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VIDEO: First seats installed at stadium

By Ian Appleyard | 22nd February 2019

Manager Steve Watson and chairman Jason McGill have helped install the first seats at the new Community Stadium.

The pair visited Monks Cross to check on progress at the 8,000 capacity venue - which is now scheduled to open early next season.

"There is still a lot of hard work to do this season - so I can't let my focus go to what this is going to be like in five or six months' time - but it is obviously going to be fantastic," said manager Watson.

"It's really impressive - not just the stadium, which is really taking shape now - but the whole complex," he added.

"There are swimming pools, gyms, community areas, and football pitches - on top of what is already a spectacular development.

"It will be a fantastic place to (both) play football and come and watch football. It's a fabulous achievement by everybody involved."

The club is currently in discussions with the Council after it emerged that work on the stadium will not be completed until next season.

"It is disappointing because we were all looking forward to starting afresh in a new season on a positive front foot but Bootham Crescent is a lovely stadium as well so it is not a bad second choice,"said Watson.

"It will affect a lot of things, the pre-season fixtures may be different now, quite a lot of organisation had gone into the opening of the stadium, it just puts us back - but, from my point of view, it's out of my hands and there is not a great deal of benefit from me worrying about it." 

Chairman McGill, meanwhile, hailed the installation of the first seats as a 'huge milestone'.

"It's a 'huge milestone' in the development of the new stadium," he said. "You can only look forward to the football club and the rugby club having a fantastic facility to play in.

"I have really positive feelings about it - but they are tinged with a little bit of sadness because of the length (of time) it has taken to get to where we are.

"The delays have had an enormous impact on the club and myself personally," he said. "It was first mooted in 2004 when we didn't have a stadium and we only had a one year lease to play at Bootham Crescent due to the actions of previous people who were involved in the football club.

"But we are where we are. It's a long time since we were first supposed to have it delivered, which was 2011. It's going to be eight years late - but at least we have got a future for the football club which was my aim when I first became involved in 2003.

"We are going to have a 99-year lease to play in this facility and we want to benefit from all the income generating opportunities that this new stadium brings," he added.

"It's vital for the city of York," he added. "I think it is one of the first facilities where you have got public money and private money and sporting clubs in the middle of a community hub for the people of York."

City host Nuneaton Borough on Saturday afternoon at Bootham Crescent (kick-off 3pm) and are currently seven points adrift of the play-off zone with 11 games to play.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign, McGill said: "I hope we are going to kick-on from Saturday and strive to make the play-offs. I think it is a tall order from where we are but it is achievable.

"We want to finish the season on a high," he added. "That's very important - to get some momentum while we head to the new stadium and exit Bootham Crescent."

City of York Council officials including Council leader Ian Gillies and Nigel Ayre, executive member for Culture, Leisure, and Tourism, accompanied Watson and McGill on the stadium inspection.

Watch a special video report on the stadium visit by scrolling to the bottom of the page: (Photographs by Ian Appleyard)

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO REPORT:

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