Rugby League: Eagles eye new home after confirming Owlerton exit

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Sheffield Eagles have confirmed that they will be moving away from Owlerton Stadium for the 2015 season.

The club moved back into the venue at the start of last season, following the demolition of Don Valley Stadium, and the Rugby Football League’s reluctance for the club to play at the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park on Bawtry Road.

However, the switch didn’t see the Eagles repeat their form of the previous two seasons, winning five and losing seven of their 12 league matches at the stadium.

The RFL have recently brought in new regulations for Championship stadia ahead of the sports restructure which takes place next season, re-opening the pathway to Super League. These include the rule that each ground must have 1,500 seats, and floodlights for the possibility of Sky TV games during the latter part of the campaign.

Owlerton could offer neither of these requirements. The Eagles are in advanced talks with another venue over the possibility of hosting matches in 2015, and hope to finalise those negotiations in time to make an announcement at a fans’ meeting on Tuesday next week at the New Barrack Tavern pub opposite Owlerton Stadium.

The greyhound venue’s offer to accommodate the Eagles for last season meant that they remained in the city when it looked like they would have to leave, and the club have thanked Owlerton officials for their efforts throughout 2014.

It was the Eagles’ second coming at Owlerton, having played there from their first season in 1984, up until the construction of Don Valley Stadium in 1991. Managing Director of Owlerton Stadium, John Gilburn, has expressed his pride that the venue was able to play its part towards the development of the reformed club as well.

He said: “We are proud to have contributed to another important chapter in the history of Sheffield Eagles, having stepped in to save the club from leaving the city following the closure of Don Valley Stadium.”

“Owlerton hosted the Eagles’ first ever game 30 years ago and, without our support for the 2014 season, Sheffield would have lost one of its most well-loved sporting organisations.

“We would like to wish the Sheffield Eagles all the very best for the future.”