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Don Valley Stadium

don valley stadium, don valley stadium today
The Don Valley Stadium was a sports stadium in Sheffield, England Named after the River Don, which flows nearby, the complex opened in 1990, ready for the 1991 World Student Games2

Designed by Sheffield City Council's Design & Building Services, it was built by RM Douglas Construction Constructed as the home stadium for the 1991 World Student Games, it later found a variety of uses The stadium and facilities provided a training base for the City of Sheffield Athletic Club and it was the home of the Sheffield Half Marathon It was also the home ground of: Rotherham United FC from 2008, until they moved to the New York Stadium at the start of the 2012–13 season; one of the stadiums used for home games by rugby league side Sheffield Eagles; and the former home of the Parramore Sports football team The stadium was also used for Channel 4's celebrity sports show, The Games, the Great Britain Spartans American Football used the Stadium during their 1994 and 1995 Football League of Europe Seasons, well as hosting the BritBowl, the championship finals of the British American Football League

At the time of its closure, Don Valley Stadium was the second largest athletics stadium in the UK - with a seated capacity of 25,000 - behind the London Olympic Stadium The stadium was situated on the Sheffield Supertram line, between Attercliffe and Meadowhall Centre

On 11 January 2013, Sheffield City Council announced that the stadium was to be closed and demolished as part of a £50 million budget-cutting measure3 An eleventh hour meeting was held at Sheffield Town Hall on 1 March 2013 Local and national politicians met to discuss the proposed closure and any possibility of preventing it A final decision was made that the stadium was to close in September 20134 and would be demolished from 21 November 2013 In October 2014, it was announced that the Olympic Legacy Park would be constructed on the site of the old Don Valley Stadium5 It will contain an Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre,6 an indoor sports arena, a sports pitch and stadium to be home of the Sheffield Eagles, Oasis Academy and a University Technical College UTC backed by Sheffield College and Sheffield Hallam University7


  • 1 The stadium
  • 2 History
    • 21 Closure
  • 3 As a football venue
  • 4 Rugby league venue
  • 5 Music venue
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

The stadiumedit

A view of the running track and surrounding seating

The whole of the running track and its infield was illuminated by the strongest floodlighting system in the country8 Each of the five lighting towers used was 148 feet 45 metres above track level and carried a lighting head as tall as a typical three storey house 36 feet;11 metres high All amenities for competitors and officials were at track level with all spectator facilities at natural ground level This meant, for example, that disabled spectators had level access from the main car park straight through to the mid level of spectator seating

The track was sunk 16 feet 49 metres below ground level and was sheltered by banks of spectator seating, creating a 'bowl effect' This not only gave ideal viewing conditions, but also offered athletes every opportunity of producing peak performances

This record-breaking philosophy has even had a bearing on the angle at which the track was set and its positioning was relative to the prevailing winds and the rise and fall of the sun9 The finishing line was positioned at the east end of the stadium which meant that in the afternoon and evening when most meetings are held the sun would always be at the athletes' backs in the finishing straight, as is the prevailing westerly wind10

VIP facilities were on a third level while the top-most of the four levels was set aside for hospitality boxes and press areas

The stadium's major focal point was its grandstand which held 10,000 spectators11 The main canopy roof had an area of 6,000 square metres and was made of Teflon coated glass fibre It was supported by ladder masts reaching 39 feet 12 m above the top of the grandstand, the latter were painted yellow and gave the stadium its unmistakable appearance They also gave completely uninterrupted sight lines around the bowl although coverage from rain in the bottom half of the stand could be problematic Underneath the main stand was located an 85 metres 93 yards indoor running/warm up track

Up to 15,000 spectators could also be accommodated on the open terracing giving a seated capacity 25,000 for sports events12 For musical performances the stadium could accommodate 15,000 seated guests, but had a maximum capacity of 50,000 if the field was used to accommodate standing fans13

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


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 1920s14 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 Summer Universiade15

Jan Železný threw 9566 metres 10462 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 line16

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 teams17 In both of these eventualities the seated capacity would have been raised to 45,000 In addition when the British government cancelled the proposed Picketts Lock stadium in Edmonton, London which was to hold the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, UK Athletics suggested to move the host city to Sheffield using the Don Valley Stadium, but the IAAF stated that having London as the host city was central to Great Britain winning the bid to host the tournament18 The championships bidding process was reopened as a result with the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland hosting the 2005 World Athletics Championships


