Date: 15th September 2017 at 2:13am
Written by:

First in a new series recalling the names making the headlines at the world’s greatest football club. Starting with a talented goalscorer leaving Bootham Crescent for a club record fee.

First in a new series recalling the names making the headlines at the world’s greatest football club. Starting with a talented goalscorer leaving Bootham Crescent for a club record fee in October 1979.

York City striker Gordon Staniforth has signed for Third Division Carlisle United in a club record £120,000 deal. The 22-year-old marksman originally joined the Minstermen in a £7,500 move from Second Division Hull City in January 1977 following a successful one-month loan.

A former England schoolboy international, Staniforth went on to complete 141 appearances while scoring 39 goals after making his City debut in a 3-2 defeat at neighbours Sheffield Wednesday in December 1976. Ex-Leeds United midfielder Chris Galvin had similarly arrived on loan from Hull that month, and also started for the first time at Hillsborough.

Operating mainly down the left flank in the number eleven shirt, Staniforth instantly proved himself as a major success in new surroundings, and went on to finish as leading goalscorer in both of his first two seasons. He also claimed successive ‘Clubman of the Year’ awards.

However, the diminutive forward too often suffered from being part of a particularly substandard team, and was widely viewed as the only shining light during a truly dark period for the club; York slumping to disastrous back-to-back relegations ahead of then being forced into a sixth application for re-election to the Football League.

Hull-born Staniforth’s own form unfortunately and perhaps inevitably began to dip at the start of his third campaign at Bootham Crescent; the always-willing front-runner clearly struggling to recapture the kind of levels that had previously attracted the attention of a number of interested clubs.

In nine league appearances he managed just three goals, although all of those came in an explosive 5-2 victory at Wigan Athletic in September. He also missed City’s latest 2-0 victory against Scunthorpe United due to injury.

The Minstermen issued a press release detailing that Staniforth had recently become unsettled, and manager Charlie Wright had reluctantly decided to sanction his departure rather than keeping an unhappy player at the club.

A City spokesperson said the deal was “in excess of £100,000” – and Carlisle later confirmed the exact figure as £120,000. They had actually been regularly monitoring his progress since the middle of last season, and saw a number of subsequent offers rejected, until their latest was ‘substantially’ improved.

The previous highest fee received by York was £33,000 from Watford for winger Brian Pollard in November 1977, and the departure of Staniforth could now prompt increased opportunities for talented eighteen-year-old forward John Byrne, who headed the opening goal in the midweek win against Scunthorpe.

Rewind Extra – October 1979