York City Knights

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For the original club founded in 1868 and dissolved in 2002, see York Wasps.
York City Knights
York City Knights.png
Full name York City Knights Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) Knights, City Knights
Founded 2002
Location York, North Yorkshire
Ground(s) Bootham Crescent
Elm Park Way, 2015
Huntington Stadium, 2003-14
Chairman John Guildford
Coach(es) James Ford
Captain(s) Ryan Mallinder
League(s) League 1
2015 4th
1st kit
2nd kit
Largest win
132-0 v Northumbria University, 6th March 2011
Largest defeat
92-8 v Catalans Dragons, 12th May 2013
Official website

York City Knights RLFC is an English professional rugby league club based in York. In the 2015 season they will play in the Kingstone Press League One. The Knights became homeless at the end of the 2014 season and played games in 2015 at Clifton Park and Post Office Road, before settling at Elm Park Way, shared with Heworth ARLFC. For the 2016 season, the team will share Bootham Crescent with York City F.C..[1]


The Start[edit]

On 19 March 2002, after completing 11 games,[2] York Wasps announced that they had folded. After a last-ditch take-over deal to save the Wasps collapses, the RFL accept the club's resignation on 26 March.[3] A supporters' trust working party was formed on 27 March and applied to the RFL to continue the 2002 Northern Ford Premiership fixtures. After hearing it would be impossible to meet requirements to return that season, on 5 May fans backed new proposals for a new club to apply for admittance to the league for 2003.

The RFL accepted York's bid to play in the newly formed National League Two on condition that they had £75,000 in the bank by 31 August. The new club decided that the best way to raise cash was through a fans' membership scheme. Former Great Britain star Paul Broadbent was revealed as player-coach. With the total standing at £70,000, John Smith's brewery came in with £5,000 as the club hit the target just hours before the deadline.

The full name of the new club was revealed to be York City Knights RLFC, following a competition in the Evening Press. Club bosses, in the following month of October, also let the public design a club logo which was based on the New South Wales Rugby League Team's logo, while they picked new colours of blue and white – a move away from York RL's traditional amber and black. John Guildford, majority shareholder of York building firm Guildford Construction, was revealed to be the majority shareholder. They were to play at Huntington Stadium, where the previous incarnation of York RL played.

2003-2005, National League 2[edit]

The Knights played their first game at home against Hull KR in the National League Cup on 19 January with a bumper crowd of 3,105. In their first year, the Knights finished fourth with 11 wins, a draw and 6 losses. They made the National League Two play-offs but lost 50-30 to Barrow Raiders. Paul Broadbent resigned as coach at the end of the season.

Richard Agar was appointed head coach[4] for the following year. They made it all the way to the Challenge Cup Quarter Final losing 50-12 to Huddersfield Giants.[5] York also made the semi finals of the Championship Cup losing 32-0 to Hull Kingston Rovers. After finishing 2nd in the league and three points behind Barrow Raiders, the Knights entered the play offs. They lost 37-20 in the qualifying semi final to Halifax and then beat Workington Town 70-10. Mark Cain broke the record for most tries in a match and the score was the highest points tally since the Knights were born. They were narrowly beaten in the play-off final by Halifax 34-30 at the Halton Stadium in Widnes. Agar left York to join Hull as an assistant coach.[6]

York appointed Mick Cook as their new head coach in 2005 as part of a partnership with Super League club Leeds Rhinos.[7] Cook's side made it to the 5th Round of the Challenge Cup losing 62-0 to St. Helens 62-0 at Knowsley Road. At the end of the league season they were champions by three points and were promoted automatically to National League One for the first time. They were now only one tier away from Super League. They had the highest crowd average for National League One teams, of 1,986. Yorks's game against Hunslet on 25 May 2005 drew a crowd of 3,224 which at the time was a record for National League One.

2006, National League 1[edit]

York kicked off their first season in Rugby League's second tier losing 25-18 away at Widnes Vikings. They lost their first seven games before finally beating Oldham 62-0 and then again the 15 days later 54-10. Despite a good late run of form including wins over Whitehaven, Doncaster and Rochdale Hornets, York were relegated back to National League Two at the end of the season culminating in a 60-16 defeat to Leigh Centurions at Hilton Park. York finished second bottom, above Oldham with five wins and thirteen defeats, three points below Doncaster for safety. They did however, win the Fairfax Cup, after beating Batley 14–10 in their first appearance in the York International 9s.

2007-2010, National League 2/Championship 1[edit]

2007 was a poor season for the City Knights finishing sixth in the league with ten wins and twelve losses. There was also a record defeat for York City Knights in the Challenge Cup 5th Round losing 74-4 to Huddersfield Giants,[8] Chris Spurr getting York's sole try. Mick Cook quit as coach at the end of the season to run his business and Paul March was appointed player-coach on a one-year rolling contract in September 2007.

He took York to sixth place again with eleven wins and ten losses. Even though there were three promotion places available (two automatic, one via the play offs), the Knights failed to capitalise and lost in the play offs to Rochdale Hornets 12-28. Gateshead Thunder and Barrow Raiders went up automatically, Doncaster went up via the play offs.

