York City has never been one of footballâ€™s most fashionable clubs. At the time of writing the Minstermen sit in 15h position in the Vanarama National League North, two tiers down from the Football League.
But they do have some glory days to look back on. None more glorious than the 1983-84 season when they made history.
Established in 1922, the club were one of the original members of the Fourth Division in England when that was created in 1958. Prior to that, the third tier had been split, north and south. English football then had a fourth tier.
They achieved success immediately as a third-place finish saw them promoted to the Third Division, only to suffer relegation the following season. The same happened four years later. But promotion in 1970-71 became a little more secure as they eventually reached the second tier (Second Division, or Championship as it is today) in 1974.
That was the season Manchester United were one of their opponents, along with Chelsea, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and West Brom. The 1974-75 season saw their highest ever league finish when they were 15th. But once again relegation followed immediately, and by 1977 they were back in the Fourth Division.
It was the 1983-84 season where they achieved a record all of their own, when they became the first team in English football to rack up 100 points in a season.
Excitement built around the city during that season, so much so their opening game at Bootham Crescent attracted 2,772 for the visit of Rochdale. Compare that to when third-placed Doncaster Rovers arrived in early April, 11,297 turned up. The game ended 1-1 and York were 14pts clear of Bristol City in second, with Doncaster a further point behind. It was only a matter of time before the title was secured.
Three weeks later it was all done and dusted. Hartlepool were dispatched thanks to two goals from Keith Walwyn at Bootham whilst an Andy Elliott goal for Chester City sunk Doncaster.
York had reached 95pts by that time and although Doncaster had games in hand, winning all of them would only give them 94. Yorkâ€™s form was so dominant they eventually racked up 101 points. Although it was their fifth promotion, it was the one and only time they have gone up a Champions.
Here is the story of this historic season.
Some of the names of this squad have since become far more familiar than they were to the wider footballing public at the time.
Malcolm Crosby pulled strings in midfield, having come from Aldershot where heâ€™d made nearly 300 appearances. Crosby was manager of Sunderland when they reached the FA Cup Final against Liverpool in 1992. He had spells as caretaker boss of Oxford United, Northampton and Birmingham City.
Ricky Sbragia had been a professional for eight years by the time he arrived at York in 1982. He later moved into coaching positions with Manchester United reserves as well as the Scotland national side at various youth levels.
Goalkeeper Roger Jones began his career at Bournemouth in 1965. He had lengthy spells at Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, where he played in the First Division. He also joined York in 1982 and was club captain during this season.
Sean Haslegrave spent six years at Stoke City under Tony Waddington. Brian Clough signed him at Forest but injuries halted his progression. Nobby Stiles then signed him for Preston, before he moved to Crewe. He arrived at Bootham Crescent for the start of this season.
John MacPhail provided much experience at the back. He began his career north of the border at Dundee, before moving to Sheffield United at the end of the seventies. Heâ€™d only just joined York at the start of this season.
Brian Pollard was in his second spell at York, having spent five years there in the seventies. After spells at Watford and Mansfield Town, he returned to Bootham. He represented England at U18 level five times.
Alan Hay, another Scot, made his debut in English football at Bristol City when they were in the First Division. After four years he joined York in 1982.
Nearly all the squad had joined in the previous couple of years, but Gary Ford and John Byrne both came through the youth ranks at the end of the seventies.
Ford, a local lad, would go onto become the second in the all-time appearance list for the club.
For Manchester-born Byrne, this season would make him as a professional. He moved onto QPR, then a couple of seasons at Le Havre, before returning to England with Brighton. He joined Smith and Crosby at Sunderland where he played in the 1992 FA Cup Final. That was his second appearance at Wembley having played in the QPR side which went down to Oxford United in the League Cup Final 1986. In 1985 he made the earned the first of 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Byrne developed a potent strike partnership with Keith Walwyn. Walwyn was born in St. Kitts and Nevis. After a couple of seasons in non-league he joined Chesterfield, but only made three appearances for the first team. York paid Â£4,000 for him in July 1981. During his six seasons at the club, he became the second top-scorer, behind Norman Wilkinson.
Walwyn was a barnstorming player who bullied defenders and never gave anything less than 100% for his team. The pair knocked in 33 goals between them in the previous season, Walwyn grabbing 21 of them.
York were managed by a former teammate of Haslegraveâ€™s at Stoke City, Denis Smith. York was his first managerial position. He made over 400 appearances at Stoke before moving to York City. He came to York on loan, but with Barry Swallow in a caretaker position, it was clear a permanent option was required. Initially, he was a player-manager, but by 1983-84 he had retired from playing. He later managed Sunderland, and ironically was replaced by Crosby. He had four years at Oxford United then in 2001 he spent six seasons as Wrexham boss.
Smith took over at the club in May 1982. He was the clubâ€™s fourth manager in two years, and third in the previous five months after Kevin Randall and Barry Swallow had taken temporary charge.
Smith appointed Viv Busby as his assistant. Busby was a bustling striker who had spells at Wycombe Wanderers and Luton Town before spending most of his career at Fulham. He was pivotal in the clubâ€™s surge to the FA Cup Final where they lost to West Ham in 1975. After spells at Norwich and Stoke, he spent some time in America at Tulsa. He was a player at York during the 82-83 season, before moving into coaching at the club.
