cement a place in the team and I hope to get a few goals. I want to improve on that side of my game and take more shots.”

Jason McGill, York City chairman, said of McReady’s capture: “I am absolutely delighted. It was quite a protracted negotiation with Darlington. They have financial issues and problems off the pitch they are trying to solve and John was one of their assets.

“I came up with a deal late on Wednesday evening that made everyone happy – that wasn’t over the top for York City and gave Darlington what they wanted. The player is happy because he is going to ply his trade in League Two.

“John is a very exciting player. He likes to run with the ball at his feet and get into the danger area and, as he showed against York City at Darlington, he can score a goal.

“The way Gary plays, he will want John to get into the box and put the ball in the back of the net. John has, like all the players, got to prove he is worth a starting berth and I am sure he will only come on at York City.”