2009 saw the Knights start positively and looked like they could challenge for the title. After the Sky Sports game at home to Oldham, March was sacked in due to disciplinary matters and then director of rugby James Ratcliffe took over.[9] The Knights finished third but eventually lost in the play offs in the semi final to Oldham 44-14.

Chris Thorman arrived at the club in 2010 as assistant to Ratcliffe but saw himself become acting head coach while Ratcliffe was suspended. The Knights claimed one of their biggest scalps when they defeated Leigh Centurions, who were in the division above, 13-12 in the Northern Rail Cup group stages thanks to a late Thorman drop goal. Ratcliffe returned for the away game at Doncaster and Dave Woods arrived at York as director of rugby in April 2010. Five games later, Ratcliffe was sacked after a 30-36 defeat to Swinton Lions and Woods was named as head coach. York were fifth in Championship 1 at the time after seven wins and six losses in the league. Woods' first game was a 60–12 victory over Gateshead and finished third in the table and thus qualified for the play-offs.[10] After losing to Oldham, York then beat Blackpool Panthers in the semi final where they'd face Oldham in the final. On 26 September 2010, the Knights won the Co-operative Championship 1 play-off Grand Final to earn promotion to the Championship. They beat Oldham 25–6 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington. The Knights had finished the regular season 13 points behind their final opponents.[11]

2011-2013 Championship[edit]

York finished third-bottom of the Championship in 2011, but bottom club Toulouse were exempt from relegation so, with two going down, the Knights faced demotion along with Dewsbury Rams – until the RFL decided not to admit Crusaders into this division following their withdrawal from Super League, thus earning York a reprieve. Dewsbury were also saved after Barrow Raiders received a points dedcution meaning the Knights finished fourth bottom. Just six days later Dave Woods was sacked by the club.[12]

In 2012, there were no relegation spots available and thus, York decided against strengthening their squad. Chris Thorman was appointed head coach and former Leeds Rhinos full back Jordan Tansey signed for the club on a one year deal.[13] York won one league game all season beating Swinton Lions 26-22. Thus York finished bottom of the pile. Chris Thorman announced he would be joining the coaching staff at Huddersfield Giants at the end of the season. He was to be replaced by Gary Thornton who was appointed head coach in 2012 .[14]

2013 started off well for the City Knights and looked to be challenging for the play offs. A run of eleven straight losses at the end of the season and failure to win away in the league since June 2011 saw them relegated back to Rugby Leagues basement tier. They made the 5th round of the Challenge Cup losing 92-8 away at Catalans Dragons. The Knights finished the season seven points from safety with six wins and twenty losses.

2014-Present, Championship 1[edit]

York City Knights are currently playing in Championship 1, as they finished bottom of the Championship in the 2013 season. Famous wins in 2014 came against Hunslet whom they beat three time, 28-26 away in March, 40-0 at home in May and won the league at the South Leeds Stadium after the comeback was sealed thanks to a Colton Roche Try meaning the Knights won 20-18. They also beat Oldham 54-14 at home. York City Knights topped Championship 1 but lost in the end of season play offs to Hunslet, thus failing to secure promotion back the Championship.

Gary Thornton was sacked and was replaced by James Ford for the start of the 2015 season where the Knights are now homeless after John Guildford failed to sign up for the Community Stadium deal. John Guildford has stepped down as Chairman[15] and appointed four directors,[16] Stephen Knowles, Dave Baldwin, Neil Jennings and Gary Dickenson, the latter has since stepped down.

On 18 June 2015, York City Knights reserves were kicked out of the reserve league and banned from entering the 2016 competition. The first team still remain homeless.[17]

At the end of the 2015 season, York City Knights finished Fourth in League 1 and qualified for the play offs. They lost out to Swinton Lions 17-16 on the Golden Point[18] They were also knocked out in the League 1 Cup second round by Newcastle Thunder.[19] They reached the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, losing to St. Helens 46-6.[20]


Recent coaching register[edit]

2016 squad[edit]

* Announced on 28 December 2015:

2016 Squad Numbers

No Player Position Former club
1 Richard Wilkinson Full Back, Half Back Doncaster RLFC
2 Nev Morrison Wing, Centre Doncaster RLFC
3 James Morland Centre York City Knights
4 Brad Hey Centre, Second Row Batley Bulldogs
5 Austin Buchanan Wing Dewsbury Rams
6 Jonny Presley Stand Off Blackpool Panthers
7 Danny Nicklas Scrum Half Doncaster RLFC
8 Brett Waller Prop Doncaster RLFC
9 Harry Carter Hooker York City Knights
10 Jack Aldous Prop Hull FC
11 Josh Tonks Second Row, Prop Dewsbury Rams
12 Ed Smith Second Row York Acorn
13 Mike Emmitt Loose Forward, Hooker Doncaster RLFC
14 Kris Brining Hooker York City Knights
15 Mark Applegarth Prop, Utility Batley Bulldogs
16 Ryan Mallinder (C) Second Row Sharlston Rovers
17 Russ Spiers Prop, Utility Doncaster RLFC
18 Brad Nicholson Second Row, Prop Featherstone Rovers
19 Brett Turner Full Back Doncaster RLFC
21 Brad England Centre Salford Red Devils
22 Tyler Craig Centre, Second Row Hull Kingston Rovers
23 Ben Dent Wing New Earswick All Blacks
24 Adam Dent Utility Back York City Knights
25 Pat Smith Half Back Gloucestershire All Golds
26 Mick Learmonth Centre Huddersfield Giants
27 James Haynes Full Back, Wing Gateshead Thunder
28 Jack Anderson Loose Forward, Stand Off Australia

