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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Don Valley stadium is located in the steel city of Sheffield and was built in 1990 at a cost of Ł29 million for the World Student games which were held the following year. The venue is primarily an athletics stadium although it has hosted many pop concerts including the Rolling Stones and The Spice Girls and has also been the home of Rugby League club Sheffield Eagles.
It is presently the home of English League One football club Rotherham United although they will vacate the stadium later in 2012 to move into a football specific complex elsewhere within the city. The stadium initially had an all seated capacity of 25,000, but for Rotherham games this is restricted to 10,000 although this is ample for the club.
The stadium is named after the nearby River Don. The stadium’s main focal point is the 10,000 seated grand stand which houses the VIP and hospitality facilities. The canopy stadium roof spans 6,000 square metres and is made of Teflon coated glass fibre. The remainder of the stadium consists of 15,000 uncovered bench seats. The floodlighting system that illuminates the facility is believed to be the strongest in any of England’s major stadiums.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Choice of food on offer within the stadium is very limited. There is only the normal range of hot dogs, burgers and fries on offer along with hot and cold drinks and ice cream. Compared to other venues however these are reasonably priced.
Small crowds in large venues, particularly those with athletics tracks, inevitably lead to a poor atmosphere and this is a major issue regarding this venue for soccer games. Hence Rotherham's move to a soccer specific stadium later this year should drastically improve the home match experience.
The immediate vicinity to the stadium leaves a lot to be desired but don't let this put you off visiting. Little more than one mile down the road from the stadium is the Meadowhall Shopping Complex which is one of the largest in England. Sheffield City Centre also has all the normal range of High Street shops and is again only a short distance away. Sheffield is renowned for its steel industry and being located in the county of Yorkshire there is plenty of nearby attractions to occupy the visitor. The Don Valley Hotel and The Cocked Hat public house are near to the stadium and are where home and away supporters meet before games.
Like many lower football league clubs within the English pyramid system, Rotherham United have a loyal band of followers who are the livelihood of the British game. Local rivals are Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
The stadium is located off Junction 34 of the M1 by taking the A6178 towards the city centre. The nearest railway station is Sheffield which has connections to all parts of the United Kingdom. The stadium has its own Super Tram station which connects to both Sheffield and Meadowhall railway stations. Nearest airports are Manchester, Doncaster and East Midlands.
Admission prices for Rotherham games are Ł18 for adults with reductions for O.A.Ps and juveniles. Under 8's are admitted free of charge. The club also occasionally has offers for two adults for Ł19.
There is a small club shop within the main grand stand selling replica shirts and other club souvenirs. A match day programme is produced for all games priced at Ł2.50.
A trip to see the Merry Millers in Don Valley Stadium is an enjoyable afternoon or evening of football. This may not be the top tier of the English pyramid, but the ticket prices make this a worthwhile experience.
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75 Worksop Rd
Sheffield, South Yorkshire S9 3TG
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