TYLER French is the latest player to make the jump from non-league football to Valley Parade.

City’s recent history has featured several who have stepped up from the part-time grade – with varying degrees of success. Here are some of the hits and misses.


“He used to work in the Co-op” as the song goes.

Arguably City’s best known recruit from non-league football arrived at Valley Parade via Eccleshill and Guiseley – where he scored 46 goals in 67 games.

Hanson even had to take a pay cut when he went full-time in 2009 because he was losing out on the money he earned from his “day job” in the Idle supermarket.

Following a £7,500 move from Guiseley, he grabbed his first City goal in a wild 5-4 win at Cheltenham and would go on to become the club’s third highest scorer of all-time with 90.

But none were more famous than the header at Villa Park that sealed an historic appearance in the Capital One Cup final.


The striker can certainly claim to be the tallest City recruit from non-league.

“Big Stix” played for Manningham Mills and then almost a full season with Thackley before the Bantams snapped him up.

Thackley were a bit miffed to lose the local talent for nothing and wrote to City when Ormondroyd moved on to Aston Villa for £650,000 asking for some payback. They were sent a cheque for £1,000.

Built in the same towering mould at Peter Crouch at 6ft 7in tall, Ormondroyd suffered similar jibes throughout his career. But, as the cliché went, he had “good feet for a big man”.

City fans will remember a 5-1 FA Cup win over Oldham in Terry Dolan’s first game in temporary charge. All five goals were scored before half-time and Ormondroyd helped himself to a hat-trick.


Like James Hanson, Syers left Guiseley for City in 2010 – and scored on his debut the day he signed non-contract terms with the first goal in a 2-1 win League Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

The energetic midfielder was the stand-out performer in a team that struggled under Peter Taylor and eventually only just staved off relegation from the Football League.

The player of the year awards were cancelled that year – like the season just gone – but Syers was named the players’ player by his team-mates.

Unfortunately, his willingness to throw himself into challenges would prove his undoing two games into the 2011-2012 season in City’s League Cup defeat at Leeds.

Syers came off second best in a collision with home keeper Andy Lonergan and damaged his knee ligaments – an injury that would sideline him for four months.

He rejected City’s contract offer at the end of the season to step up a division with Doncaster.


Centre-half Steve Williams was one of the cut-price recruits in the summer of 2009 when Stuart McCall’s Bantams budget was chopped.

A barber by trade, Williams joined from Bamber Bridge and enjoyed a promising first season in the full-time game.

He was a ball-playing defender who liked to bring it out of defence but was also prone to a costly lapse in concentration.

His form dropped in his second year at Valley Parade and Peter Taylor questioned his professionalism. Williams also found himself out of the team when Peter Jackson took over.

He failed to break back in after Phil Parkinson arrived and was loaned out to Inverness. A ruptured Achilles tendon on his return effectively curtailed the defender’s City career.


The striker claimed the honour of netting the first goal of the Phil Parkinson era with a last-gasp equaliser at Morecambe.

But he generally failed to live up to the reputation as a scoring machine from non-league.

Hannah, who signed from Matlock two days before turning 25, got three in his debut season and signed a contract extension for a further year with Parkinson predicting there was more to come.

He hardly featured again for City, though, and after a loan spell with Halifax moved on to Grimsby. There he did rediscover his touch in front of goal enough to earn a permanent switch after just 20 months at Valley Parade.

Hannah is now joint-manager with Gainsborough Trinity.


Winger Scott Neilson, grandson of former Wales international Cliff Jones, joined City from Cambridge City for £20,000 after scoring twice in a trial game.

Signed by Stuart McCall to replace Joe Colbeck, Neilson fell out of favour under Peter Taylor who was unhappy with his fitness levels.

After a loan spell at Cambridge United, Neilson was eventually sold to Crawley for around £15,000.

Neilson admitted he had not been able to settle in the north and never felt that Taylor had faith in him.