It was a gamble for the club, appointing a pair so inexperienced. But in Smithâ€™s first season they finished seventh having been seventeenth the season before. They ended just four points off a promotion spot and the club and supporters were hoping for further improvement in the coming season.
York opened up their campaign with a trip to Stockport County. Goals from John MacPhail and John Byrne gave them a 2-0 win. Edgeley Park was traditionally a place York struggled at. In fact, theyâ€™d lost in their last eight visits, a record going back to September 1964. Was this an omen?
Three days later they were up against Second Division Grimsby Town in the League Cup, then sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board, giving it the quaint title of the Milk Cup. Gary Ford and Brian Polland scored in a 2-1 win. Unfortunately, their hopes of a cup shock disappeared as Kevin Drinkell scored twice in the second leg to see Grimsby through to the next round.
Before they were knocked out of the League Cup they had further 2-0 wins over Rochdale and Peterborough United at Bootham Crescent.
For the Rochdale game, their first home game of the season 2,772 turned up. A further thousand was added to the gate for the midweek visit of Peterborough.
They suffered their first defeat when they visited Chesterfield, but were still top of the table. Chesterfield had come down from the Third Division the previous season. September ended with a 4-1 win at home to Chester City when Byrne scored a hat-trick. They were then held to two draws, away to Darlington and Doncaster Rovers.
York were top of the table on goal difference from Bury and Hereford United. Byrne (6) and Walwyn (3) had scored nine between them already.
Blackpool arrived at Bootham Crescent on the 1st of the month and the attendance breached the 4,000 mark for the first time in the season. Their average in the previous campaign was 3,500 so there was already a feeling something could be happening at the club. Byrne and Walwyn shared the goals in a 4-0 win.
The following week they continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-0 win at home to Colchester United. This time over 6,000 came through the turnstiles.
York were now 4pts clear at the top and their 20 goals had them as top scorers too. 16 of those had come from their front two. Theyâ€™d won all five of their home games thus far.
Inexplicably, they then lost the next two on the road in the West Country, to Swindon and Bristol City. This put City now 2pts clear at the top with York in second.
After two defeats there mustâ€™ve been concern their run would continue when David Crown put Reading in front in the next game at home. But Pollard and Sbragia scored before former Spurs midfielder, Stuart Beavon grabbed a point for the visitors. This ended Yorkâ€™s 100% winning record at home from the start of the season.
After three games without a win, it came as some relief when Walwynâ€™s double gave them a victory at Northampton.
York ended October back at the top of the table, two points clear of three teams on 22pts, Bristol City, Doncaster and Colchester.
The new month began with the visit of Wrexham to Bootham Crescent. Andy Edwards and Simon Hunt put the visitors two goals up, but Ricky Sbragia scored his second in three matches, with Brian Pollard equalising just before half-time. The comeback was complete when Pollard scored again in the second half, from the spot and York won 3-2.
Walwyn bagged another brace when they won 3-0 at Crewe the following week. This gave him 12 for the season in just 15 matches.
It was with some surprise when Torquay ended Yorkâ€™s unbeaten home run of seven matches when they won 3-2.Â Derek Hood scored his first of the season. They were still in first, though.
Their FA Cup campaign got underway when they were drawn at non-league Macclesfield Town, who were two tiers down on the pyramid. The semi-professionals pulled off a shock holding York to a goalless draw. But The Minstermen prevailed in the replay, thanks to goals from Sbragia and Byrne.
Back in the league, two goals from Kevin Dixon gave Hartlepool a half-time lead in the next match. Another double from Byrne won it for York. It was their third successive away success.
York ended the month still on top of the table, a point ahead of Blackpool with Doncaster a further two points back. 23 of their 37 goals had come from Walwyn (12) and Byrne (11).
Aldershot made the trip up to York at the beginning of December. They were lying fourth having won their last four. But that all came to an end for them with goals from Byrne and David Pearce. It was Pearceâ€™s first goal for York, having only made his debut the week before.
Into the FA Cup Second Round, and any dreams of a big tie in the Third Round came to an end for York as they were surprisingly beaten by Rochdale at home.
Back in the league, Pearce was again on the scoresheet a week later when Hereford were beaten at Bootham Crescent, 4-0. Gary Ford scored twice.
Then came the busy Christmas period. York had three games in five days, starting with a Boxing Day trip to Halifax Town. The home side had lost their last five and two goals from Walwyn made it six defeats as York won 2-1. This now put them seven points clear as Peterborough moved into second place.
The next day they welcomed Tranmere to Bootham Crescent. The biggest crowd of the season, 6,357 watched as Steve Senior scored his first of the season. But Dave Philpotts equalised for the visitors and Yorkâ€™s four-game winning run came to an end with a 1-1 draw.
New Yearâ€™s Eve saw them travel to Bury. Bury had won both their Christmas fixtures but were 0-3 down by half-time. Two from Byrne and another from Walwyn put the game beyond the home sideâ€™s reach and York eventually won 3-1.
The final table of 1983 had York on 46pts. They were six clear of Doncaster Rovers in second, with Bristol City and Blackpool a further two points back.
There were no play-offs in those days, just the first four clubs would go up. York were nine points clear of fifth place. These were heady days.
Walwyn and Byrne now had bagged 15 each to have 30 of the 49 goals the team had scored. Only Reading (50) had scored more.
York fans could see in the new year dreaming of promotion, and maybe further success under their impressive young manager.