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City Connections: Sheffield United

City Connections: Sheffield United
This time considering five notable players featuring for both York City and Sheffield United, including a couple of superb goalscorers and a simply magnificent goalkeeper.

1. Arthur Bottom

One of the most famous names in City's history, Arthur Bottom had made only 24 league appearances and scored seven times in six seasons for his hometown Blades, until moving to York in the summer of 1954.

It was to prove an incredible signing, with Bottom instantly blasting a hat-trick on his debut in a resounding 6-2 victory at Wrexham. He proceeded to total 39 goals at the end of his first season, in the process equalling team-mate Billy Fenton's club record of 31 league goals. Remarkably twelve months later he did it again.

Always a huge influence as York incredibly fought their way into the FA Cup semi-finals, the prolific marksman started it off with a goal against Scarborough, then a hat-trick at Dorchester, two more at Bishop Auckland, a glorious quarter-final winner at Notts County, before a famous equaliser against Newcastle United in the semi-final.

However, Bottom's greatest single-game haul was when netting four times as City created a new club record league victory by totally demolishing Southport 9-1 in February 1957. Appropriately he went on to finish as leading goalscorer in each of his three full seasons with the club.

Following a magnificent 105 goals in 158 appearances, Bottom then joined Newcastle United in February 1958, and his ten goals in eleven games promptly helped them escape relegation to the Second Division. He later linked up with Chesterfield, until finally finishing his career at Alfreton Town.

But it was his outstanding exploits at York, for whom he is still their sixth-highest goalscorer ever, that Bottom is best remembered, with his always competitive and sometime on-the-edge style of play making him an everlasting hero of supporters.

2. Graeme Crawford

Graeme Crawford undoubtedly ranks amongst the greatest of York goalkeepers - and even equalled a Football League record while at Bootham Crescent.

Having begun in his native country with East Stirlingshire, Crawford moved south of the border when joining Sheffield United in 1969.

However, first-team opportunities were to prove difficult for him and he joined City in October 1971, initially on loan. For the next five-and-a-half seasons he was to be their regular and outstanding keeper.

During a superb 1973-74 campaign - at the end of which York famously secured promotion into the second-flight for the first-time in their history to rank alongside the likes of Manchester United, Sunderland and Aston Villa - Crawford kept an incredible eleven successive clean-sheets while remaining unbeaten for 17 hours and 19 minutes.

He was later to appear in every game of York's two-year stay in the Second Division, until moving on to Scunthorpe United in July 1977.

Crawford made a brief return to his beloved City in January 1980, that involving a part-exchange deal with fellow keeper Joe Neenan; in the process taking his overall tally of appearances to 280. He then spent three years with Rochdale before finishing his career at Scarborough.

3. Ian Holmes

Anybody fortunate enough to witness midfielder Ian Holmes' sparkling two-season peak at York would have recognised a very special player.

Having turned professional with Sheffield United in 1968, the Wombwell-born prospect found breaking through difficult at Bramall Lane and as a consequence was to change allegiances to York in July 1973.

His debut in a fine 4-2 victory at Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the following season was an indication of what was about to come from his new colleagues, as they magnificently stormed to promotion from Division Three.

After joining the club as a winger, Holmes moved inside and soon forged an outstanding partnership with the far more experienced Barry Lyons down the right, and his trademark brilliant solo bursts from a more central role became a regular and scintillating feature of his play.

He was also a superb penalty-taker - and memorably demonstrated that when converting a dramatic injury-time winner against promotion rivals Bristol Rovers before a crackling 11,066 attendance at Boothan Crescent in March 1974.

Holmes went on to complete 180 appearances while including an impressive 35 goals, although his form had already begun to dip by the time he reunited with his former City manager Tom Johnston at Huddersfield Town after a £10,000 fee was agreed between the clubs in October 1977.

He later played for and coached Gainsborough Trinity.

4. Cliff Calvert

When Cliff Calvert left Bootham Crescent for Sheffield United in September 1975, it was for a then club record fee received of £30,000.

Born in Dunnington, Calvert had joined York initially as an apprentice, until being awarded a full-time contract in July 1972.

He was already an England Youth international - one of three boasted by City at the time, with Brian Pollard and Mike De Placido being the others.

Calvert went on to receive his league debut against Plymouth Argyle in March 1973 - on that occasion in his usual midfield role, although he was to later switch to right-back after regular John Stone suffered a broken leg.

However, before that he'd figured prominently with 34 appearances during the glorious promotion season of 1973-74, until his record move brought him over eighty games and a handful of goals at Bramall Lane.

That preceded a spell in the North America Soccer League while representing both Toronto Blizzards and Dallas Tornado.

5. Clayton Donaldson

Clayton Donaldson had already had loan stays with Harrogate Town, Scarborough and Halifax Town before moving to Bootham Crescent from Hull City in June 2005.

The Bradford-born marksman was to make a major impact in his new surroundings after his debut against Crawley Town on the opening day of the following season.

He was to notably score in six successive games during the months of September and October, those while on his way to finishing as second top goalscorer on eighteen and being crowned as 'Clubman of the Year'.

And Donaldson was to become even more prolific as he then topped the scoring charts with twenty-six just twelve months later, including a superb hat-trick in a 5-0 victory at Cambridge United in March 2007.

That witnessed the Minstermen into the play-offs, although their narrow aggregate defeat to Morecambe was to be his final action for the club after 44 goals in 93 appearances; with Scottish Premiership Hibernian soon taking advantage of an age-related no compensation rule north of the border.

However, Donaldson was to remain only twelve months after largely being frozen out at Easter Road. He still went on to enjoy later success with Crewe Alexandra, Brentford and Birmingham City - where the goals continued to rapidly flow and move him ever-closer to a magnificent overall two-hundred.

Also a full Jamaican international with ten caps and a couple of goals, Donaldson returned to his home county when joining Sheffield United at the start of the current campaign.

Arthur Bottom was City's goal-hero in the FA Cup quarter-final

Video Link: British Movietone

York were making history in front of a massive 47,301 spectators

Video Link: British Pathe

Writer:Vital York City
Date:Wednesday November 15 2017
Time: 4:16PM

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