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Bootham Crescent - Monks Cross

Coming Soon.

The Build

Building work began in December 2017, but only after umpteen delays that left many wondering if the much-vaunted stadium was destined to remain on the drawing board in perpetuity, and is firmly on schedule with all four stands set to be completed in early 2019.

The complex will also include a 13-screen cinema, health centre, swimming pool and retail park.

The stadium and leisure centre account for £39m of this outlay and things are progressing at a fast pace under main contractor, the Buckingham Group. The pitch is expected to be laid in early 2019, soon after the seats have been installed in the four by then completed stands.

By late October 2018, the framework for three of the four stands that will make up the new York Community Stadium is already in place and the concrete steps of the main stand are being lifted into place by a crane that towers over the Monks Cross site. The base of the South Stand, which backs on to the cinema, has also been laid.

The keys are due to be handed over to YCFC in May 2019.

The Minstermen are due to move into the new 8,000-capacity Community Stadium at Monks Cross – which will also house York City Knights rugby league club in eth summer, for City, in time for the start of the 2019/20 season.

OCTOBER 2018

In October 2018, Jason McGill said, “The city of York is going to benefit immensely from this project. Not just the stadium, but the entire facility, from the leisure facilities to the largest cinema complex in Europe, swimming pool and a community centre with NHS Outpatients. The club couldn’t have carried on forever at Bootham Crescent. York City loses money there and has done for sometime. Of course it will be a wrench to leave. Bootham Crescent has been our home since 1932 and has some fantastic memories for all of us, good and bad. But by moving here we are safeguarding the club’s future. The original plan was to be in here by 2011. For a lot of reasons that didn’t happen. None to do with the football club. Now, though, as you look around at this magnificent facility going up you can see we are entering a new period in the club’s history. The club is protected by an agreement we have with the Council for 99 years. It means there can be no repeat of what happened in the past.”

THE HISTORY

York’s route to Monks Cross began unwittingly in 1999 via their home being transferred from the club to Bootham Crescent Holdings, a company set up by then board members Douglas Craig, Colin Webb and Barry Swallow.

The ground was bought back via a £2m loan from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) five years later when McGill and the Supporters Trust were jointly in charge. The loan was made on the proviso that a new stadium be completed within seven years, after which the £2m would be converted into a grant that will be the football club’s contribution to the new stadium. An agreement was also reached with Persimmon Homes, who had previously struck a deal with Bootham Crescent Holdings for the 4.4 acre site.

The company was also granted first refusal on buying Bootham Crescent at a 10 per cent discount of its market value. “The FSIF have been fantastic throughout,” said McGill, who assumed a majority 75 per cent shareholding in 2006 in return for providing £1m in funding to take York through to the new stadium’s scheduled opening date of 2011. If they hadn’t provided the £2m loan then York City would have folded and probably had to start again somewhere else. Maybe even here at the old rugby stadium (Huntington), though the facilities would have been way below League standard. Without that lifeline, Bootham Crescent could have been sold. The Council probably wouldn’t have given permission to build on the site while York City were still in operation. But who in their right mind was going to keep a club going and also put in what was needed with nothing on the horizon?”

After the initial 2011 target date had been missed several other deadlines came and went to leave many in the city wondering if the stadium would ever be built. McGill added: “The FSIF could have been ruthless and said, ‘There is no sign of this being built, no matter what the Council say, and we want our £2m back. I didn’t have £2m to give them. So we would have had to sell Bootham Crescent and give them the £2m back. We owe the FSIF a lot.”

A price is still to be agreed with Persimmon for Bootham Crescent as the countdown continues to the May 14 2019 handover date.

The equity left from the sale after other creditors’ claims have been met will then be used to cover the loans McGill has made to the club on an interest-free basis to bridge the gap until the move. With these outlays including £2m to the Council, £400,000 interest to FSIF and around £200,000 to the shareholders of Bootham Crescent Holdings, chances are McGill will end up out of pocket. “I would say I have contributed around £4.5m net. If I had left in 2011 as planned with the new stadium open that would have been it. Even a delay to 2012 when we won promotion to the Football League or 2014 when we reached the League Two play-offs under Nigel Worthington would have been fine. Then I could have walked away having delivered on my original pledge of York City getting a new stadium along with promotion back to the League. But things did not work out as planned and now, with Persimmon having a 10 per cent discount, the sale is unlikely to cover what I have contributed.”

THE MATCHDAY EXPERIENCE

Jason McGill noted, “We hope fans will come down early, have a few beers and watch the Sky or BT game on a bank of TVs. We want to get the atmosphere going with local bands, but the original plan had no provision for a roof. That was no good as if it rains then the fans would have got wet. So, my company, and not the football club, has paid the money”. JM Packaging stumped up an extra £50,000 to cover the cost of a roof for the Fans’ Zone.

It is hoped the traditional uplift in attendances at a new stadium – often around 30 per cent – will be repeated, not least because both York City and York City Knights rugby league club will benefit from all income generated when either is playing at home.

EXTRA REVENUE GENERATION OPPORTUNITIES

“The plan is getting to a position where the football club can wipe its face without needing extensive external investment,” McGill said about a club that lost £1.16m over the three years to June 2017, the last set of accounts available. “Personally, I feel it will be very tricky not to need some funding on an annual basis, at least early on after the move. But, certainly, the revenue this facility generates will reduce the money that will be needed. Be it JM Packaging (McGill’s company) or whoever. This will put the club on a stronger financial footing”.

It is expected there will be two non-matchdays a month, typically a Friday and Saturday night, when the Minstermen can stage events such as dinners or boxing bouts in the hospitality areas that will see all proceeds go to the club.

“The business plan is to increase the income of the football club,” added McGill. “Bootham Crescent has next to no facilities. For a start, the hospitality boxes face on to the car park. Here on the top floor there are three dining experiences. Left-hand side from the pitch is a room for 200 people, a pie and pea facility. The middle is more a carvery for 100. Then the directors dining room has scope for another 100. Something for everyone. We can also open up the whole area to make one large venue, catering for 400 at a time. At Bootham Crescent, we can probably do 50 maximum”.

TOUGH TIMES

York have endured some tough times in recent years with back-to-back relegations in 2016 and 2017 having dumped the club in the sixth tier.

Asked what the future entails for someone who had initially planned to sell up in the wake of the scheduled move to a new stadium in 2011, McGill replied: “Moving here will be a watershed moment for me.

“I would certainly want to have a season here, where I can enjoy the fruits of those labours. I am 52 and this saga has been a big part of my life, what with all the trials and tribulations that happened along the way. “There was the lobbying of various parties, then the meetings with everyone from the Council to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) and all the bodies that have been involved. It has been a lot of hard work, especially when I have been running my own business at the same time. I was spreading myself too thinly, and so there will be a year here. Then, after that, let’s see what happens. We all want to see York City benefit from increased crowds and the income this facility can generate. If we can dovetail that with success on the pitch, fantastic”.


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