Tuesday, May 27, 2014

News: Rotherham is home to a Championship football club


Yes it wasn't a dream. Rotherham United secured promotion to The Sky Bet Championship, the second tier of English football, after a dramatic Playoff final win over Leyton Orient at Wembley.

Rotherham will welcome some big names to the New York Stadium next season, including former European Cup winners, Nottingham Forest, former Premier League winners Blackburn Rovers and local rivals Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday.

A massive boost for the borough, the promotion is also set to increase turnover at the club, that was last in the league in 2004/05 and was only brought out of administration in 2008, by an estimated £4m due to increased TV money (£1.7m), prize money and attendances.

David Conn in The Guardian, recently assessed the finances of clubs in The Championship and the vast amounts of revenue generated, and the often greater amounts spent, as clubs attempt to reach the Premier League.

Back in town with a new £20m stadium, Rotherham United increased turnover by nearly £2m to £4.4m for the year ending December 31 2012. It is likely to have increased again following promotion to League One in their first season at New York.

Turnover at clubs in The Championship is over £8m, even for those struggling at the bottom, with many clubs spending more on wages than they generate in revenue, which puts them at risk of sanctions under the new Financial Fair Play rules. Turnover at some of the bigger names in the league is over £25m.

The incremental progression promised by chairman Tony Stewart, owner of successful Rotherham business, ASD Lighting, is likely to see the club look at expanding the stadium on the edge of Rotherham town centre. It was always designed to accommodate future expansion beyond the original 12,000 capacity but any work is unlikely to be carried out over this summer.

Season ticket prices have increased for next season, with an average adult season ticket going up by around £80. However, prices of £450 - £485 compare favourably with the rest of The Championship.

With the prospect of more sell out fixtures, the town centre is set for a further boost. Coinciding with the opening of the stadium in 2012, the past three years have seen encouraging increases in the footfall figures within Rotherham, with an overall 13 per cent uplift in numbers. This has been during a time when many equivalent sized UK towns have seen trade decreasing.

The amazing day at Wembley saw Rotherham United fight back from two nil down at half time thanks to goals by man of the match, Alex Revell, to take the game to a dramatic penalty shootout, which they won thanks to two smart saves from goalkeeper Adam Collin.

Steve Evans, manager of Rotherham United, said after the shootout: "We've come to London, we've come from 2-0 down with spirit and courage and won it. It's the best day of my career, by miles."

And already looking ahead to next season, he added: "I came in, put myself under pressure, saying we'd do back-to-back and there were the usual dissenters. But we're going to go up and we’re going to have a fight – we're going to have a go.

"We're not kidding ourselves, there are some massive clubs – Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Derby County.

"We're going up and we know the size of the task. Nobody said we'd be in the Championship when I walked into the Don Valley Stadium but we're there and we're deservedly there."

Supporters are expected to paint the town red tonight when the triumphant team will travel on an open-top bus from the New York Stadium around the town centre to All Saints' Square and on to Rotherham Town Hall for a civic reception.

Rotherham United website

Images: The Football League / Rotherham United / twitter


Unknown May 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM  

Such an AMAZING day!! Great for the club and the town. Sir Alex Revell needs the 'Key To The Town!!'

Unknown May 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM  

plus... where is Smallwood going in that picture!!?? hahaha

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