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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:06 UK

York City eye Football League return

By Sharon Shortle
BBC Radio York

York City boss Martin Foyle
Foyle spent three-and-a-half years in charge of Port Vale before joining York

When the final whistle blew at the Vetch Field, Swansea on Saturday, 8 May 2004, York City's 75-year Football League stay came to an end.

A little over six years on and only 1986 Milk Cup winners Oxford stand in the Minstermen's way of a return.

Their time in non-league football has been far from straightforward, with a fourth-placed finish in 2006/07 the closest they have come to promotion.

Those hopes were ended in the play-off semi-finals by Morecambe, who went on to beat Exeter in the final.

This time York are within touching distance of reclaiming their Football League place.

And, after upsetting the odds by beating much-fancied Luton in the semi-finals, City chairman Jason McGill is adamant this is their best chance of bringing League Two football back to Bootham Crescent.

"After the league position last year (17th) it looked a little bit further away," he told BBC Radio York.

"But the rebuilding that [manager] Martin Foyle has done this year with the team and the players has been tremendous.

"We've got the best chance that we've had. We've got a team that can do it.

We're confident in our ability and I know we can play

York City boss Martin Foyle

"I'm very proud for the club and the city and for North Yorkshire.

"Last year was a tremendous achievement getting to the FA Trophy final but this is the play-off to get back into the Football League."

York's relegation to the Conference came at a time when the club had just been taken over by their Supporters' Trust after almost going out of business.

Finances were tight and then-manager Chris Brass could not prevent the club from falling out of the League for the first time in their history.

They were in danger of being embroiled in a relegation battle again last season before Foyle took the reigns in October 2008, guiding the club away from the drop zone and to the FA Trophy final.

York were beaten by Stevenage on that occasion but Foyle believes this year's trip to Wembley will be very different.

"I've got a good squad of players around me so it's a different ball game this year," said the former Port Vale boss.

"We're confident in our ability and I know we can play.

"But we know how Oxford play. They're very good, they've got a good manager. They're the big boys. We know we're the underdogs.

"We know that they're probably looking at their crowd as the 12th man but we've silenced a lot of teams away from home this year."


One of the keys to York's success this year has been the form of 31-goal top scorer Richard Brodie.

The striker said: "I think we're definitely more equipped as a club and as a team and a squad to go there this year and do the job.

"It is a great occasion but the top and bottom of it is we're there to win a game of football.

"The experience from last year will put us in good stead. Some lads haven't played there but they're older and experienced anyway."

The Wembley experience is also nothing new to midfielder Chris Carruthers, who played there for Bristol Rovers in the 2007 League Two play-off final.

The fact he will be up against one of his former clubs in Oxford on this occasion only serves to add extra spice.

"There's going to be a slight edge on it," said Carruthers. "But once the whistle goes for the start of the game it's going to be like any other and I just want to try and get the result.

"I think a lot of the lads realise it can be career-changing and that's why everyone is so focused.

"The way we've performed this season has stood us in very good stead for a lot of tough games that we've had and I think it will drag us through again."

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see also
Oxford United 3-1 York City
16 May 10 |  Non League
Oxford set for Wembley showdown
12 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
York ready for Wembley - Lawless
12 May 10 |  York
Violence mars Luton loss to York
04 May 10 |  Non League
Luton 0-1 York City (agg 0-2)
03 May 10 |  Non League
York City 1-0 Luton Town
29 Apr 10 |  Non League
York make pair's loans permanent
06 Jan 10 |  York
Carlisle and York go down
01 May 04 |  League Two
York City fans made to wait
17 Mar 03 |  York

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