I recently had some time to kill in Sheffield and decided to drive to Rothetham. When you travel through the road system in Rotherham centre you drive along Centenary Way over the river Don bridge and your eye is immediately drawn to the Millers home, The New York Stadium which dominates the view as much for its modernism and brightness in an industrial landscape that has served the employment prospects of locals for a long time. New York because of the area’s name not because it is homage to a far larger Trans Atlantic metropolis. This is one of the new concrete homes to many football clubs that are slowly replacing outdated stadia originally implemented with the rightfull move to safety and more or all seater grounds. In my view Rotherham is one of the most successfulI Community Stadia, I always feel at home there and get a good view and feel for the game. Yes we have lost some of the history and the atmosphere but when we look back was steep terracing, tobacco smoke and urine where we want to be.
Rotherham though stands out for another reason in that if you look left insteasd you see another football Stadium, Millmoor, the home to Rotherham United FC until 2008 when the new owners of the club fell out with Ken Booth of C F Booth the owners of Millmoor. The Millers then became nomads before they moved into the New York Stadium in 2012 playing for a time at the now also defunct Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. At least the Don Valley Stadium and surrounding area have become a Millenium Park with Hallam Universities nationally renouned sports science facility, an ice rink, school and soon to be the new home of Sheffield Eagles Rugby League club a very fitting replacement for the previous sports facilities.
Millmoor was used by a youth team playing Sunday football for a time but now sits an eerie empty place with the new main stand never completed. The grass looked cut and very green from a distance but the advertised redevelopment seems stalled. Millmoor was an Athletics Stadium and I believe I have read that there is a long standing covenant on the ground that prevents it from being anything else for some time to come.
My last recollection of Millmoor was with my son when we stopped on the way back from a Harrogate show to see their last match of the season in 1990. Although we stood out of the way of the bulk of fans their exhuberance or end of season fun almost knockef us over. I also remember the disgusting toilets that you had to toptoe around in or wade through the liquid on the floor.
The old ground is now well protected by razor wire, a dense undergrowth in places and a security company whose van was parked within the confines. Very sad to see but the progress that has been made at the new ground was worth it. Walking down one side of the old ground you can smell that oilly metal smell of engineering and you can hear the sound of scrap metal being processed.
An interesting two hours to see this odesey of the old v new that seems will not be resolved or removed any time soon.