‘Excitement, pride, relief – and disappointment’: Mixed emotions ahead of the first game at York’s new stadium

16 Feb 2021 @ 11.20 am
| Sport

One of the most anticipated – and most delayed – moments in York’s sporting history will take place at 7pm tonight (Tuesday).

That’s when the first match will kick-off at the LNER Community Stadium – years later than expected.

York City FC will begin the new era when they take on AFC Fylde at their new home, the first sporting event to take place in the brand-new multi-purpose stadium.

The Minstermen will take to the pitch in a promotion-chasing clash at the 8,500-capacity stadium under the watchful eye of manager Steve Watson – but without fans in attendance.

This milestone match comes fully seven weeks after the final game at Bootham Crescent last month – which City won 1-0 against Yorkshire rivals Guiseley.

The club is confident that the new stadium will solidify its long-term future of the football club “with additional commercial revenue streams and a state-of the-art facility to help the team progress on and off the field”.

Huge milestone

York City chairman Jason McGill. Photograph: YorkMix

Chairman Jason McGill has led the relocation, negotiating the grant with the Football Stadia Improvement Fund to help fund construction of the new stadium.

McGill said: “I’m thrilled that tonight we will play our first match at the LNER Community Stadium.

“We acknowledge this huge milestone with a mixture of excitement, pride and relief but also with disappointment that our amazing supporters can’t share this important moment in person.

“This new stadium will be a home for the club and our supporters for years to come, providing fantastic matchday experiences and also giving us the opportunity to build the club in many ways.

“We look forward to welcoming them and the wider people of York and North Yorkshire when we are able.

“Thank you again to all the companies and organisations and stakeholders who have been involved in delivering this amazing stadium for York.”

Live coverage

Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities at City of York Council, said: “There is no doubt that it will be an incredible home for both York City Football Club and York City Knights, and an important destination for every York resident in the years to come.

“With a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, swimming pools, library and NHS Services; the stadium complex is an asset that the local community and wider city should be very proud of.”

York City Football Club vs AFC Fylde will be streamed live on the club’s YouTube channel and the club welcome pay-what-you-can donations for viewing via the virtual turnstile on the club shop.

YorkMix will also be live-blogging the build up to the big moment, and the match itself.