Despite overseeing some of the finest young talent in York City's history, Douglas Craig is not the most popular man in town. Tony Eves explains why
Distinguishing features A magistrate with an MBE, also the proud owner of a light-brown anorak which he elegantly models in directors’ boxes on matchdays (an idea that could almost have come from Jürgen Klinsmann and his insistence on driving a VW Beetle in this era of Ferraris). Active and vocal disliker of fancy dan wingers/fans/chairmen.
Habitat When not flitting twixt Craig Towers on the outskirts of the city, the local courts and the Bootham Crescentdome, Craig can be found at Queen Anne’s School, venue for recent “fans’ forums”, attempting either to explain the club’s ethos or to silence the hecklers. Very occasionally tries to do the same thing while standing on the touchline.
What use is he? If you’re a promising young footballer and not too strongly opinionated or inclined to go on mazy runs with your shirt hanging out, then he serves a purpose. Mr C helped to set up a youth policy which has enabled the club to keep afloat by selling homegrown talent (Dean Kiely, Richard Cresswell, Jonathan Greening). However, many fans see this as a drain on resources and wish some of the incoming money was spent on trying to keep the good youngsters and bring in others. Most of us wish the balancing act could be performed a little better enabling us to play on the same stage as the likes of Crewe and Barnsley.
Who remembers his birthday? Alan Little, our last manager, who Craig stuck with through thick, thin and thinner and was granted a testimonial à la Alex Ferguson. Debenhams’ menswear department is probably fond of him too.
Quote/unquote “Cut out the fancy stuff!” – aimed at our left-back Ginner Hall after he had nutmegged Ryan Giggs on the night we gubbed them 3-0 at Old Trafford.
“All right, all right, I can hear you” – to the Shippo End as they chorused “Can you hear Dougie sing?” when he attempted to draw the half-time raffle (a feat strangely yet to be re-enacted).
Uncle Doug’s finest hour, however, came in 1996 in the last match of the season at Brighton, when our 2-1 win sent Carlisle down to the Third in our place. When we went ahead, Michael Knighton, who had travelled down for the occasion, was treated to the sight of our man leading a pointing posse of York directors in a round of “You’re going down in a minute!”.
Other offences to be taken into consideration Mr C is a true fan and endeavours to keep the club afloat – it’s where we are floating to that worries us.The recent appointment of a marketing manager is a step in the right direction but the jury is still out on the magistrate.
From WSC 156 February 2000. What was happening this month