Out with the old, in with the new and why it is hard to say goodbye to our favourite grounds – Sue Smith

Having tried for the best part of 20 years, York City finally moved into a new stadium this week, and I imagine for a lot of fans it would have been a sad experience.

NEW SURROUNDINGS: York City take on AFC Fylde at their new LNER Community Stadium home earlier this week. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

For them not to have been able to go to the first game at the new LNER Community Stadium on Tuesday must have been horrible, but so must knowing they will not be back at Bootham Crescent to watch football again.

It is something supporters of clubs like Huddersfield Town, Rotherham United, Doncaster Rovers, Hull City and Middlesbrough have been through, and something I as an Everton fan might have to face up to in the next few years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

For those clubs fortunate to be able to stay where they are and redevelop, as Leeds United plan to in the fullness of time, that is the ideal situation but many do not have that choice.

York City's players take to the field at their new LNER Community Stadium home to face AFC Fylde. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Like York, Everton have been looking for a new home for years and it could finally move a step closer on Tuesday when planning permission for a stadium at Bramley Dock is discussed.

Unless you are a sports fan, I do not think you would understand.

If just about any other organisation moves, people just get on with it.

I say “sports” rather than just football because my mum often used to watch rugby league at Knowsley Road. Since St Helens moved away in 2010 she has only been to the new stadium once.

FOND MEMORIES: Everton's Goodison Park. Picture: Paul Ellis/PA

She does not really like it. Lots of other people, not just her age but younger, say it is just not the same.

I used to go as a youngster and it was brilliant. It was pretty much all standing and you knew if you stood in a certain part, that was where all the singing started.

The toilets were horrible and the queues were massive but I have lovely memories and the new state-of-the-art stadium where the facilities and the food are so much better just does not have that for me.

My really special place is Goodison Park. I do not want the club to leave but I know it has to happen to keep up, especially if Everton have Champions League aspirations.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS: St Helens' old Knowsley Road ground, pictured in 2010. Picture: Dave Howarth/PA

It holds so many memories of going with my dad and my brother, and the first time I was allowed to go with my friends and we all got on the train together.

It sounds really stupid but it is the little memories which make you form an emotional attachment with your football ground. They are never going to go but you always want the stadium to be there. Goodison Park has lots of obstructed views and the facilities are not as good as at other clubs but it will still be sad when it goes.

When my local Marks and Spencer’s moved, I did not feel a sense of loss. I had shopped there for years and would go for a coffee there, but there was no attachment.

I am pleased York are making efforts to preserve Bootham Crescent’s memories. I like to move with the times but remember history too.

NEW HOME: The LNER Community Stadium, the new home for York City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

I imagine Tuesday would have been a bit surreal for the players, and York lost their opening game against Fylde.

I have never played for a club who moved into a new stadium during a season but at Tranmere Rovers our home games were at Bromborough and occasionally we played at Prenton Park. It was brilliant to play in the men’s stadium and we would get more fans in but it had a different feel.

We played Liverpool one season when we were having a really good time. We had beaten them at their ground but lost at Prenton Park, and maybe it took away a bit of our focus playing there. It was not our “fortress” because we only played there every so often.

Players love routines and I would always sit in the same seat in the home changing room so when you are in a different one it can put you a bit out of sorts.

Fans have their routines too – they go to the same chippy, the same pub, stop at the same place – and when that changes it can be uncomfortable. All those other places will be lost to them too.

York’s new stadium is on the outskirts of the city, whereas the old one was a short walk from the train station.

Teams seem to take a while to get used to a new ground, so now the Conference North season has been voided, a proposed mini-league between the clubs like York who wanted to carry on could help the transition.

Hopefully in time people will say the facilities are much better and think it was the right thing to do but they will always miss the old place.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.