Fear enforced sale of Bootham would leave York homeless

Nigel Worthington
Nigel Worthington
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CHAIRMAN Jason McGill has revealed York City could be left homeless if the proposed new stadium development at Monks Cross stalls next month.

A crunch meeting of councillors will decide on October 9 whether to approve an additional £4m of funding for a leisure pool on the site of a development that along with a new community stadium will feature a cinema plus retail and food outlets.

If the go-ahead is not given by the local authority – which until a couple of weeks ago was run by Labour, who as a group have backed the development from the start – the project will be in danger of collapse.

That would leave the Minstermen facing an uncertain future due to the club’s Stadium Improvement Fund loan agreement being set to expire in October.

A delay in the stadium development, which is due to open in 2016, would mean the Minstermen having to repay that £2m loan. The only way to do that, McGill insists, would be to sell Bootham Crescent.

McGill, whose family have bankrolled the club since taking charge in 2003, last night told The Yorkshire Post: “Two weeks ago, everything was good with the project and on course.

“But now we find ourselves in a serious position. A vote against the £4m will leave the entire project in doubt. That would have serious repercussions for the football club.

“I appeal to those involved in the vote to give the go-ahead, especially as for every pound spent by the Council, the city of York is set to receive £5 of external investment. The city will also have new leisure facilities and plenty of new job opportunities.”

A further complication for City is the Football League requiring all 72 member clubs to meet certain criteria on facilities and floodlights.

Due to the planned new stadium, York have been given special dispensation not to do the required work.

However, if the scheme stalls further then the Minstermen will have to spend £250,000 on Bootham Crescent to bring it up to the required standard.

McGill, who spent last night outlining the club’s stance to York City Council’s Liberal Democrat councillors, said: “We have dispensation not to have to do the work until 2016, when we hope to be in the new stadium.

“But any delay would mean us having to spend this money on bringing Bootham Crescent up to standard or risk being kicked out of the Football League.”