JOHN STABLER has been made honorary club president of York City Knights

Stabler's involvement with the club began as a sponsor of York Rugby League with Stabler Linings in 1985 before joining the club's board of directors in 1991.

The club stalwart served for a spell as chairman before leaving the club in 1996.

In the early 2000s, Stabler returned to the helm at the then-Wasps in an attempt to rescue the club from financial difficulty, though the club folded in 2002 and were reborn as the Knights in 2003.

Stabler expressed his delight at the club's imminent stadium move.

“When Jon asked me if I would consider being club president, I was very proud and truly humbled," he said.

"It was a lovely moment for me and I had no hesitation in accepting.

“It is a real exciting time to be a supporter of York City Knights as the club gets ready to move into the new stadium.

"The landscape at Monks Cross now is completely different to when the club first moved there 30 years ago.

"Huntington is a fantastic part of the city to be based in and the modern facilities that the city have cried out for decades have been delivered.

"The club has a real platform for success now, both on and off the pitch.

“I can’t wait to see the club continue its rapid progression under Jon Flatman in the new stadium next year.

"It has been a long time coming!”

Stabler, 73, has been a keen sports fan his whole life and played cricket played for 29 seasons with York RI, Crossgates, Old Manor CC and Horbury Cricketers.

He is also the current chairman of Methley CC, as well as being a long-time season ticket holder at York City FC.

York City Knights chairman Jon Flatman praised the advice that Stabler has passed on to him since he took over the club in 2016.

“While we continue to prepare for an exciting future for the club, it is important to remember our heritage and the people who have helped us massively along the way," said Flatman.

“Mr Stabler has provided me with a wealth of invaluable guidance and assistance in the three years I have been a custodian for York.

"I am delighted that he has accepted the role as honorary club presidency.

“I look forward to welcoming John to the LNER Community Stadium next season as a friend of the club, when we embark on an exciting new era.”

Roland Davis, the former general manager and secretary of the club, has been a close personal friend of Stabler for over 40 years.

The pair worked together at York Rugby League throughout the 1990s.

Davis said: “In nearly 80 years of watching and 40 years of working in rugby league, I cannot think of a harder working person than John.

“Back in the 90s, he was down at the club every single weekend and on Tuesday’s he was there helping to sell tickets for the club lottery that we ran in conjunction with Scarborough Cricket Club.

"Running the rugby club was his passion - he never missed a first team or even an A team game - there weren’t many Directors that were involved in their clubs than John was.

"To him it was much more than a place to bring his wife and friends on a Sunday afternoon.

“He’s invested so much of his time and money in life into so many good clubs and projects - sometimes even his wife would have to tell him when enough was enough!

"You don’t do that if you don’t love sport. He was a breath of fresh air.”

“For a long time in the 90’s, without John there may not have been a York RL club at all.

"He didn’t have an army of brilliant volunteers to support him like the Knights are lucky to have today - which is wonderful to see.”

“He may not be able to dedicate as much time as he’d like to these days due to still running his textiles business, but he is still as enthusiastic as ever and will be a worthy club president.”

Gary Hall, a spokesperson for KSS, the Knights Supporters Society, was also pleased to see Stabler's commitment to the club rewarded by the new role.

Hall added: “John worked tirelessly for York Rugby League for many years and it is fantastic to see Jon Flatman and the Knights recognise that with this deserved honorary role.”

“I’m really pleased for John. He’s a really good guy with a heart the size of a melon.

"He came and shook my hand at the Championship play-off semi final against Featherstone and he was wearing the brightest amber jacket you have ever seen."