York City forced to wait before moving into Monks Cross stadium

After 16 years of waiting, York City finally have a new stadium to move into, but cannot get it up and running until the Government allows mass gatherings again.

The new Community Stadium at Monks Cross sits empty as York City wait for a safety certificate.

Even with their season over, the Minstermen do not know if they have played their last game at Bootham Crescent, their home since 1932.

The new Community Stadium at Monks Cross is ready to replace it as soon as it is awarded a safety certificate, but that can only happen with a crowd to test it, and while mass gatherings are banned and people from different households told to stay 2m apart as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that is impossible.

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Even with the regular Conference North season over, the authorities have yet to rule out the possibility of promotion play-offs taking place. If the final standings are those as of today, York will go up as champions regardless, but with second-placed King Lynn Town having two games in hand, a points-per-game solution would have them in the play-offs if there were any.

And it is possible next season could start behind closed doors.

“I always thought Brighton’s was a long enough saga moving into a new stadium, but I think ours has surpassed that now,” said vice-president Richard Adams. “We’ve been looking to move into a new stadium since 2004.

“There’s still work being done even now but the problem we have is it cannot be tested because to do that you need a crowd.

“You need at least 200 people sat down to a meal to test the hospitality areas, and then you have to test the evacuation procedures. You’ve also got to test the stadium itself, and for an 8,500-seater stadium you need at least 3,000 people in. With social distancing, you can’t do that.

“It’s costing the club every day.

“We took out a loan to buy back Bootham Crescent and we’re paying interest on it, so every day before we can move into the new stadium is costing us money which we will have to take off what we get for selling Bootham.”

For long-serving supporters like Adams, York’s final game at their traditional home will be an emotional occasion – presuming, that is, it was not the 4-1 March 3 defeat to Hereford.

“I’ve been supporting the club since I was five and I’ll be 75 in September,” said Adams. “It’s going to be a sad time when we leave but when will it be?

“We could have tried to move into the new stadium for the last two games of the season but did we want to adjust to new surroundings when we were going for promotion? We decided no.

“But the new stadium will offer us so many opportunities.”

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