ROTHERHAM UNITED: Tony Stewart: Fill the ground and help us to go places

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ROTHERHAM United chairman Tony Stewart is calling on the people of the town to try and fill the New York Stadium eventually and so help accelerate the club’s progress.

Stewart said he would “just love” to see the impressive new stadium filled to its 12,000 capacity every home game when the League Two season gets underway.

“There is a lot of interest and this has been growing recently and since we have played our first game there,” said Stewart who got a standing ovation at the opening game last Saturday.

“The fans are getting behind us, there’s a burgeoning corporate, hospitality and events-hosting side and we all want to see the place full.

“I say to people that if we get this place to capacity, then we can hit the standards that we want, help take us forward and where we aspire to as a football club.”

Rotherham are expecting their gates to rise and with season ticket sales more than double that of recent seasons at around 4,000, they are assured of higher attendances.

Having a successful side would help, obviously, and it will be about winning people back but about affordability for many as well.

Even close to a full house at any time - meaning just under 10,000 home fans before any away following - would be a miraculous effort by the club and from a town and its people who have suffered economically during these financially-stricken times.

But there is a real positivity around the club and the town that hasn’t been seen for some years and this offers Stewart real hope for the future.

Tomorrow’s game with Scottish Cup holders Hearts is the first of the pre-season games with an unrestricted capacity and so can be tested to the full 12,000 but it won’t get close. The Edinburgh club won’t be filling their end and the effect of the first week of the school holidays locally, with many people away, was always going to have an effect on the gates this week.

Kick off is 2pm.