Roker Report Road Trip: First Stop... York City

The gaffer has splashed the cash on a state of the art Reliant Robin, a bag of Worthers Originals and a few cans of Tizer... The Roker Report is hitting the road! Today the Captain is firing up our new set of wheels for the first time and making the trip to beautiful York.

To help the Captain find his way I have been kind enough to put together the first in our season of guides to Sunderland's preseason opposition because that's the kind of guy I am. So if you're also on your way to Bootham Crescent today be sure to read on for all the info you need for today's clash.

York City FC

York City were formed in 1922 before they joined the Football League in 1929. The Old Second Division is the highest level that the Minstermen have plied their trade, a feat they managed in the 1970's.

The biggest day in YCFC's history came as part of an FA Cup run in 1955 when they made it all the way to the Semi-Final where they faced Newcastle United at Hillsborough. Over twenty thousand fans made the trip across the country to be part of the 65,000 strong attendance for the game, which still stands as a record for a game in which York have participated. 

A fiercely contested 1-1 draw was fought out in horrendous conditions as heavy rain persisted over the entire ninety minutes. A replay was required to separate the two sides and where better to settle the tie but at the mecca of football - Roker Park.

Just under 60,000 fans filled the hallowed stands of Roker to see a spirited York City finally sucumb 2-0 to a Jackie Milburn led Newcastle. Our Geordie brothers went on to win the cup that year, a feat they have yet to repeat.

In more recent times York were relegated from the Football League following the 2003/04 season and have since endured mixed fortunes in a bid to regain their Football League status. The closest the club came was reaching the Play Offs in 2006/07 where they lost out to the eventual winners Morecambe.

Bootham Crescent

Thankfully York's deal with Nestle ran out in 2010 and Bootham Crescent is no longer known as the KitKat Crescent. Having now been the home of the Minstermen since 1932, this modest ground holds around 8,000 fans. The Grosvenor Road End, which is usually reserved for away fans, is an open terrace, so whilst it will be great for SAFC fans to have flash backs to Roker, suitable attire will be required depending upon the weather!

The City

York is a stunning city filled with architecture; Roman, Viking and Medieval heritage as well as the old cobbled streets of The Shambles and of course, York Minster itself.

History buff Captain Fishpaste will be in his element and chances are he may miss the game, finding himself taking in sights such as the Aldborough Roman Site, taking a trip back in time at the Yorvik Viking Centre or checking out some old choo-choo trains at the National Railway Museum. In fact the Captain may never leave there is so much to entertain his historically tuned brain on offer.

York is also home to the World's largest maze... which unfortunately is not open until a few days after SAFC's visit, but the website is worth a look, if only for the most unintentionally creepy flash advert I have stumbled across - York Maze.

Pubs & Bars

Moving on to more important matters, namely a pre-match beer. Fan's could do a lot worse than taking in the "Micklegate Run" which covers the cobbled streets of the City. 

Roker Report's own Chris Weatherspoon is a fan of "The Evil Eye Lounge" which can be found on the cobbled streets of Stonegate. Evil Eye is famous for their range of Absinthe based shots and cocktails, although you may be seeing double come kick off. Even Johnny Depp sampled a few beverages on offer here whilst filming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so if its good enough for Hollywood... Head on in and order a "Bramble" and tell them Chris sent you.

If you're looking for something a little less quirky there is always the Golden Fleece, the oldest pub in York. Situated near The Shambles the Fleece dates back to 1503 and you might just spot the ghost of Lady Peckett whilst enjoying your pint.

Around the ground your best bet would be the likes of The Burton Stone Inn or the Old Gray Mare which I'm led to believe are both away fan friendly. A little further afield, up the A19 towards the city centre, you can find The Three Legged Mare in the old town which is a York Brewery outlet, so sounds like the place to be for all you real ale fans travelling down for the game. Also, opposite the Mare, the Hole in the Wall pub is worth a visit if you're in the area.

Played For Both

Who else but Roker Report Cult Hero - Marco Gabbiadini! 

Marco started his career with the Minstermen as a 16 year old apprentice, signed by Denis Smith in 1982. Marco made his first team debut before the age of 17 and notched his first hat-trick aged 18. 

We all know, or have heard the legendary tales, of what happened when Gabbiadini made the £80,000 switch to Sunderland.

Marco returned to York but was deemed "past his best" by manager Alan Little and scored just one goal in seven games before York decided not to extend his contract. If anything Marco was far from finished and went on to score over fifty goals for Darlington on his way to becoming named their greatest ever player.

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