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York City - 1922 - 1958: The Early Years

For nearly 30 years, York City played in Division 3 (North), rarely threatening promotion but building up a cup giant killing reputation

York was one of the later places to take to football; rugby had already been established for over 45 years before York City were formed in 1922. An earlier York City floundered during the early years of The Great War.

Formed in 1922, City applied for Football League membership before they'd played a game. They were told to go away and establish a club before coming back.

A home was found at Fulfordgate, delays in building the ground meant City's first 2 home games were played at Rowntrees' Mill Crux ground.

In those non league days, City never achieves a finish higher than comfortable mid table. The early years did seea cup reputation built. As a non league side, City won 5 ties in 1926 to reach Round 2.

6 seasons in the Midland League followed before election to Division 3 (North) in 1929, a league that was to be City's home for nearly 30 years.

City's first season as a League club saw City draw away to top flight Newcastle in Round 3 of the FA Cup only to lose the home replay. City suffered a similar fate a season later, losing a Round 3 cup replay to top flight Sheffield United.

By 1932, Fulfordgate was deemed not fit for purpose. City moved to Bootham Crescent, its city centre location being deemed more suitable than the spacious out of town Fulfordgate. The ground was built in under 4 months.

1938 saw an FA Cup quarter final against Huddersfield, watched by an all time ground record crowd of 28,123. It was the fourth consecutive round in which a new ground record had been set. City suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat in the replay.

The next big run was 1955 when City held the mighty (at the time) Newcastle to a semi-final draw and narrowly went down in the replay, hampered by being reduced to 10 players through injury in the days before substitutes were allowed.

In the league, City held steady, rarely threatening promotion. 1954/5 being the best season, but a fixture backlog caused by the cup run saw City's promotion challenge peter out in late April.

Come 1958 and the end of regional football, City's 13th place confined them to be founder members of Division 4.

Those early days were marked by financial prudence, the club living within its means, despite generally running a small overdraft. The post war boom saw a surge in attendances and consequently a profitable period for City, allowing the club to buy Bootham Crescent and then the 1955 FA Cup run further adding to the coffers.

Equally, the suppporters played a huge role in the City's fortunes. From the 1920s when Supporters' Club members' wifes knitted socks for the players when money was tight, through the 1930s when much of the labour required to build Bootham Crescent was provided free of charge from SC members and into the 1950s when the SC set up its Auxilary Branch dedicated to fund raising.