Blue Square Bet Premier club York City will be forced to go part-time if the planning application for a new community stadium is rejected.
That is the stark reality facing Minstermen chiefs, who have outlined the “disastrous consequences” for the club should the scheme to build a 6,000-seater arena, and shopping park, at Monks Cross hit the buffers when it comes before City of York Council planning chiefs.
The Bootham Crescent board believe the club would subsequently be condemned to non-League football and would also mean the end of City’s youth scheme.
“The planning application that has been submitted this week is our last chance and only realistic opportunity of getting a community stadium for York,” said chairman Jason McGill.
“Without this stadium, the club could be homeless and we would certainly have to go part-time the season after next, which would be disastrous for the club and the ambitions of our supporters.”
City owe £2 million to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, which they borrowed in 2004 to buy back Bootham Crescent from its previous owners.
Earlier this month, The Press reported how that organisation agreed to extend the terms of the loan to the club, which was due to have been either converted into a grant towards York’s new home or repaid by September next year, because of the “commitment and significant progress” being made on the stadium project.
McGill has confirmed that, should the community stadium scheme fail, the only way this loan could be repaid is through the sale of Bootham Crescent. This would leave City homeless.
He added that being forced part-time would also have an enormous impact on attendances and on the commercial revenue the club could generate, and said it would be a “great shame” if York missed out on the opportunity to build “first class sporting and community facilities”.
“We would expect that going part time would hugely impact our support and would have a negative effect on sponsorship and our commercial income,” McGill confirmed.
“The club would change dramatically and our main concern would be where we would play. We would certainly have to abandon our youth policy and review our community activities.
“This is the reality of the situation if the community stadium does not go ahead. It would be a great shame if the City missed out on this once in a generation opportunity to have first class sporting and community facilities in York.
“The community stadium would undoubtedly safeguard our full-time professional status and would allow the club to grow and prosper.”
He added: “We must not forget it is the negative actions of others that have put us in this situation and we have been working hard since 2003 to try to secure a new stadium and a proper future for York City Football Club.
“We really need the support of the people of York to finally make this happen.”