YORK City Knights chairman Jon Flatman has urged the naysayers of the new Community Stadium to “give it a chance” and stressed that the move will be financially beneficial to the club.

The building of the Stadium is due to be completed before the end of the year, with a practical completion phase, three test events and the acquirement of a stadium safety license all needing to be completed before either York City or the Knights can move into the ground.

The Knights’ first home Betfred Championship fixture is due to be against Bradford Bulls on Sunday, February 9.

And, while Flatman didn’t go as far as guaranteeing the fixture will be played at the Huntington-based ground, he said the move is “very, very close.”

Speaking at a fans forum held on Tuesday night, he said: “I understand a lot of the concerns that people have surrounding the new Stadium.

“The first thing to say is, give it a chance. Go and see the new ground and the facilities there.

“Right now, I’m not going to change my mind on it, so we’re best to get behind it and embrace it.

“I was fortunate to go there last week and parts of it are top draw. Of course, we’re going to miss Bootham.

“But, I hope that people can embrace the new ground. It’s an exciting time and we’ve got to grow in order to survive.

“Hopefully we can get behind it and you (the fans) can encourage other people to come along too.

“This last three years have been a great journey. This doesn’t need to stop now, it can keep on going. It needs everyone to continue to do what they’re doing.”

Asked specifically about the date of entry to the ground, Flatman replied: “The stadium is due to be completed at the end of the year and practical completion is due to occur in January.

“Practical completion is where Buckingham’s (contractor), in essence, hand the building over to the council. In order to play a competitive game, you need a stadium safety license.

“That license requires a huge amount of paperwork to be completed which is ongoing. It also requires three test events.

“There’s no exact formula to those test events, but they generally test the corporate facilities as well as an evacuation of the stadium, etc.

“Lots of people will ask me ‘when are you going in?’. The fact of it is that we’re going in the new stadium when we have a stadium safety license certificate.

“Those test events will determine have quickly we get that certificate. If all three test events go fantastically, then no problem.

“If there are snags on any of those, we’ll have to revisit it. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll need to do more than three test events, but it is a possibility.

“The exact answer for a date to move in, I’d love to know that more than anyone else so that we could plan. But, we are very very, close.”

The Knights chairman was also quick to point out to supporters that the revenue gained on matchdays should increase through more takings on food and drink, more parking facilities and more corporate hospitality seats.

Flatman also revealed that the club will use two of the four stands on a matchday, the main stand (which seats 3,500) and the stand to the left of the main stand (which seats 2,000).

“Currently, at Bootham (Crescent), we receive 0 per cent from any food and drink sold at the ground,” he added.

“When you put 4,000 people in there for a game against Bradford and they sell out of beer, five minutes into the game, you know they’ve sold a bit.

“At the new stadium, we see a sizeable percentage of the food and drink sales. I can’t say what that percentage is, but you’ll just have to trust me that it’s worth fighting over.

“That’s an upside of moving into the new stadium.

“In terms of the sponsorship boards, we keep 100 per cent of the revenue generated at the new Stadium.

“We also have the opportunity to host sponsors at the new stadium. Bootham has been a great home and it’s been a winning home for us - we mustn’t forget that - but it’s limited in terms of its corporate hospitality.

“There’s far more opportunity to do so in the new stadium and that’s a huge positive opportunity for us.

“Of course, the more spectators that we can bring into the new ground, both home and away, the more revenue the club receives.

“There are other upsides, which I definitely can’t discuss.

“From day one, I have asked the question if we can just have a user agreement as it would make my life a lot easier if it were to be an openly declared document.

“But, I can assure you that the club will be financially better off in the new stadium than it is now.

“Even if you add parking to that as well. If we can fill out 400 car parking spots at £5 per game for all 14 games, that’s £28,000 and that’s £28,000 that we don’t have now.

“That goes quite a long way in terms of our playing budget, if you want to equate into those terms.

“Like for like on the same crowds from Bootham to the new stadium, you are in a much, much stronger financial position in the new stadium.

“Until I can put out official documentation on that, you’re just going to have to trust me on that.”