Knights excited for Championship challenge
Published: 16 November, 2018 - 5:00 pm
As pre-season training once again begins in earnest, York City Knights are brimming with confidence and looking to establish themselves as one of the Betfred Championship’s top clubs.
“I’m very excited for the future of this club.” Knights Chairman Jon Flatman said: “2019 will see us compete with traditional worldwide renowned Rugby League clubs who are visiting our great city to take on our club.”
The level of competition has been raised dramatically and Knights fans can start to get excited about the prospect of witnessing high quality action week in week out, when the 2019 fixtures are officially released on Sunday 25th November.
Flatman added: “Toronto Wolfpack’s second visit to York will bring back memories of our 2017 victory over their high quality playing roster – the first club to do so in league competition. Widnes as a 2018 Super League club will bring a passionate following and a team packed full of stars with points to prove. Bradford, as former World Club Champions and more recently great rivals of ours will always prove a tough test.
“Attendances will rise and we must enjoy the experience. Every game will be at a level of excitement greater than the previous year.”
As well as preparing for a tougher league program, the Knights also look forward to competing for more silverware in 2019:
“The introduction of the 1895 Cup is fantastic. It gives clubs like us a very realistic chance of taking part in a wonderful showpiece event on the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium, and could act as a possible springboard to further success.”
With Knights Head Coach James Ford moulding a squad capable of competing at the top end of the Championship, home form will undoubtedly prove vital to our prospects. And with building schedule all on track at the brand new Community Stadium in Huntington, Flatman and his dedicated off field team of staff and volunteers are readying themselves for a once in a lifetime opportunity to move into a new home fit for the 21st century:
“By the time the season starts we’ll have been almost 12 months unbeaten in the league at Bootham Crescent. It’s a place where we enjoy playing and the ground suits us.
“By July, we will be in our new home of the Community Stadium where facilities for players and supporters are first class.”
With the fantastic training and soon admin (the Knights move into brand new purpose built office space early 2019) facilities afforded to us on the sports campus at our partners York St John University, the club will have the best tools possible at its disposal to challenge at the top, and open vital new player pathways for the best local talent to represent their home city.
“The level of support from the public, private and individuals has been unbelievable, and we owe it to them to deliver a brilliant experience for all those that have committed to the future of our club.”
Its not just the mens team that are aiming high in 2019 either – York City Knights Ladies are already back in pre-season training and readying themselves to continue their rapid progression in the Ladies Super League, which looks set to expand after a successful maiden season.
The Ladies went through a baptism of fire in the inaugural Super League season. York fielded more than 30 players and everyone who pulled the shirt on has been brilliant:
“There has been clear improvement and something to build on and the whole club is looking forward to next year. They know where they need to be and where they have to push on, and as a club we are looking forward to the challenge.
The hard work will continue in the community too, as the Knights Foundation look to build on a wonderful year in 2018, culminating in recognition at the RFL annual awards dinner in Manchester at the end of September:
“Community activity has reached a new level of engagement and the York City Knights Foundation have worked incredibly hard to build positive lifelong experiences for people of all ages – from health & wellbeing lessons in local primary schools, to talent identification & development in the EXCEL programme, and tackling isolation & loneliness in the senior community with our hugely popular monthly fish & chip Friday event, run in conjunction with our partners Millers of Haxby.”
And a little further down the line, the Knights are optimistic about their bid to become a host city for the upcoming 2021 Rugby League World Cup:
“The world cup in England in 2021 is an opportunity for the city. The community stadium was built to host events like this, so it will be a very positive thing for the city to have.
“The rugby league authorities are looking for it to be an exciting world cup and for cities to go above and beyond to put on a really good show and we are considering how we will do that. Plans are already in motion and I’m excited to announce further details in due course.”
While some may already think of York City Knights as a success, everyone connected with the Knights are well aware that for this club, we are only just getting started:
“We are on a journey and will continually strive hard to improve all areas of the organisation. We are positive but not unrealistic about where we are at and where we can get to.
“We want to grow this club and continue to build upon the RFL Club of the Year and Foundation of the Year awards received in 2018, and ensure that 2019 is even more memorable.”