At the end of the previous page, after looking at the clearance work on the Duncombe Barracks site, I said we were on our way to the library next. But on the way, turning from Burton Stone Lane onto Grosvenor Road, we pass Bootham Crescent, and it’s not really possible to ignore the fact — though in many ways I’d like to — that clearance work has started here too in the last couple of weeks.
In late afternoon sunshine there’s still a certain charm to the familiar red-painted turnstiles. Some of them, and the nearby gates, have been boarded over quite a few times, attempts to keep out young intruders who kept finding ways in.
Since the sale of the ground was completed, and in preparation for the demolition, security guards have been on site. Presumably in connection with that, lights above the turnstile gates were on again in the evenings. Odd to see that again, reminding me of evening games, queues here, supporters passing and laughing, police vans parked.
I think – I hope – that we all understand the cultural significance of old traditional football grounds like this one. And also that for fans of this particular club, the end of this one has been poignant and painful.
An excellent piece by Tony Cole in the Guardian describes the importance of Bootham Crescent from a fan’s perspective.
Dear old place. It looks so humble, small, unassuming, this part of the Grosvenor Road end. Hard to imagine the tall townhouses that will in due course be built here.
Inside the ground, in recent days, machinery has been lifting the once carefully-tended turf, scooping it up. Turf and earth piled on what used to be the pitch. Green grass and yellow dandelions now in mounds of brown.
Outside, some distance above the ground, on the grey-brown wall of the Grosvenor Road end, a plant, a corydalis, green leaves and yellow flowers. Still surviving up there since arriving as a wind-blown seed some years ago. Below it, several clumps of its offspring.
For now, while the heavy plant machinery does its work inside, the little plant outside blooms on.
It may have time to set seed again before this wall comes down. So maybe some day, when this wall is gone, a crack in a pavement or a townhouse forecourt might give a new home to its cheery yellow and green.
But for now, by York City’s old home, I’m remembering the red and blue.
Goodbye Bootham Crescent, dear old neighbour.