2016 transfers[edit]


Player Club Contract length Date
England Mike Emmitt Doncaster RLFC 1 Year September 2015
England Brett Waller Doncaster RLFC 1 Year September 2015
England Austin Buchanan Dewsbury Rams 1 Year October 2015
England Richard Wilkinson Doncaster RLFC 1 Year October 2015
England Russ Spiers Doncaster RLFC 1 Year October 2015
England Brett Turner West Hull 1 Year October 2015
England Mick Learmonth Huddersfield Giants 1 Year October 2015
England Brad England Salford Red Devils 1 Year October 2015
England Danny Nicklas Doncaster RLFC 1 Year December 2015
England Brad Hay Batley Bulldogs 1 Year December 2015
England Jack Anderson Australia 1 Month Trial December 2015


Player Club Contract length Date
England Jamel Chisholm Oldham Roughyeds 1 Year September 2015
England Jordan Howden Doncaster RLFC 1 Year September 2015
England Austin Bell Hunslet Hawks 1 Year October 2015
England Jack Pickles Hunslet Hawks 1 Year October 2015
England Jay Leary Hunslet Hawks 1 Year October 2015
England Colton Roche Featherstone Rovers 2 Years October 2015
England Greg Minikin Castleford Tigers 2 Years October 2015
England Jack Blagbrough Sheffield Eagles Loan Return November 2015
England Casey Canterbury Oxford RLFC 1 Year November 2015
England Jordan Grayston Released
England Liam Cunningham Released

Notable players[edit]

Players earning international caps while at York[edit]


* Match records Goals: 20 by Chris Thorman at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011

Tries: 6 by Jonny Presley at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011

Points: 56 by Chris Thorman at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 – 4 tries and 20 goals

* Season records

Goals: 178 (174 goals and 4 drop goals) by Danny Brough, 2004

Tries: 25 by Peter Fox, 2005

Points: 412 by Danny Brough, 2004

*Consecutive Try Scoring Run:

Jack Lee - 10[21]

* Highest score for

132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011

* Biggest win

132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011

* Highest score against

92-8 at Catalans Dragons, Challenge Cup, 12 May 2013

* Biggest defeat

92-8 at Catalans Dragons, Challenge Cup, 12 May 2013

* Highest home attendances Huntington Stadium: 3,224 v Hunslet, NL2, 22 May 2005 3,106 v Oldham, CC1, 25 June 2009 3,105 v Hull KR, ATC, 19 January 2003 Other: 3,509 v Leeds, Friendly, 3 January 2005 (at Bootham Crescent)


  1. ^ The Press, 29 August 2015
  2. ^ "York wiped from record books". BBC Sport. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "York Wasps fold". BBC Sport. 26 March 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "King Richard". The York Press. 20 September 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/archive/2004/03/29/7889962.Giants_50__Knights_12/?ref=arc
  6. ^ "Agar set for Hull role". BBC Sport. 13 September 2004. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Knights appoint Cook". Daily Mail (London). 29 September 2004. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/matchreports/1301246.Huddersfield_74__Knights_4/?ref=arc
  9. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/display.var.1714908.0..php
  10. ^ "Dave Woods' reign of Knights". The York Press. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Oldham Roughyeds 4-25 York City Knights". BBC Sport. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Chris Thorman takes over as Knights sack coach Dave Woods". The Northern Echo. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  13. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/16449700
  14. ^ "York City Knights appoint Gary Thornton as coach". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  15. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11878116.KNIGHTS_STADIUM_ROW__John_Guildford_steps_down_as_York_City_Knights_chairman/
  16. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11759769.York_City_Knights_appoint_four_new_directors___John_Guildford_remains_as_chairman_but_gives_up_role_in_stadium_talks/?ref=mr
  17. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/13340723.UPDATED__York_City_Knights_reserve_side_expelled_by_Rugby_Football_League/
  18. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/matchreports/13787219.MATCH_REPORT__Agony_as_golden_point_drop_goal_sends_York_City_Knights_out_of_the_play_offs___after_they_were_12_seconds_from_victory/
  19. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/matchreports/11858763.York_City_Knights_24__Newcastle_Thunder_38/
  20. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/matchreports/12954382.Battling_York_City_Knights_put_up_a_fight_against_Super_League_champions_St_Helens/
  21. ^ http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/yorkcityknights/diary/11429433.Phenomenal_Lee_to_sheer_power_of_TEN/?ref=rss

External links[edit]