DAVID McGurk will end his York City career a little disappointed that he did not become only the fourth player to rack up 400 outings for the club.

But the 31-year-old centre-back, who this week announced his plans to retire from the full-time game at the end of this season, is still proud of his 16th-placed standing on the club’s all-time appearances list.

Only Barry Jackson, Andy McMillan and Chris Topping have played more than 400 times for the Minstermen.

McGurk, though, is behind only Jackson, Topping and Steve Tutill in the roll call for longest-serving City centre-backs.

Commenting on his record of 333 Minstermen matches, McGurk reasoned: “With the amount of games I have missed and been on the bench, I could have probably had another 50 or 60 games, but it’s still a nice achievement. I would have liked to have broken into the top ten, but it wasn’t to be.”

Happy Wanderer George Howe lies five appearances ahead of McGurk - known as TY - on the all-time roster with Dan Parslow a position behind in17th on 316.

Ex-Darlington defender McGurk is now confident that his long-time Welsh team-mate can go on and eclipse his efforts when he returns from the cruciate ligament injury that has seen him sidelined since mid-November, saying: “He should go on and play more games than me and, if anybody is going to come back from an injury like that in good shape, it’s Pars because he will work hard and he’s a good athlete.

“I expect him to be knocking on the door in pre-season and ready for action by the next campaign.”

McGurk is typically modest about the role he has played during a season that could yet end with promotion at Wembley even though he was just two points off the pace at the top of The Press Player of the Year leaderboard when he lost his place to injury at the end of January.

Since then, the central-defensive partnership of Keith Lowe and John McCombe has been the cornerstone of City’s subsequent success with only three goals conceded in 15 matches establishing a new club record of 21 clean sheets in a league season.

McGurk, though, played a key role in the reversal of City’s defensive fortunes following a leaky start to the campaign, contributing to six shut-outs in a dozen fixtures alongside Lowe to kickstart the 2014 revival.

Playing down his influence, though, the former skipper claimed: “We weren’t really on course for any records then, but I have done my bit by playing 20-odd matches and keeping myself fit for the majority of the season.”

McGurk now hopes to gain his UEFA A licence, while continuing to play football at Conference North level, set up a coaching academy in Wakefield and gain funding to expand the unique BetsofMates gambling company he co-owns with two friends.

Having played under six different managers for City in Chris Brass, Billy McEwan, Colin Walker, Martin Foyle, Gary Mills and current chief Nigel Worthington, the two-time Press Player of the Year also believes he will be leaving a club that is moving upwards under a man he rates as the best he has worked for at Bootham Crescent.

“The gaffer in place now knows exactly what he wants from every player he brings in and how to build a football club,” McGurk pointed out.

“Everyone knows their role on the pitch and that has been seen during the second half of the season.

“He can be ruthless but nothing is personal and that’s why there are no clashes or players knocking on his door because you can see what he’s doing is in the best interests of York City. The idea was always to get into League Two and become an established club at that level so, at the moment, we are in bonus territory. If we get into the play-offs it would be brilliant but, if not, the lads have still done brilliantly.

“The gaffer and chairman are building a club, not just a team, as can be seen by the training ground improvements and the new stadium on the horizon. The potential here is similar to Doncaster and Yeovil and the players signed up for next season can keep moving the club forward.”

McGurk added that his best-ever defensive partnership was probably forged with his 2010 play-off final team-mate Luke Graham although his Wembley memories remains bitter-sweet.

“The highlight of my career was playing at Wembley and the low point was losing there,” he confessed. “As a kid, playing there is something that you dream of.

“I’ve not actually played there and won, but just to say I have played there twice is something not many people can say.”

A case of third time lucky would be even better though!



David McGurk’s favourite York City XI (from past and present team-mates): Michael Ingham, Lanre Oyebanjo, Dan Parslow, Luke Graham, James Meredith, Alex Lawless, Neal Bishop, Scott Kerr, Manny Panther, Martyn Woolford, Clayton Donaldson.