RUFC - Goodbye Don Valley?
Rotherham United fans breathed a sigh of relief on 5th May last year when they said goodbye to the Don Valley Stadium and looked forward to moving into their new stadium back home in town.
The Don Valley Stadium had been the Millers home since August 2008 when they had to find somewhere to 'lodge' for four years while their new ground was sought, bought and built. It wasn't a totally new concept that the stadium was to be used for football with the Millers Reserves having played there in the past - so we probably shouldn't have been surprised at the way things turned out.
I think we were probably all expecting too much from the athletics venue and the excitement of moving somewhere new didn't last much past the friendly games and by the time the season started the problems had already been discovered. It was a soulless place to watch football in. And it was cold - boy was it cold - even in summer inside the stadium was degrees colder than the car park.
But, after the initial grumblings and groans and moans we shrugged and put up with it. In fact I think we were just getting used to it and the grounds man was just getting the pitch to something looking like a football pitch when U2 played a concert there in August 2009. Our game against Rochdale was put back a day to the Sunday and when we all arrived inside the stadium we all just stood and gawked as a two-toned pitch met us. Where the stage had been on the Thursday the grass was completely dead. And, I don't really think it ever recovered. I often think of that day when I walk into the New York Stadium and send a 'thank you' to our Chairman Tony Stewart for our new home.
Now we hear that Don Valley is going to be flattened and I can't help but wonder why. Yes, I know it's down to money as Sheffield City Council have to find savings of around £50m to meet Government budget cuts but what happened to using it as a music venue?
On Vital Rotherham we had a front page Poll asking people for their thoughts - here is what we got back. We asked -
How do you feel with the news that Don Valley is to be knocked down?
And these are the answers we got back ….
I don't feel anything 55%
A bit sad, after all it was our home for four year 25%
Pleased that I don't have to go ever again 20%
The Stadium, was originally built for the World Student Games in 1991 - and I for one can remember the chaos it caused in Sheffield while it was being built - and it's actually the country's largest athletics venue after London's Olympic Stadium. It's also become quite famous over the last year as it's the place where Britain`s Olympic gold medal winning star Jessica Ennis was discovered, which makes it seem a really strange decision to be thinking of knocking it down after Jess became a famous face throughout Britain last summer.
Don Valley has become part of Sheffield's history - and Rotherham United's history - and it seems such a shame that Sheffield Council are thinking of getting the bulldozers in instead of thinking of ways to use the old girl.
Although, I can't pretend that I'd like to go back to watch football there! What about you?
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