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New York Stadium
Rotherham United v Chesterfield
League Two

Saturday, February 16th, 2013, 3pm
By Andy Ford
(Chesterfield fan)

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

I was really looking forward to visiting the New York Stadium for a variety of  reasons. Primarily because it was a new ground to visit. Secondly many Rotherham supporters had been bigging up how good it was before the game, even dome had claimed in the press that it is a mini Emirates stadium! Thirdly to see if the extra £8 million they spent on building it compared to our £13 million total cost was worth it. Fourthly because they are local rivals and the result was fairly crucial to both teams respective promotion ambitions and finally because it simply had to be better than the Don Valley Stadium......which was a truly awful place to watch a match!

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

The journey took all of 25 minutes by car as the M1 was fairly empty and we got there pretty early to avoid the pre-match traffic and have a couple of pints. We initially tried to park on the road near the old Millmoor where we always used to park but found that was now coned off, so parked on the other side of the dual carriageway near to the ground for £4 in a industrial/factory unit car park. We chose that rather than a much larger car park next to it which cost £3 as that looked like it would be a nightmare to get out of and the one we were in led straight onto the dual carriageway for a quick post match escape!

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

We walked up into the town centre and by-passed a couple of pubs which contained assorted Stone Island and Burberry clad locals playing 'spot the Spireite' and went into a Wetherspoons on the High Street called the Corn Law Rhymer. It was absolutely packed with Rotherham fans, which given that the match was going to be very well attended was no surprise. As there has been a history of trouble between us and given tensions were running high we kept ourselves to ourselves and quietly enjoyed a couple of decent cheap pints of Ruddles! Whilst listening to various songs about where they wanted to shove our crooked spire…..which amused me no end! I wouldn’t describe it as a friendly atmosphere but it wasn’t that hostile either and we had a good chat to some Rotherham fans on the walk down to the ground, shook hands, wished each other luck (though not that much) and  went our respective ways which was nice.

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

The ground looks very impressive from the outside and looks much bigger than it’s 12,000 or so capacity. This is primarily due to the very, very steep rake of the steps, which I guess someone  (through age or alcohol) will probably end up falling down one day. I heard one elderly Spireite clambering up them complaining of altitude sickness and he was only half joking. That said, the seats, leg room and view from the away end are excellent, but just to emphasise how unecessary it is to have a rise of 2 steps between each row the bloke sat in front of me stood up and I could just about still see the match whilst still sitting down!

We sold our allocation of 2,500 and I spotted a few Spireite’s I knew sat quietly in the home stand nearest us. They had left the seats in both corners next to the away end empty as a buffer zone, which makes me question the wisdom of ’bowl’ type stadiums as its costs millions to fill corner’s with seats that are invariably going to be empty due to segregation! 

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

The Chesterfield supporters present were in very good voice throughout and created a good atmosphere but I didn’t hear much noise from the home fans, which may have been because I was sat near the Spireite choir or maybe because their vocal element haven’t decided where to congregate  in the new ground. Either way it was surprising as Chesterfield were woeful from start to finish and it pains me to say Rotherham deserved 1-0 the win, which effectively puts paid to our promotion hopes!

The concourse under the stands was quite tight considering the grounds large footprint and probably  badly designed,  as there appeared to be more room in the toilets than outside! The pie and pint were fine…usual football fayre but nothing special but the queuss for them were horrendous.

The stewards were very good in the main, polite and particularly sensible when the Chesterfield fans behind the goal started playing up as they wanted to stand rather than sit. The stewards quickly let them move into the segregated area in the corner and let them stand and sing which made a refreshing change. The most amusing bit on the day for me happened when a steward told my mate he couldn’t smoke in the ground….he duly pointed out it was an electric ‘fake’ fag as he’s trying to quit, but the steward still insisted that it was illegal! Not sure who was right but the five minute debate was a cracker! 

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

Given that Chesterfield’s performance was abysmal and the prospect of being stuck in the 11,300 crowd trying to get out didn’t fill my heart with joy so we decided to leg it a couple of  minutes before the final whistle and getting away was no problem for us. That said there was a very heavy police presence and the two sets of supporters were well segregated until they hit the main road.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A day to forget for any Spireite and I’m sure the Rotherham fans enjoyed their moment of glory, which will never surpass the 5-0 spanking we gave them on their first visit to our new ground!

Is the stadium worth £21 million………No it isn’t!

They could and should have got at least a 15,000 capacity for that money.

Is it a stadium they can be proud of and is it a hundred times better that Millmoor or The Don Valley…of course it is!

I look forward to my next visit……I just hope the Chesterfield team decide to turn up next time!  

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited the New York Stadium recently?
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