York City manager Gary Mills said he believes that the club can “go on and on” – if it can get back into the league.
Speaking to the club programme The Citizen ahead of the crucial play-off second leg at Mansfield, Mills said: “I do want to make this club special. I do want to make it successful.
“I honestly believe the hardest thing is to get out of this division. I think we will thrive moving forward if we can get ourselves out of this division.
“I believe we’ll go on and on, I really do. I don’t have to tell anyone at York how tough it is to get out of this league. What I do know is that, as I’m speaking to you, we’ve got a great opportunity to do it.”
In a long interview, the former European Cup winner covered his childhood – “all I can remember is football” – and his early success.
He made his Nottingham Forest debut aged just 16 against the club he supported as a kid – Arsenal. Forest manager Brian Clough (pictured below) broke the news in a typically unusual way. “So to have your debut against Arsenal, against the players that I worshipped and had on my bedroom wall, was incredible.
“The day that I was told that I was going to be playing was my introduction to alcohol at Nottingham Forest to be honest with you. On the Friday, The Gaffer always named the team in a meeting after training on a Friday in the meeting room.
“There was a bar in there and I was told to get myself a Guinness. And it was the bottled stuff, not the beautiful stuff you get these days. Reluctantly I had this Guinness and drank it, and I must have pulled the weirdest faces, it was the vilest drink I’d ever had in my life, and then the Gaffer named the team.
“He got round to number 7 and called my name out. It was an incredible feeling, honestly it was unbelievable.”
Two years later he played in the European Cup final against Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg. “It was a great night for us, a great night. We scored and defended for the rest of the game and boy it was an art of defending, you’ll never see any better. So, an incredible night for me, an incredible night for the club and something that people can never take away from you.
“Not very often, but when I look back on it occasionally I’ll get my medal out… I’m 50 now, every year I get older I appreciate it even more.”
Mills started his management career at Grantham and moved to Tamworth before joining York. “I’d actually applied for the job at York when Billy McEwan got it. I applied for the job but never got a reply back and never got the opportunity to have an interview.
“But I knew what a big club this was, it’s history and everything, and to get the call from my Chairman to say ‘York are interested in you, we’re willing to let you talk to them’, it was a definite ‘yes’. And, speaking to the Chairman, it was a no brainer for me. It was a chance for me to come to a club where I know we can achieve.”
He is enjoying every second of being with the club. “And I like the mindset that I could be at York for 20 years, I could be at York for 2 years, some of it my doing some of it the Chairman’s doing… I’m privileged to be here and I think, particularly this season the way things have gone, is down to me being happy.”
He is focused on one thing as the team approach the crucial play-off second leg with Mansfield.
“I want more than anything to be the manager that takes York back to being a League club. I want that more than anything. And not just for me, although of course for me, it would be great for me, it would be great on my CV of course it would, but I just want it for everyone at this football club.”
- Read the full interview at the York City official website.
- The Mix Six: six of the best York City performances