Fans' campaign to raise £20,000 for endangered Sheffield Eagles

Eagles skipper Mitch Stringer celebrates with the fans after the Rugby Championship Finals against Batley in 2013.
Eagles skipper Mitch Stringer celebrates with the fans after the Rugby Championship Finals against Batley in 2013.
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Sheffield Eagles fans are trying to raise £20,000 in three weeks to keep their club alive until long-term investment is secured.

An online fundraising campaign led by Nicky Swire, daughter of outgoing chairman Ian, has already raised more than £3,000 in just over a day.

An unnamed investor has promised his support to the rugby league club. But his funding, including a new stadium costing up to £7 million, depends on whether his plan to build a £35 million biomass power plant is approved by the city council.

Read more:

Council to work with investor on £35m power plant that could save Sheffield Eagles

Sheffield Eagles 'will be dead and buried in a month' without city support

Former Eagles skipper Jack Howieson lifts the trophy after the Championship Grand Final against Featherstone Rovers in 2012.

Former Eagles skipper Jack Howieson lifts the trophy after the Championship Grand Final against Featherstone Rovers in 2012.

Lifelong Eagles fan Nicky, 27, said: "We hope the money will go some way towards helping sustain the club beyond this season for the few weeks it might take for the potential investor to commit."

The Eagles have a maximum of three games remaining, and have the funds to last for another month. But without further investment they will go into administration at the end of the season, and will have to start again in a lower league.

On Wednesday club CEO John Whaling said it would be 'back to square one'.

Nicky, whose father Ian has put thousands of pounds of his own money into the club to keep it going in recent months, said time was running out.

The Olympic Legacy Park could be the new home of the Eagles.

The Olympic Legacy Park could be the new home of the Eagles.

"We are aware that the £20,000 is not going to be enough to sustain the whole operation, but hopefully it might be a bit of a catalyst for other investment from the city," she said.

"It's showing that there's a desire from the grass roots for the club to survive."

The investor hopes to build his power station on land near the Olympic Legacy Park, which the Eagles hope to call home if they can find the money for a new stadium. The land is currently set aside for housing and light industry.

The club used to play at Don Valley Stadium before it was knocked down to make way for the £55 million sports, research and education facility.

This week the city council's executive director of place Simon Green called the power plant and stadium plan 'exciting', but said it would have to go through the full planning process.

Former Eagles captain Jack Howieson has backed the campaign.

He said: "I would be devastated if this was the end of Sheffield Eagles.

"I have been involved with the Eagles for the last 16 years, 13 years as a player, six years as captain and recently as a coach. I know how much hard work has gone into the club from various people, not only on the pitch but in the local community.

"The truth is that the club has been seriously let down in recent years! The council knocked down their long term home at Don Valley and now seem to be stalling over the development of the Olympic Legacy Park.

"Due to this there is a strong possibility that the Eagles may fold at the end of the season due to being homeless. If anyone out there can spare just £10 to help save rugby league in Sheffield it would be greatly appreciated by myself, players, staff and fans. Two thousand proud Sheffield sports fans donating £10 will help them hit their target."

To help the Eagles, visit www.gofundme.com/2b7x8hu4.

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