OUR City man reveals his Best XI from his ten years reporting on the Minstermen... as well as his Most Disappointing XI. Feel free to challenge any of his selections by tweeting @daveflettpress, emailing dave.flett@thepress.co.uk or writing to him at the Sports Desk, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN.

A WEEK is a long time in football, so says one of the game’s oldest cliches. A decade, though, can seem like an eternity and I have been reflecting on that thought this week having just completed ten years as The Press’ York City writer.

The first match I covered in my new full-time role, after taking over from Dave Stanford, was a 1-1 draw at Torquay on December 13, 2003 when Lee Nogan’s 47th-minute effort was cancelled out by a Jon Parkin own goal.

That season – sadly City’s last in the Football League for eight campaigns – saw Chris Brass’ team contest league fixtures with current Premier League pair Hull City and Swansea, along with the now defunct Darlington club and a Boston team soon to go bust.

Between 2004 and 2012, however, the likes of Canvey Island, St Albans, Droylsden, Farsley Celtic and Lewes would all ply their trade at the same level as the Minstermen at different stages.

It was a long slog to reclaim the club’s Football League status but few could argue with the assertion that two glorious Wembley victories on consecutive weekends almost made the wait worthwhile.

During my time in the Bootham Crescent press box, I have worked with seven managers – Brass, Viv Busby, Billy McEwan, Colin Walker, Martin Foyle, Gary Mills and Nigel Worthington – not to mention caretaker chiefs Neil Redfearn, Andy Porter and Steve Torpey.

There have also been countless players I have reported on and I’ve been recalling some of the best and worst this week, so here is my “Team of the Decade” along with a “Most Disappointing XI”.


Michael Ingham – his number of clean sheets for City, only bettered by club legend Tommy Forgan, speaks for itself. His shut-out-per-game ratio also compares positively alongside the goalkeeping greats that have represented the Minstermen. Gets the nod ahead of David Stockdale, who is the only City player from the last ten years to go on and play in the Premier League, on top of being named in full England international squads.

Luke O’Neill – the on-loan Burnley defender has recently dislodged Lanre Oyebanjo from the City starting line-up and just edges out his right-back rival to take the slot in this team. Has demonstrated great quality from the flanks, looking composed defensively and providing the most goal assists this season despite his defensive role. Would be a great acquisition if Nigel Worthington could persuade him to make his loan stay permanent.

David McGurk – an exemplary reader of the game and has been missed during his enforced injury absences over the last couple of years. Still the only player I have awarded a 10/10 rating during more than 16 years as a football writer – for his outstanding display in the 2010 play-off semi-final win over Luton. Hopefully can manage his fitness problems to prolong his career at Bootham Crescent.

Dan Parslow – a very reliable servant at centre-half and right-back, who also played a massive role as a midfield anchorman in getting the club promoted from the Conference and then preserving that Football League status at the end of the following season. City remain the only club for whom he has played professional football since his 2006 arrival from Cardiff and he always wears his heart on his sleeve. A two-time winner of The Press Player of the Year award.

James Meredith – following an uncertain start after being brought to the club by Martin Foyle, he quickly blossomed into a quality player and really came of age in that first season’s play-off games against Luton. Always willing to drive the team forward from his full-back position and showed great energy when used in midfield on occasions by Gary Mills. Currently performing consistently well for Bradford City in League One.

Andre Boucaud – a magician with the ball at his feet and capable of conjuring up skills that are the envy of many Premier League footballers. Surprisingly jettisoned by Gary Mills midway through the promotion season but has since proven his quality in League One for Notts County. Should still be playing at an even higher level however.

Neal Bishop – an inspired signing by Billy McEwan when recruited from local rivals Scarborough. Provided discipline and a bite in the challenge that offered an ideal complement for midfield partner Manny Panther at the time. City sorely missed him when he departed after the 2007 semi-final defeat to Morecambe. He’s currently playing in the Championship for Blackpool.

Martyn Woolford – plucked from non-League Frickley by McEwan again, there was little fanfare when the rookie winger arrived at Bootham Crescent just before the August 2006 transfer window closed. From his very first appearance, though, he excited City supporters and hit the ground running. Was a goal threat whether employed on the wing, as a central striker or behind the frontmen and it’s no surprise he has gone on to become a Championship regular for the likes of Scunthorpe, Bristol City and Millwall.

Clayton Donaldson – another McEwan recruit who was an exciting blend of pace and trickery. Terrorised defences during the 2006/07 season, earning himself a controversial free transfer to Hibernian during the final third of that campaign. Has now racked up a century of goals for Hibs, Crewe and Brentford since leaving non-League football behind.

Andy Bishop – probably the coolest finisher that City have boasted over the last decade. Formed a potent partnership for one season with Donaldson before opting to join Bury on a free transfer. Became a fans’ favourite and reliable marksman at Gigg Lane but his career never really took off and he is now back in the Conference with Wrexham.

Richard Brodie – often not given the credit he deserves for the 37 goals he plundered during the 2009/10 play-off campaign. That tally has only been bettered by club legend Arthur Bottom and his work-rate and enthusiasm made him impossible to contain for countless Conference defences that season. Should have gone on to bigger and better things but, following spells with Crawley, Fleetwood, Morecambe and Grimsby, has admitted to off-the-pitch “side issues” at current club Gateshead, who have loaned him to Southport.

Subs: David Stockdale, Chris Smith, Lanre Oyebanjo, Scott Kerr, Alex Lawless, Matty Blair, Jason Walker.


Paul Crichton – brought in by Chris Brass for his experience but promptly shown the door after altercations with his own fans.

Duane Courtney – set the tone for a calamitous City career with a nightmare debut when he came on as a substitute and conceded a costly penalty on the opening day of the 2010/11 season and then nearly came to blows with new team-mate Michael Rankine at the final whistle.

Greg Young – lacked coordination and opposition goals always seemed inevitable when he was picked in the back four, with a spell as an emergency goalkeeper against Luton proving his finest moment.

Chris Clarke – another Brass signing who flopped horrendously and brought nothing but panic to a shaky back line before being swiftly moved on early in the 2004/05 campaign.

Shaun Smith – a third Brass recruit in the summer of 2004 whose long and respectable career in the game counted for little when his pace deserted him.

Simon Brown – winger who played 17 games for City during the troubled second half of the 2008/09 Conference campaign but of whom it is difficult to recall any notable contributions.

Rob Constable – hefty youngster signed on loan by caretaker chief Viv Busby back in 2005 with poor fitness levels. Now playing in the Humber League for Goole United.

Ben Wilkinson – son of dour former FA technical director Howard and not much more inspiring than his famous father during a clutch of anonymous midfield outings for Colin Walker.

Simon Russell – recruited in the aftermath of Woolford’s transfer to Scunthorpe but lacked courage and managed just one assist and a single goal – blown in by a gale-force wind in Barrow direct from a corner – during 33 appearances.

Michael Gash – cost a considerable £55,000 but, despite reasonable ability on the ball, never seemed interested in breaking into a trot or managing his weight.

Daniel McBreen – signed permanently by Colin Walker after a promising loan spell but went on to lead the line lazily before organising a move back to Australia without telling anyone at the club.