Sweet taste of the Big Apple

All in the name: Chairman Tony Stewart sees the first structures of the new stadium go up
All in the name: Chairman Tony Stewart sees the first structures of the new stadium go up
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TRY telling someone the suggested name for Rotherham United’s new ground - New York - and note their reaction.

They will have a look which is a cross between puzzlement and incredulity. Probably followed by: “New York? Why?”

Rotherham United's new ground, artist's impression

Rotherham United's new ground, artist's impression

For a start, it doesn’t quite seem to fit. Giant, flash, American city; small, industrial, working-class town in South Yorkshire.

But, put the genuine reasons and the compelling case to them and they will become convinced.

It seems strange but (and is this an Americanism?) it’s a no-brainer.

For a start, the area of land not far from the town centre on which the 12,000-capacity stadium is currently rising into the Rotherham sky is called New York.

What better reason really than naming it after its locality?

After all, Bramall Lane is on Bramall Lane. Hillsborough is in Hillsborough. You know the part of Liverpool that Anfield is in.

But there is the lovely twist to it all of another connection with the Big Apple because all the Victorian cast-iron fire hydrants in New York were made at the old Guest and Chrimes foundry on that very same site where the stadium is now being erected.

Not just a genuine link with the name but an actual one with one of the world’s most famous cities.

Whenever Millers chairman Tony Stewart gets asked by visiting directors “Why is the stadium called New York?” he gives them those two simple explanations!

Stewart has always said that it would be an iconic stadium. Well, what an iconic name to go with your iconic stadium. What a PR opportunity it is as well. It’s not just any old name and it is bound to create a lot of interest, comment and publicity.

And who’s to say it would go unnoticed across in New York. Surely someone would want to know why their city’s name is being used.

At a time when leading clubs are now marketing themselves as “brands” - a concept that is anathema to the majority of football fans - to have your football club linked to such a brand name as New York appears an opportunity that any self-respecting marketing man would suggest is too good to miss.

New York or New York Stadium would be the base name and you wouldn’t expect it overly difficult - even in these difficult financial times - to find a company who would be happy to acquire the naming rights when their name will be linked to New York.

Chairman Stewart will be factoring all these issues into his particular name-game and it seems an opportunity too good to miss - which is the conclusion he looks certain to reach when he officially announces the name.

In addition, they’ve a ready-made signature tune as well!

Indeed, just as the teams are preparing to line up for kick-off, the introductory opening bars of Frank Sinatra’s famous song strikes up, a few thousand singing, say, a four-liner specially composed and you’ve got a bit of an ‘occasion’ to get your fans of all ages involved (legs kicking out optional!).

And don’t think that Rotherham United haven’t come to the notice of someone in New York before.

When the club was being put up for sale in the late 1970s by the controlling Purshouse family from Rotherham, film giants Warner Bros, based in New York, made a genuine inquiry about buying.

They pulled out only when they learned that Rotherham was 160-odd miles from London!

No doubt the Millers chairman has been taking soundings. He had asked for suggestions and wanted a name by Christmas.

His personal preference had been for something with a water theme to reflect the fact the site is bordered by a river and the canal.

Topping many polls was The Foundry - reflecting not only what once stood on the site but also that many fans across generations worked there or in similar workplaces. It’s earthy feel and foreboding nature for opponents (a foundry being a place of sweat and toil and hardly the most welcoming of places) carried an appeal and it seemed very Rotherham.

But it is obvious New York has become the favourite when Rotherham United make this particular brand-new start of it.

Rotherham United and New York hand in hand. Who would have thought it!