Don Valley Stadium

Don Valley Stadium
Don Valley Stadium
Location Worksop Road, Sheffield, England S9 3TL
Opened September 1990
Owner Sheffield City Trust
Operator Sheffield International Venues
Surface Grass
Construction cost £29 million GBP
Architect Sheffield City Council
Capacity 25,000
(50,000 for concerts)[1]
Rotherham United
City of Sheffield AC
Parramore Sports

The Don Valley Stadium is a stadium in Sheffield, England and is the home of Rotherham United F.C.. The stadium is an athletics stadium which has hosted major UK Athletic events and the 1991 World Student Games. Sheffield Eagles RLFC and Parramore Sports FC also use the stadium. It was designed by Sheffield City Council's Design & Building Services and built by RM Douglas Construction. The complex opened in 1990, ready for the 1991 World Student Games and has since become a profitable centre for athletics in the area. It is named after the River Don, which flows nearby.

The stadium is situated on the Sheffield Supertram line, between Attercliffe and Meadowhall. The stadium is also used for Channel 4's celebrity sports show, The Games, as well as hosting the BritBowl, the championship finals of the British American Football League.

The stadium and facilities provide a training base for the City of Sheffield Athletic Club and is home to the Sheffield Half Marathon.

Don Valley Stadium is notable as being the largest athletics stadium in the UK, with a seated capacity of 25,000.


The stadium

A view of the running track and surrounding seating

The whole of the running track and its infield is illuminated by the strongest floodlighting system in the country. Each of the five lighting towers used is 148 feet (45 metres) above track level and carries a lighting head as tall as a typical three storey house (36 feet/11 metres high). All amenities for competitors and officials are at track level with all spectator facilities at natural ground level. This means, for example, that disabled spectators have level access from the main car park straight through to the mid level of spectator seating.

The track is sunk 16 feet (5 metres) below ground level and is sheltered by banks of spectator seating, creating a 'bowl effect'. This not only gives ideal viewing conditions, but also offers athletes every opportunity of producing peak performances.

This record-breaking philosophy has even had a bearing on the angle at which the track is set and its positioning is relative to the prevailing winds and the rise and fall of the sun. The finishing line has been positioned at the east end of the stadium which means that in the afternoon and evening when most meetings are held the sun will always be at the athletes backs in the finishing straight, as is the prevailing westerly wind.

VIP facilities are on a third level while the top-most of the four levels has been set aside for hospitality boxes and press areas.

The stadium's major focal point is its grandstand which holds 10,000 spectators. The main canopy roof has an area of 6,000 square metres and is made of Teflon coated glass fibre. It is supported by ladder masts reaching 39 feet (12 m) above the top of the grandstand, the latter are painted yellow and give the stadium its unmistakable appearance. They also give completely uninterrupted sight lines around the bowl although coverage from the rain in the bottom half of the stand can be problematic. Underneath the main stand is located an 85 metres (93 yards) indoor running/warm up track.

Up to 15,000 spectators can also be accommodated on the open terracing giving a seated capacity 25,000 for sports events. For musical performances the stadium can accommodate 15,000 seated guests, but has a maximum capacity of 50,000 if the field is used to accommodate standing fans.[2]

There were plans to use the stadium in a Sheffield bid for the 2002 Commonwealth Games (which eventually went to Manchester) and also to use it as a potential joint ground for the city's two football teams.[citation needed] In both of these eventualities the seated capacity would have been raised to 45,000. Although Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday have never played any games there, it was announced in June 2008 that the stadium will host League football for the first time in the 2008–09 season. Rotherham United will play their "home" league games there until a new community stadium is built in Rotherham following the breakdown of negotiations with the owners of their previous home, Millmoor.[3] There have been questions raised about the agreement, and the Football League has stipulated that the club must move back to Rotherham within four years.[4]


Completed in September 1990 at a cost of £29 million, the Don Valley Stadium was the first completely new national sporting venue built outdoors in Great Britain since Wembley in the early twenties. It was built as the centre-piece of a £147 million construction programme needed to provide the necessary sports and cultural facilities to enable the city to host the 1991 World Student Games.

Jan Železný threw 95.66 metres (104.62 yd) in the javelin on 29 August 1993 (which was a world record at the time) and infamously nearly hit the TV commentators who were interviewing close to the start/finish line.

Sheffield Eagles' record attendance was set in August 1997 when 10,603 spectators saw Sheffield play Bradford Northern.

The stadium is operated by Sheffield International Venues and is owned by the Sheffield City Trust

In May 2008, Rotherham United announced that they will play at the stadium.

The stadium also hosts the annual varsity rugby league game between Sheffield's two universities, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

As a football venue

In May 2008, Rotherham United announced that they will be moving to the Don Valley Stadium for the next three seasons whilst their new stadium is built in Rotherham.

Rotherham United fans have been given the 10,000 seat main stand which includes concourse, bar and executive facilities including lounges and boxes. Away fans have been given around 2,000 seats on the wing to the right of the home fans.

The first match Rotherham United played at the Don Valley was a pre season friendly game against Derby County on 19 July 2008. The game finished 0–0. There were several friendlies held at the stadium before the start of the season.

The first official league match was a 1–0 win over Lincoln City on the opening day of the 2008–09 season.

Exeter City won promotion from Football League 2 there with a 1–0 victory over Rotherham United in May 2009.

Sheffield Wednesday Women played an FA Cup Round 5 match against Bristol Academy but lost 8–0.

Rugby league venue

In 1991, the newly built Don Valley Stadium became home for Sheffield Eagles.

Sheffield was included on the schedule for a game against the Kangaroos during their 1994 Kangaroo Tour and were beaten 80–2 in the first game following the first test match at Wembley.

Eagles became the first English team to beat an Australian team on English soil in the World Club Challenge in 1997. The club's record attendance was set in August 1997 when 10,603 spectators saw Sheffield play Bradford.

On 16 October 2009, the Eagles announced they'd be moving their home games from the start of the 2010 season to Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield United, in a bid to increase attendances and atmosphere.

Music venue

The Spice Girls performed 2 sold-out shows during their Spiceworld Tour on 12 and 13 September 1998.

The first rock concert to be held at the stadium was a Def Leppard gig on 6 June 1993. The hometown band was supported by Thunder, Ugly Kid Joe and Terrorvision. A crowd of over 50,000 witnessed this performance. Since, a number of famous artists have performed at the venue. Also U2 played at this venue in 2009 with their 360 Tour

During large concerts, the music being played from Don Valley can be heard up to two miles away in nearby Rotherham.[citation needed].

In 2011, Arctic Monkeys played two headlining comeback shows to celebrate the release of their latest album; Suck It and See. Support at these shows came from the likes of Miles Kane, the Vaccines and Anna Calvi as well as other, less-known artists.


  1. ^ "Venue Information". Sheffield International Venues. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Stadium Hire". Don Valley Stadium Official Website. Sheffield International Venues. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  3. ^ "Move to Don Valley Stadium". Rotherham United Official Website. 2008-06-02.,,10360~1321047,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  4. ^ "Rotherham future remains unclear". BBC News. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 

External links

Preceded by
Succeeded by
Coca-Cola Field

Coordinates: 53°23′46″N 1°25′33″W / 53.396064°N 1.425798°W / 53.396064; -1.425798

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