Date: 2nd August 2010 at 2:01pm
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Stylish right-winger Barry Lyons played, managed and coached York City during the seventies and early eighties and holds a couple of real claims to fame at Bootham Crescent.

Stylish right-winger Barry Lyons played, managed and coached York City during the seventies and early eighties and holds a couple of real claims to fame at Bootham Crescent.

Born in Shirebrook in 1946, Lyons’ career began when joining Rotherham United from school. He made 125 league appearances and scored 24 goals for the Millers until signing for Nottingham Forest for £45,000 in 1966.

Lyons became a real fixture at the City Ground and completed over two hundred games, with the vast majority of them being in the top division. For good measure he weighed in with 28 goals and came very close to earning international honours with the England U-23 team. However, he was rather surprisingly allowed to join third division York in October 1973 in a £12,000 deal following a successful loan spell.

It proved a tremendous move for both the player and his new club, and their supporters were soon delighting as Lyons immediately helped them to promotion to the second tier of English professional football for the only time in their history.

He had soon formed an outstanding midfield combination with Ian Holmes, himself originally a right-winger but who proved a total revelation when moved inside his more senior colleague, and had the distinction of netting York’s first-ever goal in the second division in a 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa. In total he made 98 appearances and scored eleven times.

But Lyons was to leave York in July 1976 and follow a number of his colleagues to Darlington, where he was to actually finish his playing career. However, he then returned to Bootham Crescent as youth-team coach three years later and was eventually appointed manager following the dismissal of Charlie Wright in March 1980.

Sadly Lyons was to have an unhappy time despite initially steering the club away from the re-election zone as caretaker-manager. That was enough to get him the job on a full-time basis and after a bright start to his actual reign, York proceeded to then suffer a major slump and finished bottom of the entire Football League for the first time in their history.

During the summer Lyons’ response was to make undoubtedly one of the greatest-ever signings in the club’s history as an unknown Jamaican-born striker named Keith Walwyn arrived from Chesterfield for a modest £4,000 fee.

But even though Walwyn gave immediate evidence of exactly what was to come from him by scoring in each of his first four games, York continued to struggle badly in the lower reaches of the fourth division table until Lyons was finally dismissed in December 1981. He did briefly resume youth team duties the following year before making his final departure from the club in July 1982.

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