Damp and foggy, just one of those days that gets you wet if you stay out long enough. We had a late kick-off, selected for live TV so that the nation could witness the excitement of a Yorkshire derby. We’d meticulously planned an opportunity to watch the first half of another local game then head to the ground in time for kick off. It wasn’t that we were intentionally looking for another game of football, we were just conscious of the location of York City’s new stadium and distance from the nearest chippy. Just before 1.00pm we were off on our 57-mile journey east, with a slight detour to Selby Town. Situated just 19 miles south of York, Selby Town was perhaps the closest place to York City’s new ground to get a tray of chips.
“We’re not doing chips today,” said the authoritative lady in the tea hut. Within moments a club official asked the same question and got the same direct answer too. “Just burgers, a single or a double, it’s up to you, but we’re not doing chips.” It sounded very much like they sold chips usually, but today of all days it was a resounding no with no chance of an appeal. It was one of those moments when I could feel the glare of the usual suspects burning into my back. It was my suggestion to visit Selby, they’d paid admission to the game on the promise of chips, there were no chips, their notebooks were out.
As half time approached, we were off. It had been an entertaining first half at Selby Town, the away side had gone 2-0 up, the home team had a penalty saved by the Athersley Rec goalkeeper, and then Selby scored to make it 2-1. It was all action, with more goals likely in the second half. Admission for four of us was just £20 in total, Tesco Pete tried the double burger, whilst the Ripponen Shaymen had a single. Luckily, nobody mentioned the lack of chips to me again, well not for the first two minutes of our journey onwards any way.
York City’s ground sits in the middle of a retail park with a giant car park that serves as a park and ride into the city centre. There’s a cinema, bowling alley, indoor golf, supermarket, and various other posh shops. The surrounding area is made up of farms for as far as the eye can see. It’s close to the ring road but miles from any residential areas. The polar opposite of their old ground at Bootham Crescent.
The ‘617’ travelling Shaymen were allocated part of the West stand, alongside the pitch up to halfway. The colourful seats were laid out in an unusual format, some of the gangways ran from the top row of seats to the bottom, whilst others just ran halfway up the stand. This meant that many of the fans accessed their seats by having to climb over other rows. Perhaps the format is fine on a Wednesday afternoon with three people in the ground but nearing kick-off with hundreds of people accessing the steps at the same time as each other, it’s impossible to turn around and go back down to a different gangway. Still, it provided reasonable entertainment watching those who had spent the afternoon at the local hostelries in the city centre, one or two fell at the first hurdle, as they say.
The first half was even with neither goalkeeper having much to do, and the biggest concern being the lack of half-time pies. With fans stood in every stairwell, space was at a premium and sitting down to watch the game was impossible for most of the fans. A rumour went round just after the 30-minute mark that the pies had sold out, perhaps the beer was running short too. The seat scrambling started again. It was goalless at half time and indeed pie less. “It’s a good job we had Chips at Selby,” said Tesco Pete with a grin.
The second half started with bang, a top-quality goal for the Shaymen. The atmosphere was already bouncing in the away end, but the goal took it to another level. The drum bashed a decent beat and the team looked in control, it was a great half of high intensity noise and football. A late equaliser for York seemed undeserved, our team had played well, entertained us, and looked good for the fifth league win on the bounce, but it wasn’t to be. The team were applauded off for their efforts, another good point away from home.
Next up and we’re off back down south for a visit to Maidenhead. Can’t wait, c’mon Shaymen!
Miles on the road 2272, Goals on the road 11.
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