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The Don Valley Stadium is a stadium in Sheffieldmarker, Englandmarker and is the home of Rotherham United FC. The stadium is an athletics stadium which has hosted major UK Athletic events and the 1991 World Student Games. Sheffield Eagles RLFC and Parramore Sports FC also use the stadium. It was designed by Sheffield City Council's Design & Building Services and built by RM Douglas Construction. The complex opened in 1990, ready for the 1991 World Student Games and has since become a profitable centre for athletics in the area. It is named after the River Don, near which it lies.

The stadium is situated on the Sheffield Supertram line, between Attercliffemarker and Meadowhallmarker. The stadium is also used for Channel 4's celebrity sports show, The Games, and for concerts, hosting acts such as Celine Dion, Def Leppard,Spice Girls, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, U2, Tina Turner and Red Hot Chili Peppers as well as hosting the BritBowl, the championship finals of the British American Football League.

The stadium and facilities provide a training base for the City of Sheffield Athletic Club and is home to the Sheffield Half Marathon.

Don Valley Stadium is notable as being the largest athletics stadium in the UKmarker, with a seated capacity of 25,000.

The Stadium

The whole of the running track and its infield is illuminated by the strongest floodlighting system in the country. Each of the five lighting towers used is 45 metres above track level and carries a lighting head as tall as a typical three storey house (11 metres high). All amenities for competitors and officials are at track level with all spectator facilities at natural ground level. This means, for example, that disabled spectators have level access from the main car park straight through to the mid level of spectator seating.

The track is sunk five metres below ground level and is sheltered by banks of spectator seating, creating a 'bowl effect'. This not only gives ideal viewing conditions, but also offers athletes every opportunity of producing peak performances.

A view of the running track and surrounding seating
This record-breaking philosophy has even had a bearing on the angle at which the track is set and its positioning is relative to the prevailing winds and the rise and fall of the sun. The finishing line has been positioned at the east end of the stadium which means that in the afternoon and evening when most meetings are held the sun will always be at the athletes backs in the finishing straight, as is the prevailing westerly wind.

VIP facilities are on a third level while the top-most of the four levels has been set aside for hospitality boxes and press areas.

The Stadium's major focal point is its grandstand which holds 10,000 spectators. The main canopy roof has an area of 6000 square metres and is made of Teflon coated glass fibre. It is supported by ladder masts reaching 12 m above the top of the grandstand, the latter are painted yellow and give the stadium its unmistakable appearance. They also give completely uninterrupted sight lines around the bowl although coverage from the rain in the bottom half of the stand can be problematic. Underneath the main stand is located an 85 m indoor running/warm up track.

Up to 15,000 spectators can also be accommodated on the open terracing giving a seated capacity 25,000 for sports events. For musical performances the stadium can accommodate 15,000 seated guests, but has a maximum capacity of 50,000 if the field is used to accommodate standing fans.

There were plans to use the stadium in a Sheffield bid for the 2002 Commonwealth Games (which eventually went to Manchester) and also to use it as a potential joint ground for the city's two football teams. In both of these eventualities the seated capacity would have been raised to 45,000. Although Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday have never played any games there, it was announced in June 2008 that the stadium will host League football for the first time in the 2008–09 season. Rotherham United will play their "home" league games there until a new community stadium is built in Rotherhammarker following the breakdown of negotiations with the owners of their previous home, Millmoormarker. There have been questions raised about the agreement, and the Football League has stipulated that the club must move back to Rotherhammarker within four years.

History

Completed in September 1990 at a cost of £29m, the Don Valley Stadium was the first completely new national sporting venue built outdoors in Great Britainmarker since Wembleymarker in the early twenties. It was built as the centre-piece of a £147m construction programme needed to provide the necessary sports and cultural facilities to enable the city to host the 1991 World Student Games.

Jan Zelezny threw in the Javelin on 29 August 1993 (which was a world record at the time) and infamously nearly hit the TV commentators who were interviewing close to the start/finish line.

Sheffield Eagles' record attendance was set in August 1997 when 10,603 spectators saw Sheffield play Bradford.

The Stadium is operated by Sheffield International Venues and is owned by the Sheffield City Trust

In May 2008, Rotherham United announced that they will play at the stadium.

The stadium also hosts the annual Varsity rugby league game between Sheffield's two universities, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

As a football venue

In May 2008, Rotherham United announced that they will be relocating to the Don Valley Stadium for the next three seasons whilst their new stadium is built in Rotherhammarker.

Rotherham United fans have been given the 10,000 seat main stand which includes concourse, bar and executive facilities including lounges and boxes. Away fans have been given around 2,000 seats on the wing to the right of the home fans.

The first match Rotherham United played at the Don Valley was a pre season friendly game against Derby County on 19 July 2008. The game finished 0–0. There were several friendlies held at the stadium before the start of the season.

The first official league match was a 1–0 win over Lincoln City on the opening day of the 2008–09 season.

Exeter City won promotion from Football League 2 there with a 1-0 victory over Rotherham in May 2009.

Rugby league venue

In 1991 the newly built Don Valley Stadium became home for Sheffield Eagles.

Sheffield was included on the schedule for a game against the Kangaroos during their 1994 Kangaroo Tour and were hammered 80-2 in the first game following the first test match at Wembleymarker.

Eagles became the first English team to beat an Australian team on English soil in the World Club Challenge in 1997. The club's record attendance was set in August 1997 when 10,603 spectators saw Sheffield play Bradford.

On the 16th October 2009, the Eagles annouced they'd be moving their home games from the start of the 2010 season to Bramall Lanemarker, home of Sheffield United, in a bid to increase attendances and atmosphere.

Music venue

The first rock concert to be held at the stadium was a Def Leppard gig on 6 June 1993. The hometown band was supported by Thunder, Ugly Kid Joe and Terrorvision.

Since then a number of big names have performed at the venue; Tina Turner held concerts at the stadium during her highly successful Wildest Dreams Tour (1996) and Twenty Four Seven Tour (2000), Michael Jackson played at the stadium in 1997 as part of the HIStory World Tour and The Rolling Stones held a concert at the stadium on 27 August 2006 as part of their A Bigger Bang Tour.

Other acts to have held concerts at Don Valley Stadium include Bon Jovi (1995), Paul Weller (1997), the Spice Girls (1998), Celine Dion (1999), the Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006) and U2 (2009).

During large concerts, the music being played from Don Valley can be heard up to two miles away in nearby Rotherhammarker. .

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/r/rotherham_utd/7500608.stm


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