New York Stadium
Rotherham United v Doncaster Rovers
Pre Season Friendly
Tuesday July 24th 2012, 7.45pm
I was particularly looking forward to this game not just because of the new ground but because of the whole symmetry of the fixture. I spent 8 years in the 80's & 90's working for the company on whose land the ground was built but had only visited Rotherham a couple of times in the intervening years. So , a chance to look at the town again and with the added attraction of a new ground and Donny playing.
Despite the ground being in the town it is an easy journey by car , bus and train sitting as it does just yards from the main avoiding road which in turn is no more than 3 miles from the MI " Sheffield Parkway " junction.The railway and bus stations are a 5 & 6 minute walk away respectively. Car parking however is a little more difficult, space outside the ground is very limited so I would suggest driving past the ground entrance and turning right at the T junction lights and following signs to the town car parks.
Being so centrally situated there are plenty of pubs and eateries. The two Wetherspoon pubs The Rhinoceros and The Bluecoat fit the bill nicely with the latter being the better of the two, slightly off the beaten track and quieter.
First impression of the ground coming from the town was disappointing. A new buiding fronts the main road and hides most of the stadium, on walking further it transpires that the original offices of my old company are still standing in a sorry and dilapidated state, they had been Grade 2 listed. Having said that and noted that there was still quite a bit of tidying to do around the edges the view of the stadium arriving from the opposite side would be magnificent.
Inside, the ground thankfully has a lot of character. The Main Stand which houses all the offices and private boxes is higher than the two similar sized stands behind the goal and in turn they are higher than the basic stand covering the far side of the pitch. As the guide says though what makes this stand so interesting are the two floodlights above it which, other than a few lights attached to the roof of the main stand, light the whole ground. Overall they balance the ground perfectly. The away end had large comfy seats plus the viewing and sight lines were excellent. The stewards were finding their way too but were friendly and helpful, the only downside was one small kiosk open to serve 1400+ visitors so I did not get near it. Having said that with Pukka Pies sponsoring one of the stands and with this being Rotherham expect tasty food at reasonable prices.
As for the game I am happy it was only a friendly. The Rovers are undergoing serious team re-building after last seasons relegation with players only joining after others have moved and funds have been freed.up. Consequently our back four was two full backs and two midfielders. We did however take a lead early in the second half but Rotherham came back with two goals to earn a deserved win and look as if they have a good season ahead.
The only similarity to Millmoor left is that visiting fans have to walk past the home fans end to get to and from their seats but there was no trouble and the Police had closed the main road to cars so we could disperse quickly.
Rotherham are and always will be our main rivals, both clubs have been through recent bad times and neither set of fans has cared about the others predicament .So through gritted teeth I would say that Rotherham have finally got themselves a modern, well designed ground to be proud of and the basis of a team to match.