THERE will be a mix of emotions for York City chairman Jason McGill tonight as the Minstermen step out onto the LNER Community Stadium pitch for the very first time.

McGill has led City’s relocation from Bootham Crescent since he became involved with the club, negotiating the grant with the Football Stadia Improvement Fund to help fund construction of the new stadium.

It is a long-awaited milestone for both club and supporters, 627 of whom watched the final match at the club’s home of almost 90 years on December 28 against Yorkshire rivals Guiseley.

The new stadium will solidify the long-term future of the football club, with additional commercial revenue streams and a state-of the-art facility to help the team progress on and off the field, the club say.

Manager Steve Watson this evening will lead the Minstermen onto the pitch in a clash with fellow promotion-chasers AFC Fylde at the 8,500-capacity stadium - but without fans in attendance.

McGill said: “I’m thrilled that tonight we will play our first match at the LNER Community Stadium. We acknowledge this huge milestone with a mixture of excitement, pride and relief but also with disappointment that our amazing supporters can’t share this important moment in person.

“This new stadium will be a home for the club and our supporters for years to come, providing fantastic matchday experiences and also giving us the opportunity to build the club in many ways. We look forward to welcoming them and the wider people of York and North Yorkshire when we are able.

“Thank you again to all the companies and organisations and stakeholders who have been involved in delivering this amazing stadium for York.”

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities at City of York Council said: "The inaugural game for the LNER Community Stadium is a significant milestone not just for professional sport in York, but for the whole city.

“There is no doubt that it will be an incredible home for both York City Football Club and York City Knights, and an important destination for every York resident in the years to come.

“With a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, swimming pools, library and NHS Services, the stadium complex is an asset that the local community and wider city should be very proud of.”

York City v AFC Fylde will be streamed live on the club’s YouTube channel on a pay-what-you-can basis via the virtual turnstile on the club shop. Coverage starts from 6:30pm.