Rugby League: Eagles optimistic over new stadium

John Whaling
John Whaling
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Sheffield Eagles are still on course to move to their new stadium at the Olympic Legacy Park next season, despite chairman Ian Swire’s decision to move on after 17 years.

Eagles are pressing ahead with discussions off the field as they look for potential new investors to join the club’s board.

Despite the worrying news that the club are in a precarious position following the withdrawal of funds from an unknown investor, chief executive John Whaling remains optimistic that new parties are interested in joining the club.

Whaling also confirmed that the news hasn’t affected plans to move into their new stadium, with the club still set to move in for the start of next season.

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“What Richard Caborn and the team down there have promised us is coming to fruition,” Whaling said. “They are telling me that the pitch will be ready and the floodlights will be in place in December. The infrastructure around it like car parking and walkways – they are quite confident that they will be completed by March.

“We need to get some seating in there for next year. Whether that will be the same seating to what we have at Bawtry Road, or something better we’re not sure. I am talking to people about that and the plans are still exciting.”

“From our end all we need to sort out is the seating. We have a quote from the people who provide the seating here and the purchase option looks attractive, but we are also talking to a company that want to install 1,000 seats and 12 corporate hospitality boxes. That would obviously be a big improvement to what we have at the moment and give us a firm base to build on.”

The Eagles have confirmed that there are two parties interested in being involved with a hotel alongside the new main stand, but both the stand and the hotel won’t be ready until 2018.

New investment would certainly help accelerate development, and Whaling has been tasked with the job of attracting new people, with director of rugby Mark Aston also involved as the club look to secure their future.

“It is a well established club with a good band of followers,” Whaling added.

“It isn’t just me who is talking to people, Mark (Aston) is out there talking to interested parties as well.

“I am sure that there are people out there who are interested in helping us.”