Date: 19th September 2017 at 12:46am
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More nostalgic time-travel as ‘Rewind Extra’ turns the clock back to Bonfire Night 1991 – and news of a shock managerial
appointment at Bootham Crescent.

More nostalgic time-travel as ‘Rewind Extra’ turns the clock back to Bonfire Night 1991 – and news of a shock managerial appointment at Bootham Crescent.

Fourth Division York City have completed a major coup by surprisingly appointing England coach and former Aston Villa assistant boss John Ward as their latest manager.

The 40-year-old won’t officially seize the reins until after their forthcoming FA Cup tie at non-league Bridlington Town on Saturday-week, but will watch tonight’s visit to Burnley. In between, he will be taking the England Under-21s for a game in Poland.

Meanwhile, City coach Alan Little will remain as his assistant, with Ricky Sbragia continuing in a youth capacity.

The Minstermen were actively seeking a replacement after dismissing John Bird almost a fortnight ago. He departed with the club struggling near the bottom of the table and recording just two wins in eleven games.

His successor Ward is already hugely respected as a coach having earlier also scored a century of goals during a playing career including spells at Lincoln City and Watford.

He has spent most of his career with current England manager Graham Taylor, both as a player at those two particular clubs, then as assistant at Watford and Villa – and also as one of his national coaches.

“If ever you can imagine a club and a man to be perfect for each other, it must be York City and John,” Taylor commented in The Press. “I have many memories of the club because I have played against them for Lincoln and managed Lincoln in a game at Bootham Crescent.

“When I was a small boy I supported Scunthorpe United, but I remember the excitement we all felt when we saw York get to the semi-final of the FA Cup in 1955, and since then I have watched their progress with great interest,” he continued.

“Although they have spent most of their time in the Third and Fourth Divisions, I remember them playing in the Second Division in the 1970s against teams like Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. I honestly think there is no reason why they can’t get back to that level.

“York are always regarded in football circles as a well organised club. The facilities are neat and tidy. And John is a well-organised person himself who knows football inside out. He has gained a lot of experience at every level of the game and now is the time for him to go out there and prove what he can do as a number one after being number two for about ten years.

“I don’t think that York City will regret their appointment and I sincerely hope that things work out well for them both,” Taylor added. “John will soon sort out which players can deliver the goods and which players are kidding that they might deliver the goods. Then he will put it all together. He will work all the hours necessary to do the job and do it in the right kind of way, you can be sure of that.”

Ward previously starred in a playing capacity at Lincoln for almost a decade, until taking his considerable goalscoring talents to Second Division Watford. He subsequently moved onto Grimsby Town in 1981 before finally ending his playing career a year later.

Having already held an FA coaching licence since 1978, he was appointed as Watford coach four years later; being subsequently promoted as Taylor’s assistant in 1985. While at Vicarage Road, the Hornets were remarkably First Division runners-up, UEFA Cup qualifiers, FA Cup finalists and twice semi-finalists.

The successful duo then switched allegiances to Villa in May 1987, helping them towards immediate promotion to the top-flight in their first season. Twelve months later they were also First Division runners-up – and with it similarly earned themselves UEFA Cup qualification.

Rewind Extra – November 1991