York City Knights Chairman Jon Flatman believes the Knights have “something special” with their new stadium, with the ground providing them with the foundation to further grow and expand.
York played their first-ever match at the LNER Community Stadium, which opened last month, on Thursday in a pre-season game against Hull FC.
The Super League side ran out 28-22 winners, but it remained a special occasion for the Knights, who have waited many years to finally move into their new home.
“It’s a momentous night,” Flatman said.
“This stadium project has had some ups and downs. I’ve only been involved for four years. You take the highs and the lows, you take a few on the chin and that’s what happens.
“But you’ve got to come back fighting and the reason you do is for nights like this, where you get the opening of the stadium. Fingers crossed, we’re going in the right place. It looks absolutely sensational.
“It’s eight and a half thousand, you get a good seat with a good view no matter where you are. There’s not one obstructed view.
Access is easy, parking is close by, it’s next to a cinema, a bowling alley, an M&S and as many restaurants as you can imagine. So there’s lots to do, you can spend the day here. You can imagine it becoming part of an event.”
York will share the LNER Community stadium with National League North soccer club York City FC.
The ground will host eight women’s games in the 2021 World Cup, as well as being the training base for the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams, and the Australian, French and Cook Islands women’s side.
Flatman says the stadium will help attract new fans and sponsors, and increase the club’s revenues.
“It’s important that the sport and the game fits into what the next generation wants,” he said.
“They want everything in one place, they want easy access and they want to park if they want or come on the bus. We’ve got something pretty special here but that’s the easy bit, in theory. The building it is the easy bit, the next bit is making the place sing.
“It’s a real simple circle here – the more revenue that comes in the more we can invest in the next generation of players.
“And if the results improve, more people are coming in and the commercial value goes up and that circle starts again. Undoubtedly James [Ford] has played a massive part in getting us to this point, because if the results hadn’t been as he’s delivered we wouldn’t have had the excitement that’s delivered the commercial revenue to take that step forward.
“I think we’ve come out of Covid as a bigger, better and stronger Rugby League club.”
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