Rotherham United: Time frame for expanding New York

Tony Stewart at AESSEAL New York Stadium
Tony Stewart at AESSEAL New York Stadium
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Expanding New York Stadium could be done in double-quick time, Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart has revealed.

The Millers owner is prepared to increase the 12,000 capacity if there is a big enough need and says work wouldn’t take much longer than 12 weeks.

Rotherham will be facing relegated Premier League giants Newcastle United and Aston Villa in the Championship next season and know clubs of that stature would snap up thousands of tickets for the away end if they were available.

“We have a window of three months to do it now, but it could also be done in three months during the season if necessary,” Stewart said.

“We’ve done the costings, got the drawings, had the architect’s meetings. We’re just waiting for that surge in demand.”

Stewart wants to see an increase in home support before committing himself to a rise in the number of seats.

New York Stadium

New York Stadium

The Millers have already sold more than 6,000 season tickets for next year, outstripping the figure of 12 months ago, and 8,000 sales would make the chairman act.

“If you own a corner shop and 200 people are queueing to get in but you have room for only 100, you do something about it,” he added.

“At the moment, I haven’t got the reason to spend £5 million to £6 million because I can cope with the capacity I’ve got. It’s a simple calculator job.”

The infrastructure is already in place to lift the capacity to 16,000 or even 20,000, with contractors simply needing to raise the height of the stadium.

Other clubs in the second tier like Derby County, Birmingham City, Wolves, Huddersfield Town, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest are all capable of bringing more supporters to New York than the current 2,600 away limit.

The Millers have still to announce whether manager Neil Warnock, who saved them from the drop during his 16-game reign this season, will be remaining in the hot-seat.

Stewart said he anticipated a decision by the middle of this week after the two men held in-depth discussions last Thursday.

Warnock has loved his time with Rotherham and is torn between staying and consolidating the Millers’ second-tier place or chasing a record-breaking eighth promotion with another club.

Meanwhile, work has begun on relaying the New York playing surface ready for the start of the 2016/17 campaign in August.

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