The heartbreak behind Sheffield Eagles move to Wakefield

Sheffield Eagles say that they exhausted every possible avenue to stay in South Yorkshire, after confirming they will play their home games at Wakefield's Belle Vue ground next season.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 15th December 2016, 2:59 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:05 am
Sheffield Eagles will play home games next season at Wakefield Trinity Wildcat's Belle Vue stadium
Sheffield Eagles will play home games next season at Wakefield Trinity Wildcat's Belle Vue stadium

Eagles will once again hit the road after failing to secure a venue in the Steel City, as work continues to move them into the Olympic Legacy Park for the 2018 campaign.

Acting CEO and director of rugby Mark Aston will take his side to West Yorkshire after admitting he knocked on every door possible to try and keep Eagles closer to their host city.

“We have nowhere to go in the city,” Aston admitted. “We have tried absolutely everywhere. We contacted every football club, every rugby club, we looked at anywhere we could physically try which met the requirements needed - and we got knocked back.

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“It was a massive disappointment to me. We have had an horrendous six months and I would have hoped that people would have rallied around and supported us. It is disappointing that they haven’t.”

Eagles held detailed discussions with both Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, whilst a return to Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium was also knocked back.

The club are also understood to have approached Castle Park, home to Doncaster Knights rugby union, but no deal could be reached.

Last season the Eagles played their home games at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park on Bawtry Road, but the cost of temporary stands and other facilities out-stripped income through the turnstiles.

It would seem the only realistic alternative to Wakefield was a ground share with Dewsbury Rams, but this would have resulted in home games on a Thursday night - something the club could not entertain.

Aston, whilst disappointed at moving out of the city, was grateful for Wakefield’s assistance, whilst also hinting that the door wasn’t shut on playing some home games back within the boundaries of their home city.

“It isn’t over yet, we’ll keep asking the question with the football clubs,” he added.

“We have been on the road before, we have been to Doncaster, we have tried the facility at Bawtry Road, we just need a bit of stability.

“Both football clubs were close. We don’t ruin pitches, we play on the top of the surface, the scrums aren’t contested anymore, it isn’t like what it was. There are so many clubs that use dual rugby and football, it can work.

“Who knows, we are focusing on playing at Wakefield now. They have been great for us. We have to do what we have to do,which is trying to stabilise the club and that is what we intend to do.”