"THEY became the Del Boy and Rodney of York!"

That's how Paul Cooke described York Knights head coach Andrew Henderson and chairman Clint Goodchild after making the move to the club for 2024.

He may not be far wrong. The pair are certainly ambitious, and with a strong 30-player squad currently assembled for the upcoming season, York is a club undeniably moving in the right direction.

Cooke becomes the fourth and final member of the club's coaching staff for 2024, where he will work alongside Henderson, Ireland boss Ged Corcoran, and Will Leatt.

The ex-Doncaster chief had been away from the sport for four years to focus upon his family commitments, and admits he has turned down numerous offers along the way.

But at York, his instincts told him that everything was right - even if he can't put his finger on quite why that is.

“It’s really calmed down at home in regards to my kids," he explained to BBC Radio York of his decision to join the Knights.

"My partner’s moved in and moved over from Doncaster now, so everything’s been floating along in life that’s been a bit hectic for the past few years.

“It was a chance phone call from Hendo who asked me if I would be interested.

"For as many jobs that I’ve turned down and not gone to meetings for, I don’t know why, but this pricked my ears up.

“Being there for the Bash last year, the stadium is obviously a fantastic one, and the facilities are great around the ground. There’s plenty for people to do, so that appealed to me in regards of my partner and my young daughter.

“And the club is on the up. The vision that was sold to me by Clint and Hendo was one that was really exciting and one that really pricked my ears up and in which I was willing to get involved."

Cooke often finds an ear in Hull FC and ex-England coach Tony Smith, but felt he was so certain about the Knights that he did not need to this time around.

“For me to go to the meeting, first and foremost, was me telling myself that I was ready, if that makes sense. 

"And to not ask anybody else’s advice as well.

“I’ve rung up Tony Smith a couple of times on a couple of jobs that I’ve been thinking about, but the fact that I phoned him up, that told me that I wasn’t committed to those jobs.

“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind really! 

"It all happened really quickly, and the decision was made to join the club just a few weeks ago."

Whilst the 42-year-old, who also boasts a Betfred Challenge Cup Final win and over 400 career appearances to his name, has never worked alongside Henderson before, it's a challenge he is relishing.

“I’ve played against him and known him for a number of years," he continued.

 I’ve worked with him on the ViaPlay stuff that we did, and I’ve seen him in and around the game. He’s been part of the Exiles squads when they played against England.

“He’s not somebody that I’ve ever had working relationship with, but I think that him and Clint became the Del Boy and Rodney of York at the time.

"They really sold the club to me - next time, we'll be millionaires!"

As for what he can bring to the Knights' coaching staff, Cooke believes his complex rugby brain and ability to think outside of the box will prove the most useful assets.

"I made a living as a rugby player, and quite a good one, on my knowledge of being able to pass the ball quickly and accurately, or keep the ball accurately, to call plays and give the ball to faster and stronger people than myself. 

"It made them look better than maybe I was.

"Being able to manage the game, to put the kick in at the right time and in at the right places, to be able to see things that other players don't see from ground level, and other plays and why we've got to play them.

"I'm hoping that particularly for the halves and the spine of the team, that we can think outside of the box and put some structures in place that will make York an attractive team to watch and with ball in hand.

"Defence was never my strong point!

"I'm really enjoying working with the players and they're really receptive to what I'm asking them to do."