A sad end for city’s iconic stadium

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Residents have reacted with anger and sadness at the demolition of Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.

Although the stadium’s demise has been well-publicised, images of the stadium being razed have evoked memories of happier days among readers of The Star.

A workman rips out seats at the partly demolished Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The plastic seats will be recycled into rubbish bins. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1001/77

A workman rips out seats at the partly demolished Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The plastic seats will be recycled into rubbish bins. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1001/77

Concerts by acts such as Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones, athletics events featuring stars such as Dame Kelly Holmes, football and rugby league matches and events such as the Sheffield Half Marathon and Race for Life are among the Attercliffe venue’s many highlights, which have seen hundreds of thousands of people flock to the stadium.

However, Sheffield Council announced plans to demolish it last year as part of a cost-cutting package – and bulldozers have now moved in.

The 25,000-capacity venue cost £700,000 a year to run and the council said it was also facing a £1.6 million repair bill.

Coun Isobel Bowler, council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “There was a lot of jumping up and down when it was first announced, but most people understand the proposals and support it.

“The decision to save money on the stadium was a rational and pragmatic one. With the level of cuts we are facing, we simply can no longer afford to provide a subsidy to Don Valley,”

The athletics facilities have been replaced by an upgraded Woodburn Road Stadium nearby.

Coun Bowler said: “It must be said that with the exception of the 25,000 seats, the track and field specification at the reopened Woodbourn Road Stadium is the same high quality as at Don Valley Stadium – and has a dedicated throwing area. It is absolutely fit for purpose for outdoor training for athletes of all abilities, including those at the highest level.

“Athletics in the city now has a dedicated home where athletics comes first.

“Because of the significantly reduced running costs compared with Don Valley, the council is able to invest in an athletics development fund – something the city has not had for many years.”

However, The Star readers have reacted with sadness at the end of Don Valley, which opened for the World Student Games in 1991.

Posting on The Star’s facebook page – www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar – Sharon Raynor said: “So sad! I was in the opening ceremony at the World Student Games. I was a buffer girl and was a marshall when the students came in to the stadium.

“I’ve also used the gym, run the half marathon from there and taken my daughter to athletics training. Lots of good memories.”

Natalie Nestor said: “I was among the school children who danced for the world student games opening ceremony all those years ago, I watched my sister train there on many occasions and then took my daughter for gymnastics lessons. Devastated it’s gone! Such a shame!”

Debra Mitchell added: “RIP Don Valley Stadium. Many a sports day there, seeing our daughters and sons run, leap and jump for their school. Will be sadly missed. Such a shame to see such a good place go to waste.”

Mark Roberts posted: “The demolition of a property that had nothing wrong with it is a disgusting waste of money.”

Glenn Beckett said: “Shameful decision, really poor. What an asset badly wasted.”

Gem Hale said: “I was there the day it opened and a Chinese person gave me a keyring which I have still got on my set of keys.”

And Sharon Richardson remembered: “I saw The Rolling Stones there and my daughter worked there for a while when Rotherham were playing football there.”