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New York Stadium
Rotherham United v
Plymouth Argyle
  League Two
  Saturday October 27th 2012, 3pm

James Prentice
(Doing the 92)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Other than the chance to tick off another ground as part of my ongoing quest to ‘do the 92’, I was interested to see whether Rotherham had continued the trend of lower league sides such as Chesterfield in building an architecturally-pleasing new stadium. After being depressed at the bland and thoughtless efforts of grounds like Scunthorpe and Walsall whilst on my travels, I left with high hopes that the New York Stadium would follow where Chesterfield’s B2Net had left off. Promisingly, the pictures I had seen suggested I was in for a treat!

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I made the short 45-mile journey by car from my home in Lincoln and arrived at around 1.30pm, with no problems encountered. The ground was really easy to find, situated just off the main dual carriageway into the town (around three miles from Junction 33 of the M1). I took the advice of this website as to street parking around Rotherham’s old Millmoor home and this was fairly plentiful, with no parking restrictions in force. One thing I would suggest is to park up at least an hour before kick-off if using this area as spaces soon disappeared. I did notice that there is a manned paid-for parking area at the Millmoor ground and there are signs for this from the main road, but the charge was not advertised.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I took my two lovely children to the game so therefore had a break from the usual pre-match ritual of a visit to a chippy and at least one local watering hold! Before the game we went for a look at Millmoor, which is still sadly sitting empty and unused. I went to this ground only once, shortly before it closed in 2008, and whilst not aesthetically pleasing it was steeped in local folklore and the scene of many happy years for the club before they were sent into exile at the Don Valley Stadium. After almost shedding a tear for this loveable old ground, we went to collect our tickets. Fans might like to note that pre-booked tickets are available from a table inside the club shop, although it is an idea to take your printed booking confirmation with you if seats are secured over the internet as not all of my tickets printed off! The Rotherham fans seemed relatively happy and harmless – a far cry from some of the battles I remember them having with Lincoln over the years!

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The outside of the ground looks pretty steep and imposing. This theme is continued inside, with all stands being built at quite an angle, which reminds me somewhat of Tynecastle, although this affords an excellent view of the pitch from any angle. The steepness of the ground does make it look extremely compact from inside, which may help Rotherham build an excellent atmosphere over the coming years, particularly if their good home form continues to give them something to shout about! The away fans were located towards one side of the Morrisons stand. The similarly-designed home fans’ end was packed out by kick off. Both roofs are built at a gradient, gradually making their way down from the tallest side-stand (West Stand), to the significantly smaller Ben Bennett family stand.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc...

I was excited by kick-off given that Rotherham’s form had improved since Steve Evans returned from his six-match stadium ban, whilst Plymouth had won three out of their last four. This suggested that the game could be a goal-fest full of free-flowing, attacking football, but could potentially end up with two similarly-matched sides cancelling one another out. Sadly it turned out to be the latter scenario, with Rotherham edging over the line with the only goal of the game coming from close range midway through the second half. The result was a tad harsh on a well-organised Plymouth side, although their poor final ball meant they were the architects of their own downfall.

The atmosphere seemed good at kick off but dropped dramatically during the course of the game, with the travelling fans making most of what little noise there was. Even the goal didn’t seem to rouse a lot of the Rotherham faithful. The good old Pukka Pie is sold at the ground (£3.00) and there is draught beer and cider available at £3.00 per pint (Strongbow, Fosters, John Smiths). The concourses seemed wide enough given that the stand was fairly full and the toilets were clean and sparking as should be expected at a new ground. The stewards seemed pretty friendly and innocuous, although one incident of note came ten minutes from the end, when a couple and their child were escorted out by stewards for swearing and gesturing to the Plymouth fans. They initially refused to leave, meaning that around 10 of Rotherham’s Finest were called in to remove them from the premises! What a depressing end to a family day out!

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We left five minutes before the end to make the short journey back to the car and were straight on the road home, with no problems encountered. Upon exiting the ground, I heard a couple of ‘non-Rotherham’ accents behind me, turned round and got chatting to a couple of kindly older gents who are groundhoppers and had come up to tick the New York stadium off their list. They were ninety-two club members and both said they were arranging a trip to Fleetwood Town to re-complete their marathon of ground visits. I certainly hope I am still visiting grounds with such enthusiasm when I am their age! On a similar note, I noticed a variety of accents when picking up my tickets, which suggested that there were a fair few other groundhoppers who had made the journey. I am sure there will be many more over the course of the season!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I came away feeling happy to have completed another ground and pleased at the design and layout of the New York. The only grumble I could think of is that the stadium lacks an authentic look, which could perhaps have been borrowed with using some old signs and memorabilia from Millmoor. One thing I hate seeing at new grounds are some of the bland ‘Club Shop’ and ‘Box Office’ signs that suggest fans are going to any old entertainment venue rather than the plush new home of a proud club.

That said, the stadium is brilliantly positioned next to the town centre, is near main roads and is only a few minutes from the railway station. The sight lines are excellent and the facilities and leg room is comfortable.

Most importantly, though, Rotherham now have a home of their own back in the town. It is one that they can be proud of and I am sure it will serve them well for many years to come.

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