Bootham Crescent has been home to high drama and low farce, thin pickings and fat strikers, moments to remember and more to forget.
Soon though its hallowed turf will be torn up, its turnstiles stilled and all that will remain will be the distant echo of a ghostly stadium announcer urging no one in particular to ‘Keep the faith’.
There will still be the memories, though – and thanks to Paul Bowser, some of the earliest ones are now chronicled in his brilliant book Bootham Crescent: A Second Home.
This doorstop of a volume chronicles over 270 lavishly-illustrated pages the first 40 years.
Subtitled The History And Home Grounds of York City Football Club Part 1: 1922-1960, it begins with Paul’s apologetic dedication to his wife Ann, “for her support and understanding of my York City addiction”.
Many of us could offer similar apologies to our loved ones.
Bootham Crescent: A Second Home
Or you can buy it in the York City FC club shop, or via White Rose Books in Thirsk.
The price is £25
The book was written to commemorate York City FC’s imminent departure from the club’s home ground after 87 years.
Beginning with the club’s formation and the time it spent at Fulfordgate, the book moves into the ups and downs of the Bootham Crescent years.
Every page yields another precious nugget. We enjoyed by the York City Supporters’ Club’s five principles which fans were encouraged to follow when watching matches.
- See both sides
- Discourage foul play and barracking
- Protect the reputation of the game on the terraces
- Encourage all referees
- Stand by the club in bad weather.
And of course all five are still slavishly adhered to.
City were finally voted into the Football League in 1929, where they stayed until a calamitous few seasons in more recent years.
Bootham Crescent: A Second Home recalls all those dramatic early cup ties, with crowds so big they knocked over the admission booth.
The surprising residency of baseball in 1937 gets its own chapter, as does the logistics of packing the ground during the cup runs of 1938 and 1955.
Filled with contemporary photographs, news cuttings and memorabilia, all the ground changes are captured in rich detail.
And as Match Of The Day commentator and city fan Guy Mowbray puts it in his foreword:
The Caterleisure trolley, hot Bovril and boiled Westlers burgers, the school friends I first went with, the numerous friends made there over the years, even the appalling toilet trench at the back of the Shippo – they’re all stamped indelibly in my memory, and I’m much the better person for it!
As you will be for reading and re-reading this book.