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Chairman reacts to stadium news

The proposed stadium at Monks Cross
By Ian Appleyard | 20th July 2017

YORK City owner and chairman Jason McGill has welcomed news that construction of York's community stadium should finally begin in the Autumn.

The indicative build timeline will be included in a report considered by councillors at a special meeting of the Executive next Thursday (July 27).

Contractors will move onto the Monks Cross site in October and the main construction phase is expected to take 16 months.

The 8,000 capacity all-seater stadium will be 'home' to both York City Football Club and York City Knights Rugby League Club - supporting their long-term viability. It will also enable the two clubs to continue and enhance the success of their current community coaching and engagement programmes.

The £41m community stadium project features a cinema complex, including an IMAX screen, five restaurants, and three retail units which will be run by Cineworld.

Leisure facilities will incorporate a swimming pool, gym, dance studio, and a sports hall with spectator seating.  

NHS outpatient services will also be offered on-site from a community hub and there will be a new library.

It is hoped that the leisure facilities and the community hub will be open by Spring 2019 with the stadium complex following in the summer of that year.

McGill said: "This is exciting news for York City supporters and the city's sporting future. It is a highly significant announcement which will help safeguard the long-term future of York City Football Club.

“I am extremely grateful to the local council and other associated parties for their hard work and patience in moving this matter forward,” he added.

"If things go according to plan, York City supporters will be watching their team at a new 8,000 capacity stadium by the start of the 2019/2020 season.”

McGill’s company J M Packaging has provided considerable funding to keep York City alive during the period of uncertainty that has surrounded the move to new stadium.

Reflecting on the twists-and-turns, McGill said: “This whole saga first started in 2003 when the ground was sold by the former chairman and the club was potentially homeless.

“With the help of the Supporters Trust, we secured a loan from the Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF) that secured our short-term future.

“As chairman and majority shareholder, I made a personal commitment in 2006 to keep the football club financially stable until 2011 when the new stadium was originally scheduled for completion. For various reasons, that did not happen.

“The next date set out for completion was 2016 which led me to extend my financial support for another five years. However, that deadline also came and went!

 “At that stage, I made a commitment to the club’s supporters that I would keep their club going until the new stadium was delivered. Today’s announcement is, hopefully, a significant milestone - because there have been far too many false dawns.

“Moving to an 8,000 capacity all-seater stadium at Monks Cross would be fantastic news. It would safeguard the club’s future, put the club back in a break even position financially, and represent the start of an exciting new era.

“Admittedly, a move to a new stadium will be greeted with a tinge of sadness by some supporters,” he added. “Our ground holds a lot of special memories for a lot of people but any modern day football club needs a sustainable stadium that generates vital ‘non-matchday’ income.

“The Monks Cross community stadium will provide income streams that we simply don’t have at Bootham Crescent - which has been our home since 1932 - and make a massive difference to the financial well-being of our football club.”

The original £2m loan from the FSIF will become a grant when York City Football Club moves to a new stadium and that grant will be the club’s contribution to the cost of the project.

Meanwhile, Nigel Ayre, executive councillor with responsibility for the stadium, commented: "The community stadium project is about to take a major step forward with building work starting in just a few months.

"Since the last major update there have been several issues to contend with, not least a general election, worries about the impact of Brexit, and a failed legal challenge.

“Despite this, we’ve continued to make good progress and now we have a good idea of how long it will take to complete the build," he added.

“The community stadium will benefit the whole of York with enhanced facilities, a home for both our professional football and rugby clubs while creating hundreds of new jobs.”

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