THE decision of Leeds United to play their home reserve fixtures at Bootham Crescent should prove a lucrative money-spinner for York City.

Just how much the Minstermen expect to rake in from the exciting deal the club is refusing to divulge but in the mid-1990s, Halifax Town played host to United's second string in a similar agreement.

Halifax, then in the Conference, had seen their attendances slump to little over 600.

But United's reserves, playing against the likes of a David Beckham-inspired Manchester United and Liverpool saw the Shay play host to crowds of almost 5,000.

Widnes Rugby League Club, the best supported club in the Northern Ford Premiership, also play host to Everton reserves with the football attracting big-ger crowds than the rugby.

As reported on our website - - yesterday, Leeds have announced the decision to change venues because of the prospect of Cham-pions' League football next season and the construction of a new playing surface at Elland Road.

York City were today keeping tight-lipped as to just how much money they hope to reap from the arrangement.

But the Evening Press understands City will receive a fee for every match it hosts and a percentage of the gate receipts.

Leeds' season ticket holders will be ad-mitted free of charge to the games although York City season ticket holders will have to pay.

The admission prices, to be fixed by Leeds United, have yet to be announced but City charge £2 entry for their reserve team fixtures and it is expected the ad-mission to watch United's reserves will be higher.

Not only will the deal give football fans in York and its surrounding area the chance to cast their eye over United's rising stars of the future, there is also every chance of Leeds' established stars featuring too.

Senior players often play reserve football as they work their way back to fitness after injury, or have simply been dropped to the reserves due to a loss of form.

City's public relations executive Sophie McGill said the news was a massive boost for York.

"It will not only lift the profile of Bootham Crescent and York City but will give football fans the chance to see some of the game's big stars.

"Hosting these games will obviously mean an increase in revenue for the club, ensuring the survival of York City for the future.

"The excellent surface at the ground, the fact we are a well run club offering a safe environment and are only 20 miles from Leeds are obvious reasons as to why Leeds have approached us."

It is understood York's intermediates will play their games at the club's Wigginton road training complex but the reserve team will continue to play their fixtures at Bootham Crescent.

The Leeds link-up means some of the Premiership's top talent could be on dis-play at Bootham Crescent over the coming months.

Midfield maverick Paul Gascoigne could well be one of the biggest names when his new club, Everton, take on Leeds on September 12.

Liverpool's reserves follow their city neighbours to York on October 17 with the likelihood of at least one of their three England strikers - Robbie Fowler, Emile Heskey and Michael Owen - making an appearance.

Perhaps the biggest game will be on March 20 when Manchester United tackle Leeds in a game that always at-tracts a healthy crowd for a reserve fixture.

Former York City starlet Jonathan Greening could make his first appearance in a competitive match at Bootham Cres-cent since his switch to Old Trafford in March 1998.

According to a Leeds United spokesman, manager David O'Leary is said to be de-lighted with the new arrangement.

"It will protect the new playing surface at Elland Road and allow his players to play competitive football on another excep-tional playing surface at the home of a well managed and professional Football League Club," he said.

All games at Bootham Crescent will, subject to change, kick-off at 7pm on Tuesday evenings.

Leeds United FA Premier Reserve League North provisional fixtures at Bootham Crescent 2000/01:

August 22, v Blackburn Rovers

September 12, v Everton

October 17, v Liverpool

November 14, v Bradford City

December 5, v Aston Villa

January 23, v Middlesbrough

February 13, v Manchester City

March 13, v Newcastle United

March 20, v Manchester United

April 17, v Sheffield Wednesday

May 8, v Sunderland