Shrewsbury Town v Bradford City: Demise of York helped steel Hendrie junior for the future

Luke Hendrie. Enjoying life back at his dad John's old club, Bradford City.
Luke Hendrie. Enjoying life back at his dad John's old club, Bradford City.
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LUKE HENDRIE’S family name meant a return to Bradford City, the club where father John starred during the Eighties, was perhaps written in the stars.

It is, however, a stint elsewhere in Yorkshire that the Bantams loanee credits with providing invaluable career lessons.

Luke Hendrie on loan at York City last season

Luke Hendrie on loan at York City last season

“York City was quite an eye-opener,” said the 23-year-old about his stint at Bootham Crescent during the 2015-16 campaign that ended with the Minstermen dropping out of the Football League. “It was a difficult time for the club, with all that was happening. But, looking back, the experience I got at York was invaluable.

“I learned so much about things off the pitch when at York.

“In the dressing room, it was interesting to see how different characters reacted during tough times.

“I am not naming names or anything like that, but it showed me the other side of football that you don’t see when coming through the academy system.

Getting relegated was horrible, the worst feeling in my short career. I never want to go through that again. Even being on loan, it still hurt. And now, talking about it with you, it still hurts

Luke Hendrie

“You go there and people’s jobs are on the line, including those who work in the office. It was a tough time, but, looking back, it was an invaluable experience for me.

“Getting relegated was horrible, the worst feeling in my short career. I never want to go through that again. Even being on loan, it still hurt.

“And now, talking about it with you, it still hurts.”

York’s demise may still sadden Hendrie, who was on loan from Burnley, but it is promotion and not relegation focusing his mind at the moment.

Bradford, even allowing for last Tuesday bringing a third straight home defeat, have spent all but a fortnight in the top six of League One this term.

Hendrie, whose father was a City team-mate of manager Stuart McCall, has played his part with today’s trip to leaders Shrewsbury Town expected to bring his ninth league outing of the season.

“It was a special moment when I came back,” he said about August’s return from Burnley on a half-season loan deal.

“I had been here from 11 years old for a couple of seasons before going to Manchester United (who paid the Bantams £25,000 for the defender) so had already had that taste of things.

“I went to pretty much every home game when in the academy and tried to get to as many as possible even after leaving. Plus, I had been around the club since a young age.

“It is a club close to my heart. I supported them and then there is all the links with my dad as well. He went through some good times at Bradford...and some difficult ones.”

Hendrie junior also had a trial at Valley Parade when Phil Parkinson was manager, but the presence of Stephen Darby and Tony McMahon meant he looked elsewhere when leaving Derby County.

“I love it here with the big crowds and the expectation,” added the defender who spent last season on loan at Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.

“The pressure is different from a relegation battle and I really want to help Bradford do well. This is a special club.”