There’s a special charm to an English Bank Holiday Monday; it was teeming with rain, the local chippy was closed, and the roads approaching the motorway were almost gridlocked. When we finally got on to the motorways, they were stop start all the way. Our 57-mile journey east was subdued too, our usual planned in-depth analysis of what went wrong in the last game had gone out the window, those pesky Shaymen had demolished Wrexham and left us with nothing to talk about. Delirious Tesco Pete was imagining the scenes, should we win 3-0. It must have been the lack of food that was affecting his train of thought.
Just after an hour we arrived at the wonderful Monk’s Cross shopping centre. The condensation on the inside of the back windows was quickly wiped away, with the Meerkats on the back seat on full alert, looking anxiously for any sign of take-away food. Carpets, sofas, cinemas, ten pin bowling, and a posh supermarket. All the things you associate with a great day out watching football. The local planning team had a real eye for synergy when they put the complex together.
York’s LNER stadium was opened in 2021 and replaced the charming Botham Crecent, the previous home of York City for 89 years. The LNER is constructed on the outskirts of the city and is served by a dedicated bus route from the city centre on match days. The stadium has a capacity of 8500 made up of four individual stands, each with a seat in red, yellow, blue, or white. It may look random but I’m sure some awarding winning designer has carefully placed each seat individually to give the impression of a football stand to the untrained eye.
The travelling Shaymen were allocated the North Stand behind one of the goals. On arrival, only half the stand was open. There are just seven rows of seats with little chance to elevation to see the pitch markings beyond halfway. The main stand holds the lion’s share of the capacity with executive boxes and media facilities. The vocal home support was located behind the other goal, a slightly bigger stand than the away end that hosts a variety of flags at the back including one dedicated to former Shayman David Longhurst. On the other side of the pitch is another stand, again with around seven rows of seats, which has disabled viewing facilities at the back but is only fully occupied on busy games.
The food inside the ground was interesting to say the least, they could not serve black tea or coffee for any price, it was only available with milk added. Tesco Pete’s burger sounded great for just £2.50, it wasn’t until he confirmed that was the monthly instalment for the next 18 months in the double discount sale that it seemed a tad expensive. Saying that, all hot food had sold out before kick-off as had the tickets for the away stand. Various familiar reprobates made their way into our end after being forced to buy home tickets and then transfer. Many of the 900 seats around us remained empty with the travelling support announced at around 650.
The first half was dominated by the Shaymen on a cold and wet afternoon with the floodlights on as the team attacked the far end of the ground. We occasionally got to see some of the action at our end, however Johnson had little to do generally. The Shaymen deservedly took the lead before the break, and the travelling fans with accompanying drum were soon singing the praises of the impressive Milli Alli.
The second half was calm and relaxed, the game seemed already won with York City looking well off the pace of the game. The Shaymen increased their lead with a well taken second goal, followed soon after by a third. The stewards at our end of the ground were running in all directions with so many travelling fans celebrating. The home fans were heading for the exits with around 20 minutes remaining.
Driving back, we reflected on a comprehensive win, backing up a tremendous couple of results last week. The team have once again done us proud with just one defeat in the last 10 games.
Next up and we’re back down South with a visit to Dagenham and Redbridge, the location of one of our best performances of last season. Can’t wait, C’mon Shaymen!
Miles on the road 8918, Goals on the road 24.
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