FORMER Bootham Crescent boss John Ward has revealed that his current club Walsall would be happy to help his old employers maximise their move to Monks Cross.

Diggers are due to start work on the new community stadium next month in preparation for relocation at the start of the 2019/20 season.

Walsall, meanwhile, have been in their Bescott Stadium since 1990 after leaving Fellows Park – their home for the previous 94 years.

Since then, the Saddlers have staged England under-21 and senior women’s internationals and, just two years ago, hosted an Elton John contest.

Two large conference suites are also regularly used to accommodate a variety of events and the new stadium has played its part in the Midlands club – historic adversaries of the Minstermen – enjoying spells in the Championship.

Ward, 66, is now a professional development coach at Walsall and led the reserves to a 7-1 victory over the Minstermen this week.

Formerly an assistant to Graham Taylor at Watford and Aston Villa, Ward was in charge of the City team that would go on to clinch promotion to the third tier at Wembley in the 1993 play-off final against Crewe under Alan Little following his departure for Bristol Rovers in March and, on the possibility of offering a helping hand, he said: “There’s a huge surface area in the stand behind one of the goals here at Walsall and there were more than 350 people that filled it recently to listen to a talk by John Motson.

“That will have brought quite a lot of money into the club and that sort of thing off the pitch is very important to keep the football side going. Walsall have been doing that a long time and have got that type of thing absolutely spot on and I’m pretty sure, if York City wanted to speak to what is a similar-sized club about maximising a new stadium’s potential, we are a club that is happy to share our experiences.”

Whilst admitting it is difficult seeing his old team plying their trade in the regionalised realms of National League North football now, Ward went on to praise the club’s hierarchy for continuing to operate as professionally as possible by running a reserve team and a full-time academy.

“It’s really important and I hope the club can stay patient with that structure, because it’s easy to say there’s no money and that’s a big point that I get,” Ward reasoned. “It’s disappointing to see the club where they are, but I’ve seen what’s been achieved at another one of my old teams Lincoln after they dropped out of the League and York have to try and emulate them.”

Ward also believes that in youth-team chief Steve Torpey – his coaching counterpart in midweek who he once bought for £400,000 as Bristol City boss – the Minstermen have the right type of man to help the club move forward.

“For the reserve game, we were a bit older than York, because our manager wanted some of the first-team players to get minutes,” Ward pointed out. “Our attitude was still very good though and I’ve been where Steve has been before.

“Sometimes, you can think a result like that is the end of the world, but it can be a good experience if the players learn from it and, hopefully, that will be seen in York’s next reserve game. When I look back at the club, as I knew it, it was a super place to work where there was a small band of good hard-working people pulling together because they wanted the same thing.

“You need that to achieve things and people like Steve fall into that bracket. He did well for me as a striker at Bristol City and, with people like him about, you’ll always have a good chance to improve.”

Ward had a brief spell as caretaker chief at Walsall two years ago, but the man who has taken charge of City, Bristol Rovers twice, Bristol City, Wolves, Cheltenham, Carlisle and Colchester has ruled out a return to the first-team dugout despite still getting overtures from Football League chairmen.

“At my age, I’m trying to give something back,” he explained. “I’ve had a couple of chances to get back into management at Football League level, but that’s not for me now.

“I’ve done that and I don’t want the stress or strain now. I’ve been doing this at Walsall for three years and I thoroughly enjoy trying to get the boys contracts or moves.

“It has given me a new lease of life and you don’t get much back-chat either because they listen. Staying in football for all this time doesn’t come easy.

“I’ve had my ups and down, but three children have been raised and I’m still married to the same lady, so I’ve been lucky to get very good support from my family and they see more of me now I’m closer to home in Sutton Coldfield.”

Ward’s longevity in the game is a rarity but, reflecting on that achievement, he admitted his career in management could have ended less than a year after being brought to Bootham Crescent.

“We finished fourth-bottom in that first season and it was my first managerial job,” Ward recalled. “I’d run the London Marathon towards the end of the season to raise money for the club but, after it was over, there was a meeting called to decide whether I would be kept on.

“There was a realisation then for me that I had to get things right and we did that summer. We got off to a great start and that set us up.

“I learned a great deal at York and, if I had lost my job that summer, I’m sure I’d not be where I am now all these years later, so the club helped me make those first steps. It’s a club with potential, but I always remember driving into York for the first week or two and seeing all these buses full of yellow, blue and white scarves driving out of the city.

“They were going to watch Leeds and, while we had gates of around 1,300, they were getting 35,000. But we improved on that and kept some of those people within the York boundaries, so the club is capable of doing that.

“It’s just everybody wants an attractive product and that’s what the football people have to try and deliver.”

Back at Bootham, Hamza Bencherif and Adam Bartlett are the nearest challengers to Jon Parkin for The Press Player of the Month award for November.

Centre-back Bencherif won three points towards the contest as our man of the match during last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Kidderminster.

Bartlett, meanwhile, collected two points as The Press’ second-highest rated performer and a further two available to the player who received the most man-of-the-match votes from our Twitter poll.

Top scorer Parkin picked up the remaining point on offer as our third-highest rated player to stay two clear of the chasing pack.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Parkin 19, Law 13, Newton 11, Connolly 10, Parslow 10, Worsnop 10, Almond 9, Bencherif 9, Whittle 9, Heslop 6, Morgan-Smith 6, Moke 3, Rankine 3, Rowe 3, Bartlett 2, Ferguson 2, Smith 1.

The Press Player of the Month standings for November: Parkin 6, Bartlett 4, Bencherif 4, Parslow 3, Connolly 2, Rowe 2, Martin 1, Moke 1, Newton 1.

Goals: Parkin 14, Newton 4, Heslop 3, Morgan-Smith 3, Almond 2, Connolly 2, Parslow 2, Rankine 2, Felix 1, Ferguson 1, Law 1, Own Goal 1, Rowe 1.

Assists: Almond 7, Newton 5, Parslow 5, Morgan-Smith 4, Martin 3, Parkin 3, Whittle 3, Connolly 2, Felix 1, Heslop 1, Moke 1, Peacock-Farrell 1, Worsnop 1.

Bad boys: Bencherif, Heslop both one red card, two yellow; Newton three yellow; Wharton, Worsnop both two yellow; Ferguson one red; Gray, Law, Rowe, Smith, Whittle all one yellow.