By Tony Leighton
Eight years after leaving York City with the club in financial turmoil and nose-diving into non-league, midfielder Lee Bullock is back at a far happier Bootham Crescent as the Minstermen prepare for their return to The Football League.
The now 31-year-old midfield man, recalling his March 2004 departure to Cardiff City while looking ahead to the 2012/13 campaign, told football-league.co.uk: "I was sold so the club could pay some of its bills.
"It was a desperate time, but they were my first club so I've followed their fortunes ever since and I'm delighted that they've turned things round. It's great to see them back in The League and it feels so right to be back here myself."
When Bullock left for the Bluebirds in a £100,000 deal, York were not only in dire cash straits but also in the midst of a dreadful run that saw them relegated as the League's bottom club, two months after the midfielder's move.
In the eight years since those fateful days, Bullock has had spells at Hartlepool United and Bradford City, as well as Cardiff, while the Minstermen have battled their way back to financial stability and npower League 2.
Now player and club are re-united, with Bullock being signed by manager Gary Mills to help strengthen his squad for the challenges that lie ahead in a campaign that is being eagerly awaited by everyone involved with York City.
Bullock said: "I really enjoyed my time here as a youngster, I've got some great memories of being at the club, and when I got the offer to come back it took me about five seconds to make up my mind.
"It's the same club but the set-up is much different now - there's great work been done off the field as well as on it and I feel that I've come into a squad that's been put together and managed very professionally and that can do well in League 2."
York will kick off their League campaign with a home game against Wycombe Wanderers on 18th August, but ahead of that big day they have a Capital One Cup tie at League 1 side Doncaster Rovers - that after a pre-season which includes friendlies against Premier League team Sunderland and Championship outfit Middlesbrough.
"It's a really exciting time for the club and the fans. Playing the likes of Middlesbrough and Sunderland will be great tests for us, and Doncaster as well - they're all sides that like to get the ball down and play and that's our style too," Bullock added.
"The manager likes his team to play quality, attacking football and that's what we'll be looking to do. I can guarantee some exciting games this season, home and away, and I don't see why we can't make a challenge at the top end of the table."
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