The new stadium would be built near Monks Cross and see the Park and Ride extended, a new Marks and Spencer and a park area built. The stadium would seat 6,000 spectators.
The problem that I have with this plan goes back to what a similar sized club did a good few years ago. Darlington moved from a town centre stadium and went some way outside of town. Now they are averaging sub 2,000 crowds and this lack of income has obviously impacted on the recent administrations the club has endured.
I’ve been to the Darlington Arena and very nice it is. One of the massive problems is getting there. If you aren’t local you can’t find the minimal buses to the ground and you get lost walking to the ground. It can’t be a coincidence that since the move further out of town the whole club has been in decline. Fans can find the simplest of excuses to stop going to watch their team and a couple of mile extra to walk just adds to them.
Taking York City out of the city centre would definitely reduce crowds. As soon as you make a simple, enjoyable afternoon out to watch football more complicated with a six mile commute on a bus the fans will drift away. If it’s queuing for a bus in the rain, or being stuck on a bus with the odd drunk fan they will find their reasons. When you go and watch Leeds you can get a bus to the ground. What a dreadful experience that is.
It’s guaranteed that there wont be sufficient parking on match day. The shopping centre and surrounding roads which struggle to cope with weekend traffic as it is will be gridlocked. It’s too far to walk from most places in York. The list of the problems from a fans point of view goes on. Shoppers will stay away from the area on match day as there will be too much traffic and lots of pedestrians.
York have been averaging less than 2,500 fans per home game for the last few years. That would leave the new stadium over half empty and devoid of any atmosphere. Yet another reason that puts fans off.
A team like York needs the income from its fans and despite what the advantages seem like in the short term any move which could to alienate fans is a bad one. Once the fans have gone they are doubly hard to get back. It’s a gamble. I hope that it doesn’t result on the administration of yet another lower league club in the coming years.