THE Community Stadium reaches “an absolute milestone” on May 23 when fans are set to watch their first York City Knights match in person at the new ground.

The crowd at the 8,500-seat stadium will be limited to 1,000 for the Betfred Championship fixture against Oldham.

Knights superfan Andy Knowles will be there – and said he is “like a child waiting for Christmas”.

Andy said he has not seen some of his friends from the rugby in more than a year and cannot wait to be back.

“Everybody is so looking forward to May 23,” he said. “I have been around the stadium three or four times now and seen it from a building site to it being finished.

“The last time I saw the Knights play was last March at the Featherstone Rovers ground.

“I’m so looking forward to seeing lots of friends, fans and colleagues face to face, and the atmosphere of being there in person.

“Rugby league is a big part of lots of people’s lives. It’s not just 80 minutes on a Sunday. We recover and get our voices back on a Monday and on Tuesday we are starting to talk about the next week’s game.”

After the first match on May 23, the crowd size is set to increase to 2,000 people. That number will increase when restrictions are lifted.

The stadium was finally completed in December 2020 - but fans have not been able to watch games in person due to coronavirus restrictions.

Andy, whose business Assetiam Business Support Services is a sponsor of the club, said he has booked two corporate hospitality tables for his family and several friends to celebrate together before the match.

“I have had a bit of a rough start to the year,” Andy said. “I have some great friends at the rugby and this is something they wouldn’t normally do.

“May 23 is an absolute milestone.”

He praised the Knights for keeping in touch with fans throughout the pandemic, with events on Zoom and regular phone calls to fans.

A spokesperson for GLL, which runs the stadium, said: “The LNER Community Stadium will welcome 1,000 York City Knights fans on May 23.

“The York Stadium Management Company have been working to ensure that the stadium is Covid-secure and complies with all guidance from the national sporting bodies and the government. After this event, 2,000 fans shall be permitted into the stadium. This number will gradually increase when all restrictions are lifted.”

York City Knights say all existing members including season ticket holders, vice presidents, platinum, and corporate members will be given priority for tickets to the game.

In a statement, the club said: "We are really excited and optimistic that we will be able to allow fans in for this fixture and we can’t wait for you to experience your first match at the LNER Community Stadium."