Sheffield Eagles confident new home could be built for 2018 season

A drone's-eye-view of the Olympic Legacy Park in Sheffield.
A drone's-eye-view of the Olympic Legacy Park in Sheffield.
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Sheffield Eagles say there is still time to get the Olympic Legacy Park ready for the 2018 season, as they await the council’s decision on who will win the contract to develop the site.

The Eagles have been assured that if they don’t win the bid, they will still be able to play at the lower Don Valley site.

Now here comes the problem – Mark Aston’s side cannot play at Wakefield’s Belle Vue next season.

Aston believes if his bid gets the nod, the Eagles have time to get the stadium ready for 2018. If they don’t, they are once again in limbo as they wait for the winning bidder to develop the site.

“What we know is that long term we will now have a home, and it will be at the OLP,” Aston told The Star.

“If we are granted permission to build the stadium through our man, could we get three sides done by the beginning of next season? There is a possibility.

“If it went elsewhere it’ll take longer which means we’ve an issue of how we get back to the city in the short term.

“We’ve had a good conversion with the OLP, now the council need to understand where we are at, and help us to get to where we want to be.”

The situation is complicated. The Eagles are still waiting for their future investor to get planning permission on his energy business so he can invest in the club. The Eagles now say the investment and stadium development rest with the council.

Mindful that if their bid didn’t win, the club are looking for another short-term stadium solution, with former chief executive John Whaling, now with Rotherham Titans, recently telling The Star that he would be open to discuss with his board about helping out his former club should they be contacted.

“I have no idea is the answer to that,” Aston said on the possibility of a move to Clifton Lane or a similar alternative.

“What we do know is that we need to be back in Sheffield. We need to have something ready, but if we can work quickly over the next month or so, we can make the OLP happen.

If it’s us and our backer that gets the nod then there’s a good chance we’ll be there next year, if not then that worries me, will we be ready to come back to Sheffield?”