Now, here’s an away day that you could set your watch by; York City right up there as one of our best trips with the Boro’. That was, of course, until it all went tits up for the Minstermen. If relegation from the Football League was bad enough for them in 2004, worse was to follow when it happened again in 2016. As of summer 2022, they’d only just about made up some of that lost ground; winning the 2021-2 National League North playoff final against Chorley. How much of that was relief and how much of that was celebration?
The Minstermen would be the last side that we played as a non-league team; our last league game in our 2009-10 title-winning campaign. That’s not to say that was the end of the story. In 2014, the club did follow us; promoted themselves back to the Football League. Unlike their previous time in the top four divisions, however, this was a short stay. Holding out for two seasons, they went back down for another dose of non-league football. Any hopes of another League return were quickly dashed as a dismal 2016-7 campaign saw them head out of the Conference in the wrong direction.
York City: The Facts
LNER Community Stadium
Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross Drive, Huntington, York, YO32 9AF
The story of York City is one that technically goes back to 1908. An amateur club to start with, they joined the Northern League – but only for two seasons. To cut down on all that travelling, the club signed up to the Yorkshire Combination in 1910 and then the Midland League in 1912. After three seasons, the competition was suspended due to World War One. Before it could start back up again, however, the original club was forced under in 1917. It wouldn’t be until five years later that a new York City FC would be formed.
Like the original Minstermen, the Midland League started things off – but only after a bid to join the Football League from the off didn’t succeed. Seven seasons and not much to write home about from their time in the Midland League later, the club achieved League football; elected at the expense of Ashington. For the next 75 years, the club retained their League status – peaking in the 1993-4 campaign where they finished fifth in the second tier.
But, on the flip side, there were also seven separate times where York were forced to go through the process of re-election after finishing too close to the bottom of Division Four. The last of those times came in 1980-1, with the Minstermen ending the season a point adrift of Stockport County at the foot of the table. By being spared the boot, it meant that City could continue their run as a League club. If not, they might not have been given the chance to record a famous 3-0 win at Old Trafford in the 1995-6 League Cup. It was yet another addition to the list of Minstermen cup scalps that we don’t have time to go into.
Why do we know the Minstermen?
The next time York City finished bottom of the Football League, however, there would be no election process to save them. The 2003-4 season saw them again condemned to the foot of the Division Three table by a single point. It came after a run of 20 games without a league win. But the relegation trapdoor swung open this time; swallowing the Minstermen as Chester City and Shrewsbury Town went up. We, on the other hand, had ended seven points adrift of the playoffs in our 11th straight season in the Conference. We were ready and waiting for a brand new face to join us.
How to get to York City – Travel Information – Distance: 179 miles
York isn’t too hard to reach from Stevenage. It’s just worth knowing that your drive will take just over three hours. To start with, head north on the A1(M) and A1 all the way to Junction 44. That’s simple enough, right? Here, you’ll need to take the slip road that slings you onto the A64 and aim for Scarborough. If you reach the coast, however, you’ll be turning around as you’ve gone far too far.
After about 18 miles on the A64, you’ll come to a roundabout at the end of the southern York bypass. Get in one of the two left lanes to turn left here; joining the A1237. This leads onto another roundabout fairly quickly, with a filter lane for those continuing on the A1036. You’ll be one of these people. Head along here for around one mile to, yep, another roundabout. Here, you’ll take the fourth exit to almost double back on yourself past a retail park.
As you bear left around the bend with a big M&S to your left, another roundabout soon emerges. Here, take a left – the second exit to be sure – as if you’re heading for Aldi. Turn left at the Aldi and follow the road around to the right.
About 10 miles after leaving the A1, you’ll reach the edge of the city. Here, come off the A64 for the A1237 as if you’re aiming for Harrogate. Go along the A1237 until you reach the A19 junction. Turn right onto the A19 Shipton Road and head for the city centre.
When you reach the Burton Stone pub after two miles, turn left and you’ll see the ground.
OK, so there’s a retail park close to the ground and that should set alarm bells ringing. Park here and you could well fall foul of their restrictions. So, don’t. The info we’ve picked up from YCFC’s official site says to do this instead:
A Park and Ride site at Monks Cross has 400 spaces for football fans. But you’ll need to buy a ticket to park here in advance from the York City website. This ticket will be scanned when you arrive at the car park.
That’s actually it. Other car parks nearby are reserved for other people and other uses – like the leisure centre and cinema. So, you can’t park here either. Your options are, therefore, somewhat limited.
Services to: STEVENAGE
Sadly, moving from Bootham Crescent to an out-of-town stadium makes it harder to get there by public transport. The train to York is simple enough from Stevenage. But you’ll need the #12 bus to Monks Cross (or a taxi) to make that final part of the journey.
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