Reports emerged in January 2013 that Labour Sheffield City Council were considering demolishing the stadium as part of a money-saving exercise It was suggested that regional athletics competitions would move to the city's smaller Woodbourn Road Athletics Stadium, which closed in 201119 The nearest major athletics stadium would then be the South Leeds Stadium in Leeds The council confirmed the closure of Don Valley Stadium on 11 January 20133 A final closure date of 30 September 2013 was set by Sheffield City Council in April of the same year20 and despite a petition signed by 5,922 people campaigning against the closure, plans were announced by Labour Party Councillor Isobel Bowler to start the demolition of the stadium on 21 November 201321 Demolition contractor Demex began the demolition on this date, estimating that the process would take approximately six months222324

The Liberal Democrat Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg opposed the stadium's closure, claiming the city council aimed to prevent the Save Don Valley Stadium group from obtaining central government grants in order to develop a business plan that would keep the venue open25 The UK Independence Party also expressed opposition to the stadium's closure and stated their intention to put together a campaign to save the stadium UKIP general secretary and Sheffield Branch chairman Jonathan Arnott commented that "there are so many examples of Council waste where cuts could and should be made without affecting local residents"26

As a football venueedit

Although Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday never played any games there, it was announced in June 2008 that Don Valley would host League football for the first time in the 2008–09 season Rotherham United played their "home" league games at the stadium until the completion of the New York Stadium in 201227 There were questions raised about the agreement, and the Football League stipulated that the club was obligated to move back to Rotherham within four years28

Rotherham United fans were allocated the 10,000 seat main stand which includes concourse, bar and executive facilities including lounges and boxes Away fans were allocated 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 200929

Sheffield Wednesday Women played an FA Cup Round 5 match against Bristol Academy but lost 8–030

Rugby league venueedit

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

Sheffield was included on the schedule for a game against Australia during their 1994 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France and were beaten 80–2 in the first game following the first test match at Wembley The Eagles had also played Australia in their mini 1992 Rugby League World Cup Final tour at Don Valley, going down 52–22 to the eventual World Cup champions

Sheffield Eagles became the first English team to beat an Australian team on English soil in the World Club Challenge in 1997 when they defeated the Perth Reds 26–22 on 15 June it would be one of only 8 wins by Super League clubs in the 65 games played in the tournament The club's record attendance was set in August 1997 when 10,603 spectators saw Sheffield play Bradford Bulls

On 16 October 2009, the Eagles announced the club would 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

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

Music venueedit

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 then, a number of famous artists have performed at the venue;

U2 played at this venue on 21 August 2009 with their 360 Tour The gig was broadcast live via Internet radio around the world

The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium thrice On 9 July 1995 as part of the Voodoo Lounge tour, 6 June 1999 for the Bridges to Babylon Tour, and again on 27 August 2006 during the A Bigger Bang tour The memorable part of the latter gig being a heavy rainstorm during the Stones' performance

Michael Jackson performed a sell-out concert at the stadium on 9 July 1997, during his HIStory World Tour for an audience of 52,000 people It was Jackson's first and only solo-performance in Sheffield

Celine Dion performed for one night in front of 50,000 fans on 6 July 1999, during her Let's Talk About Love World Tour

The Spice Girls performed two sell-out shows during their Spiceworld Tour on 11 and 12 September 1998 It was the group's first concert in Britain following Geri Halliwell leaving the group

In 2011, the Arctic Monkeys hosted a two-day comeback festival at the adjacent Don Valley grass bowl to celebrate the release of Suck It and See The band headlined and were supported on both days, by Miles Kane, The Vaccines, Dead Sons and Anna Calvi as well as local artists

Date Tour / Event Name Band Attendance Reference
6 June 1993 Def Leppard 50,000 31
20 August 1994 The Reggae Bowl 94 UB40
28 June 1995 These Days Tour Bon Jovi 31
9 July 1995 Voodoo Lounge Tour The Rolling Stones 31
18 July 1996 Wildest Dreams Tour Tina Turner
9 July 1997 HIStory World Tour Michael Jackson 52,000
26 July 1997 Paul Weller 31
11 September 1998 Spiceworld: The Tour Spice Girls 31
12 September 1998 Spiceworld: The Tour Spice Girls 31
6 June 1999 Bridges to Babylon Tour The Rolling Stones with Sheryl Crow supporting 32
6 July 1999 Let's Talk About Love World Tour Celine Dion 50,000 31
31 December 1999 – 1 January 2000 2000 GC Gatecrasher 25,000 31
13 July 2000 Twenty Four Seven Tour Tina Turner with Lionel Richie and John Fogerty supporting 31
6 July 2006 Stadium Arcadium World Tour Red Hot Chili Peppers 31
27 August 2006 A Bigger Bang The Rolling Stones 31
20 August 2009 U2 360° Tour U2 with Elbow supporting 52,000 31
10 June 2011 Arctic Monkeys: Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield Arctic Monkeys, with Miles Kane, The Vaccines, Dead Sons, Anna Calvi and others 33
11 June 2011 Arctic Monkeys: Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield Arctic Monkeys, with Miles Kane, The Vaccines, Dead Sons, Anna Calvi and others 33
2 June 2017 Milburn Tour Don Valley Bowl Milburn with Reverend & The Makers and Cabbage 7,000
14 July 2017 The Ride Tour Don Valley Bowl Catfish and the Bottlemen


