How Sheffield United’s promotion to Premier League could boost the ongoing regeneration of city centre

Sheffield United’s promotion to the Premier League could be the 'final piece of the jigsaw’ towards regenerating the city centre, a senior council official has claimed.

By Sam Cooper
Tuesday, 30 April, 2019, 20:41

The Blades secured a return to the top-flight of English football over the weekend after beating Ipswich Town 2-0 on Saturday and Leeds United only managing a draw against Aston Villa.

Richard Eyre, head of city centre management for Sheffield Council

And, as work continues on the £500 million Heart of the City II development, Richard Eyre, head of city centre at Sheffield Council, said having Premier League football in Sheffield presented a ‘great opportunity’ for the city.

Mr Eyre said: “Given the location of Bramall Lane, it’s fantastic for the city centre particularly because the ground is probably only a mile away from the town hall.

“We are expecting bigger crowds at the United games of around 32,000 and maybe six or seven thousand away fans some of whom will stay overnight in our city centre or go for food and drink in our restaurants and bars.

“Even those who don’t stay overnight might spend a bit of cash in the city centre before or after the game.”

Sheffield United fans in the stands show their support during the Sky Bet Championship match agianst Ipswich Town at Bramall Lane on Saturday. Picture: Nick Potts/ PA Wire

Finance experts predicted the club’s promotion could boost Sheffield’s economy by around £125 million and help to bring worldwide attention to the city.

The sum includes money spent by visitors as well as cash received by the club for getting into the top flight, such as TV rights.

Mr Eyre said that, coupled with the ongoing transformation of the Moor, Fargate masterplan and HSBC’s imminent move, the promotion could reap huge benefits for city centre businesses.

Blades fans celebrate in the Clubhouse, London Road after watching Leeds draw with Villa on TV at Sunday lunchtime confirming Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League. Picture: Steve Ellis

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He said: “It’s going to be great for the city centre but wider than that the Sheffield brand being linked with the Premier League is huge.

“The Premier League is in the top few leagues in the world behind the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball so countries across the world will be looking at Sheffield.

Mr Eyre, who also looks after major events in the city as part of his role, said it would allow the city to bid to host more sporting events.

Sheffield has already secured the Invictus Games Trials later this year as well as the Rugby League World Cup and UEFA Women’s European Championship in 2021.

Sheffield United's Jack O'Connell scores his side's second goal of the game aginst Ipswich Town on Saturday. Picture: Nick Potts / PA Wire

He added: “We know the city centre has got its issued but I do feel it’s turned a corner and this could be the final piece of the jigsaw.

“I think Bramall Lane is an important part of the picture and knowing we are going to get an extra six or seven thousand fans in the city centre every other week is great.”

Sheffield United will celebrate their promotion with an open-top bus parade and civic reception in the city centre on Tuesday, May 7.

Exact timings are still to be confirmed.