... His Name Is A Shop

Lenell John-Lewis, "his name is a shop" became synonymous with City's run to promotion via the play offs in 2022. Here we recall other City players and links to the shops of York

Lenell John- Lewis captured many people’s imagination with his shop based name. Well here’s a few more.

Pride of place must go to Tom Mitchell and Barry Jackson. Mitchell spent 2 seasons with City as a left winger in the early 1930s but is much better remembered for his post playing career. He was a long serving City director and proprietor of his own sports shop, Mitchells at the top of Colliergate, for many years, the go to place for a whole range of sporting goods. Barry Jackson needs no introduction, a no nonsense centre half, he made a club record number of appearances for City and still found time to open his own sweet shop / newsagents at the top of Bootham, about opposite Bootham Tavern.

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Iconic York shops include Wrights, Precious and Boyes are all fondly remembered.

For many years, Wrights had a factory at Skelton, a main butcher’s shop in Whip-ma-Whop-ma-gate and at different times, shops around the city, including Bridge Street, Acomb, Clifton and Blossom Street. Think of it as more Akil Wright than Jake Wright, classy and no gristle.

Precious was a mecca for many a small boy, based on Petergate, it was the “Hamblys Of York”, well stocked with train sets and models, in fact, every imaginable boy’s toy and presumably girl’s toys as well. You’ll need a longer memory to recall George Precious, a left back who made 18 appearances for City across 1928.

Boyes was a go to hardware store, seemingly storing just about everything you could ever want, for years it was based by Ouse Bridge before downsizing into Goodramgate. Although we sold a young striker Adam Boyes for a decent fee, his career never took off, but he was still banging the goals in for Marske in 2022, his 2021/2 season ended with an appearance at Wembley where he received his Golden Ball trophy from Ian Rush before the FA Cup Final, his 11 goals making him the top scorers in that season’s FA Cup competition.

Scott Fenwick is a more recent striker, best remembered for his upper class department store in Coppergate.

Another iconic York department store is WP Brown, City could virtually name a team of Browns. "Happy Wanderer" Gordon and 1970s keeper Graham being amongst the more prominent.

Other iconic York shops are connected with the confectionery and restaurant industry. Terrys is both a long lost chocolate factory and shop / restaurant in St Helens Square, opposite Bettys and competing strongly with it, both restaurant and retail outlet. Terrys home made fancy little cakes were always a big attraction as a child. Hand crafted, multiple different designs and colours, picking a selection of them was always a special treat on the way out of town as a child. We’ve also had a number of Terrys in the side, Terry Eccles being one of the more recent, if you call 1981 recent, but none as memorable as those delicious little cakes. I don’t recall any Bettys ever turning out for usbut do recall many Jessies over the years.

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The more downmarket might prefer Thomas’ Bakery. If you’ve a good memory, you might recall Steve Thomas, an early 2006 defensive minded player or more likely any number of players who had Thomas (or a derivation as a first name), my favourite being naughty boy Tommy Henderson or more recently the like of Tom Platt and Tom Cowan.

Shoe shops are well represented. Tony Barratt was a solid early 1990s defensive player whilst in more recent years, the likes of Tim Clarke, Chris Clarke, Jamie Clarke and Franklyn Clarke all represented City, but no one called Clark without an “e”. Leonard Boot, a 1920s City keeper gave his name to a chain of chemists whilst changing codes, Ian Paver, the 1980s York Wasps rugby league player was a member of the Paver family who run Paver Shoes in Piccadilly.

Stretching the imagination, in the past 40 years, you could link Elliott Whitehouse, Paul Musselwhite, Phil Whitehead and Alan Whitehead to that other well known chemist Timothy White now lost to the high street.

Timothy White was just a couple of doors down from Boots, the other side was men’s fashion store Burtons, for many years the place to see the men who were out to impress. Deon Burton looked like he might impress during a short, injury curtailed, loan spell in 2014.

The fashion conscious amongst us might want to add Reiss and Abraham Moon to the list as a nod to youngster Reiss Harrison and loanee Jasper Moon.

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Also prominent on the high street are fast food chains such as McDonalds and Burger King, come on down Ian and Shaquille McDonald and Josh King.

Bike shops are equally well represented, long lost shops include Russell’s, for many years occupying a prominent position on Clifford Street, closed its doors for the last time in 2000, whilst my preferred bike shop was Duckworth’s on Haxby Road, opposite the bowling green, a small shop, like Russell’s, with a history of dealing in both bikes and motorbikes. Simon and Michael take a bow. In my memory, we have no players’ names whose name we could link with The Reject Shop or Poundland, but could suggest many players who might be appropriate to such stores, although some might suggest Dave Penney’s name might represent his value although I’m sure his footballing contacts are more extensive than anyone else within the club.

I’ve got to say that any link between Norman Wilkinson and the bargain basement hardware chain Wilkinson (now known as Wilko) is limited to name only.

Checking through an old City programme, I came across Jones & Co, a former programme advertiser, who for many years were based in the grade 2 listed Red House in Duncombe Place, take your pick of City Jones’, Roger, Chris and Barry included.

Don’t start me on WH Smith. Denis Smith, was at the last count, one of 13 players of that name to have played for City.

Equally, I’m sure there are other shops of York which deserve a mention.

Two of my favourites being Pickering Books, a long endearing Fossgate bookshop, its maze of runs each stocked to overflowing with books of every description. I can imagine it was around in the times of Peter Pickering who made his name as a City keeper immediately after WW2 before going onto bigger and better things whilst Mick Pickering, one of Denis Smith’s lesser successes, lasting just the 1986/7 season, wouldn’t have had much time to browse its shelves.

Never a photographer, so Dixons on Market Street was never a go to shop for me, part of the Currys chain, it was stocked with state of the art cameras. In my time, we’ve had a couple of Dixons, Kevin and Matt, neither set Bootham Crescent alight.

Stretching the links are Wayne Hall and Mulberry Hall, the latter high class porcelain china and glass retailer on Stonegate, owned by Michael Sinclair, the former City chairman.

The player with the most shops? Like the author and his chain of run down seaside boarding houses, Mick Coop, a former loanee right back probably has the honour of “owning” the most shops, the nationwide Co-op chain.

Finally, if you need a manager in charge of this lot, can I recommend Joe Shaw. He resigned as City's manager in August 1968 to help run his wife’s ailing baby clothes shop in Sheffield. A playing legend at Sheffield United, he had a statue erected at Bramall Lane in 2010 in his honour.

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Any more? Email Me.