  1. ^ "Venue Information" Sheffield International Venues Archived from the original on 4 June 2008 Retrieved 23 July 2008 
  2. ^ NSC2001-back-2pdffull citation needed
  3. ^ a b "Sheffield Council cuts will lead to 'massive change'" BBC News BBC 11 January 2013 Retrieved 11 January 2013 
  4. ^ "Jessica Ennis's Don Valley Stadium will close" BBC News BBC 1 March 2013 Retrieved 1 March 2013 
  5. ^ VIDEO: Details of £50million Olympic Legacy Park for former Don Valley site unveiled - The Star
  6. ^ Sheffield's Don Valley site gets £14m sports research pledge - BBC News
  7. ^ "£10m UTC college for Don Valley Stadium site" BBC News, Sheffield and South Yorkshire 6 August 2014 Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  8. ^ "Don Valley Stadium information" Archived from the original on 14 July 2014 Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  9. ^ "Don Valley Stadium | OpenBuildings" openbuildingscom Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  10. ^ Sheard, R; John, G; Vickery, B 2013 Stadia Taylor & Francis p 62 ISBN 9781136364068 Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  11. ^ "Historical: Don Valley Stadium – until 2013 – StadiumDBcom" stadiumdbcom Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  12. ^ "Don Valley Stadium on World Stadium Database" worldstadiumdatabasecom Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  13. ^ "Stadium Hire" Don Valley Stadium Official Website Sheffield International Venues Archived from the original on 31 May 2008 Retrieved 2 July 2008 
  14. ^ "Sheffield City Council - Archives & Local Studies Research Guide to the World Student Games" sheffieldgovuk Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  15. ^ "Sheffield's World Student Games £658m debt 'disaster'" BBC News Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  16. ^ "Jan Zelezny - 9534m and 9566m -- Sheffield 29/08/1993 - YouTube" youtubecom Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  17. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons 13 May 1999 "House of Commons - Culture, Media and Sport - Fourth Report" publicationsparliamentuk Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  18. ^ "Picketts Lock fiasco heaps shame on Britain - Telegraph" telegraphcouk Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  19. ^ "Jessica Ennis's Don Valley Stadium could face closure" BBC News BBC 7 January 2013 Retrieved 11 January 2013 
  20. ^ "Don Valley Stadium closure date set" BBC News BBC 3 April 2013 Retrieved 7 April 2013 
  21. ^ "Demolition 'date set for Sheffield's Don Valley stadium" BBC News 7 November 2013 Retrieved 8 November 2013 
  22. ^ "Don Valley Stadium demolition work has started" BBC News Online 21 November 2013 Retrieved 21 November 2013 
  23. ^ "VIDEO: Demolition of Don Valley Stadium" The Star Sheffield 21 November 2013 Retrieved 21 November 2013 
  24. ^ "Report - Don Valley Stadium - Sheffield - Feb 2014" 28dayslatercouk Archived from the original on 14 July 2014 Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  25. ^ Marsden, Richard 2 October 2013 "Delay Sheffield stadium axe, Clegg urges" The Star Retrieved 8 November 2013 
  26. ^ "Save Don Valley Stadium" UK Independence Party Sheffield Branch Archived from the original on 11 November 2013 Retrieved 7 April 2013 
  27. ^ "Move to Don Valley Stadium" Rotherham United Official Website 2 June 2008 Archived from the original on 6 October 2008 Retrieved 2 July 2008 
  28. ^ "Rotherham future remains unclear" BBC News 10 July 2008 Retrieved 1 May 2010 
  29. ^ "Rotherham 0–1 Exeter" BBC Sport 2 May 2009 Retrieved 18 June 2015 
  30. ^ Wikipedians, B City of Sheffield PediaPress p 227 Retrieved 12 December 2014 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Don Valley stadium: a list of concerts" Retrieved 11 January 2013 
  32. ^ "The Rolling Stones Don Valley Stadium Sheffield June 6th 1999" Retrieved 11 January 2013 
  33. ^ a b "Arctic Monkeys Setlist at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, England" Retrieved 11 January 2013 

External linksedit

  • City of Sheffield AC website
  • By Wikipedians, City of Sheffield, vol4 of 5
Preceded by
 West Germany
Succeeded by
Coca-Cola Field

Coordinates: 53°23′46″N 1°25′33″W / 53396064°N 1425798°W / 53396064; -1425798

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