Few Portsmouth tears shed as York City's Bootham Crescent disappears from the footballing map

Bootham Crescent, an eternal unhappy hunting ground for Pompey, is no more.
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The home of York City provided barely any redeeming memories for the Fratton faithful from the moment they first visited 46 years ago.

Least of all John Sullivan and Guy Whittingham.

In the Blues’ eight trips to the Minstermen, six ended in defeat, with another a goalless draw.

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Only a 4-1 triumph in December 1976 generated winning joy for those of Pompey persuasion in otherwise dismal fixtures.

Still, York’s home of 89 years is to be replaced by housing, with the club moving to a purpose-built 8,500 seater.

The LNER Community Stadium, which will be shared with rugby league side York City Knights, is to host football for the first time on January 30.

That curtain raiser will see National League North rivals Curzon Ashton represent the maiden guests to York’s new home.

John Sullivan endured a miserable afternoon at York in September 2013 - and Pompey also had many forgettable days at Bootham Crescent. Picture: Joe PeplerJohn Sullivan endured a miserable afternoon at York in September 2013 - and Pompey also had many forgettable days at Bootham Crescent. Picture: Joe Pepler
John Sullivan endured a miserable afternoon at York in September 2013 - and Pompey also had many forgettable days at Bootham Crescent. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Last Tuesday should have seen Fylde provide a Bootham Crescent farewell, yet the match was postponed following a coronavirus outbreak. Now it is closed forever.

Certainly few Pompey fans will be disappointed to hear of the demise of the ground which always ruined a trip to an impressive city.

The Blues’ last visit was in April 2016, when manager Paul Cook saw hopes of automatic promotion in his first season extinguished.

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York’s home of 89 years, Bootham Crescent, is to be replaced by housing, with the club moving to a purpose-built 8,500-seater stadium. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty ImagesYork’s home of 89 years, Bootham Crescent, is to be replaced by housing, with the club moving to a purpose-built 8,500-seater stadium. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images
York’s home of 89 years, Bootham Crescent, is to be replaced by housing, with the club moving to a purpose-built 8,500-seater stadium. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

His sixth-placed side suffered a 3-1 loss against the League Two strugglers – and from that point they were destined for the play-offs.

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York scored three goals in an 18-minute spell either side of half-time, while Adam Webster was substituted at the interval in favour of Adam Barton playing centre-half.

Gareth Evans netted the consolation in a rare highlight for the hosts, who would finish bottom of League Two and have remained in non-league ever since.

Pompey picked up their only draw at Bootham Crescent in October 2014, when they shared a goalless result.

Andy Awford’s side had Michael Drennan and Craig Westcarr up front as they drew a blank in consecutive games, following a goalless outcome at Hartlepool the previous weekend.

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Yet arguably September 2013 stands out among all Pompey’s visits to York’s home, certain in terms of the modern day.

With the Blues out of administration and under fan ownership, manager Whittingham had suffered a patchy start to life in League Two.

Bootham Crescent would yield a 4-2 loss – and effectively finish the Pompey career of keeper Sullivan.

The former Brighton man endured a torrid time, responsible for several of the games in an awful display, and never played for the club again.

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Among the wreckage was a magnificent Jed Wallace second-half goal, while young loanee John Marquis registered his first for the club.

That was Pompey’s first trip to the Minstermen in 33 years, having faced them five times in six seasons from September 1974.

And thankfully there will be no more excursions to Bootham Crescent.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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