Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
York City Knights chief John Guildford hails full steam ahead for community stadium
YORK City Knights chairman John Guildford says the city’s new community stadium has finally “started to become a reality”.
Guildford wrote in his matchday programme notes – ahead of the Knights’ final game of their relegation season in the Kingstone Press Championship – that funds were now in place to go ahead with the development, and that design, build and operation tenders were due back to City of York Council this month or next.
He said his club will be in the new stadium come their 2016 season, after one more year at Huntington Stadium and a season at York City’s Bootham Crescent ground.
City, who will share the new arena, have already said they should be in their new home come the start of their 2015/16 campaign.
In a change to previous proposals, he said it is now likely the two clubs will have their own separate bars and hospitality areas, rather than have a shared facility run by a third party at a cost.
Guildford also wrote that agreement has been reached over the Knights’ new training facility at the old Mille Crux, now part of York St John University’s Nestlé Rowntree Park sports centre. That deal is for 20 years.
The Knights ended their season on a low note with two red cards in a 34-16 defeat against Batley at Huntington Stadium.
They finished the campaign bottom of the table and will play next season in Championship One, with an immediate promotion already being targeted in their final year at their present home.
Guildford wrote: “The club have agreed with the City of York Council and York St John University to train at the proposed new training facility on Haxby Road.
"The deal is for 20 years and will have a 3G all-weather pitch for training and playing reserve games; plus gym, meeting rooms and coaches’ offices etc.
“This is a major improvement for the club and we wish to thank the council and the university for helping to make this a reality.
“The new stadium is out to tender at present on a design, build and operation basis and tenders I understand are due back to the council in September/October this year.
“The council has assured the club we would not be any worse off than we are now and will have opportunities to increase income which will help the club thrive.
“The plans are that both clubs will have their own bar/hospitality facility similar to what we have now.
“I am fully aware a number of fans say the new stadium will never get built in ‘my lifetime’. I must say there have been times when I would have agreed, but now it’s started to become a reality and will be built.
“Oakgate Monks Cross Ltd have provided the funding, around £14 million, and this has now been paid to City of York Council to build the new stadium.
“We are having regular meetings and updates regarding details with the council and it is now moving into the latter stages. Once the contract is awarded, which should be at the end of this year or early next, then the action really starts.”
Guildford also made light of the hold-ups caused by protected newts being discovered on site.
He wrote: “I am told the main delay has been the newts… as they are not very good at designing new sports stadiums.
“In my humble opinion it would have been better to get architects to design the stadium and let the partners contribute to how they think it should look/operate.
“Anyway, put that aside, we are looking forward to seeing the contractor’s designs when the tenders come in and it is then we will see the proposed stadium’s full lay-out and how it will operate.”
He added: “Keep the faith – it will happen, and council officers and council leaders have confirmed it will be a reality.
“Anyway what else could they do with £14 million – build more speed bumps, or close more bridges in York? Joke!”
Comments are closed on this article.