Saturday, 13 August 2011

Away Days: Rotherham United, Don Valley Stadium

  I've decided this season to do some posts on my away day experiences with the Foxes to give tips and expectations for anyone interested.  My first away match, and match in general, of the season was in the Carling Cup against Rotherham United.

My view at the Don Valley Stadium on an August evening


The Ground - Don Valley Stadium

  The first thing to notice is that Rotherham's stadium is not actually in Rotherham but Sheffield.  It's strange driving past the signs for Rotherham on the M1 and taking the junction at Meadowhall but that's where they are, for financial reasons.  It's hoped that by the 2012/13 season, the new stadium will be ready and it will do no end of good for the fans and the club.

  I parked in Centretainment, one tram stop from the ground, which was free and not busy on a Tuesday evening.  However, at £1.50 on the tram for a two minute journey, should have walked it!  You can park in Meadowhall or nearer the ground where there is more easy parking space.

  The ground is sunk into the ground so you enter at ground level but half way up the stands which is interesting.  Also, there is a running track around the pitch giving a sense of isolation.  However, the view is not as bad as it could be and you can just about make out the action.  Only the main stand is used for fans, most of it for the home and the corner you can see above for the away; it's sad that the rest of the ground is empty, making it seem like a behind closed doors match or a pre-season friendly.  We managed to make enough noise but it is very hard to get much of an atmosphere going for this reason.

Facilities

  The Don Valley has decent enough facilities.  Toilets (I didn't see them but my wife did) were good and not really cold like normal Yorkshire grounds ( a good or bad thing, depending on your preference!).  Seating was quite good, a lot of space, and you can feel the stand bouncing with the fans.  Food and drink would have been decent if not for the one hot drinks machine meaning each till-person had to queue up to serve each fan (took an age!); Pukka Pies were nice and they also had huge hotdogs!

  Tickets cost £10 each for adults which is a great price for a match.  Programmes were not the best quality and only had 5 or 6 pages on the away side but were cheaper than usual at £2.50 so you can't complain that much; a good memento.

Overall

  In the end it was a fun evening, especially with debutant Jeff Schlupp getting a hat-trick on the way to a 4-1 win for Leicester.  Don't expect amazing atmosphere (even with 3, 000 away fans) or a great view of the action but if prices stay as low, it's worth it for a good day out.  The new plans for a stadium look to improve things considerably and if they go ahead on time, next season will be a different thing for Rotherham and those visiting their club.