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Bootham Crescent will ‘die with dignity’ vows Stevenson
YORK City’s new commercial consultant, Alan Stevenson, will ensure Bootham Crescent “dies with dignity” prior to the club’s proposed move to Monks Cross in 2016.
The former Chesterfield, Burnley, Rotherham and Hartlepool ’keeper, now 62, has been employed by the Minstermen to maximise the commercial potential of leaving Bootham Crescent and operating from a new community stadium.
That process has already begun with Stevenson revealing that the Minstermen will host a series of commemorative events leading up to relocation, including a past player banquet and farewell matches for fans on the hallowed turf.
In the past, Stevenson has overseen the move from old Wembley to the new national stadium as well as others involving Huddersfield Town, Bolton Wanderers, Hull City, Widnes Rugby League Club, Coventry City, Doncaster Rovers, Shrewsbury Town and Chesterfield.
Of his latest venture, he said: “The new stadium might seem a little way off at the moment and a lot of football fans always like to pretend it will never happen, but you have to start planning for the move now.
“It will come around very quickly and you have to be ready. Then, if there is a delay, you just have to move things back a bit.
“We have to maximise what we have here first though and I will be working with (commercial executive) Dave Hendry and (operations and safety manager) Chris Tock to implement ideas that I have tried at other clubs.
“We will be having a sportsperson’s dinner with Nobby Stiles in November and, hopefully, we will be having more of those in the future. I will also be looking to start a business club next year and stage a Player of the Year ceremony at the end of the season.
“Then, as we get nearer to the move, we will have an End of an Era Match Programme for the final game and fans will be able to take part in matches on the pitch to commemorate the move. We will also bring out DVDs and have a celebration banquet with all the old players coming back.
“The club have played here 80-odd years and that means there will have been a lot of good memories of the place so I want to let it die with dignity. I want people to celebrate all those memories before moving on to the new stadium.
“We want the old generation of fans who might not have been for years to come to the last couple of matches, which should be sell-outs. You then hope they will come to the new stadium after a couple of open days to show people around.
“Basically, we want to begin drip feeding people with events that they can expect at the new stadium because football supporters are creatures of habit and generally don’t like change.”
Stevenson will dedicate two days a week to his new role, which he will combine with his director of marketing position at City’s table-topping League Two rivals Chesterfield.
He has been instrumental in guaranteeing the Spireites reaped the off-pitch rewards of their move from a crumbling Saltergate to the Proact Stadium in 2010 and is confident a new arena will also have the same uplifting effect in North Yorkshire, adding: “If the club wants to thrive and move up the Football League with a better team, they need better facilities and better income streams.
“You cannot expand at Bootham Crescent because it’s land-locked. I came here as a player in 1970 and it’s not changed at all.
“Attracting players is easier when you move to a better stadium too.
“You have a lot of dead money at old stadiums because of the cost of their upkeep and that money can be used to sign players.”
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