LIFETIME fan Ken Dove watched York City's final Football League game for the forseeable future at Bootham Crescent this weekend - 72 years after he saw their first match at the ground.

But the 83-year-old pensioner did not climb over the back wall to get in free on Saturday, like he did to watch cricket and football in 1932. The former chocolate factory office worker said there had been "great times and great players" at the sports ground, which had hardly changed over the years.

Mr Dove, of Rowntree Avenue, said: "I don't see it as their last league fixture, because of course they are going to come back up, even if it takes them two seasons.

"The ground itself is very similar today as it was then.

"But when I first visited, the Shipton Street end was just a mud bank and only the bottom had steps."

City were formed in 1922 and were elected to the Football League in 1929. They moved to Bootham Crescent in 1932.

Updated: 10:57 Monday, May 03, 2004