Mark Aston eyes bright future as Sheffield Eagles return home

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston says the club can fly high after finally returning to their home city.

The new Olympic Legacy Park was christened with a 34-24 Championship win over Widnes last Monday evening, which lifted the South Yorkshire side to within a place and three points of the play-off zone, with a game in hand on all but one of the teams above them.

The OLP is on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium, where Sheffield were based before its demolition in 2013.

Since then, they have led a nomadic existence, playing at a string of grounds, including Owlerton, Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, Wakefield Trinity’s Belle Vue (now the Be Well Support Stadium) and an embryonic version of the OLP.

That has caused financial pressure, and club stalwart Aston admitted: “There were dark days when we woke up and wondered if it was all over and we were done as a club.

“But now, being in the new stadium is a tribute to the resilience of the board, because we have stuck in there.

“It’s been a mammoth journey and we’ve been here, there and everywhere. Now we’re back in Sheffield and we can start rebuilding.

“We have a great facility and we are a club with a vision. We’re about inclusivity, with our women’s and wheelchair teams, and we want to get right back into the community.”

With the new stadium, which has an artificial pitch, not yet fully signed off, Monday’s match had a limit of 800 spectators, but that should rise to between 1,200 and 1,400 in the short term and around 3,900 in the long term.

“We want to entertain and get the fans in,” continued Aston.

“At the end of the day, the fans are the club.

“Being successful will attract more and I think we’re capable of making the top six.”

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