Sheffield Eagles have urged fans to support a new University Technical College which could be integral to redeveloping their old Don Valley Stadium site and providing facilities fit for a potential return to Super League.
Chairman Ian Swire has spoken of the success the Championship club has enjoyed since its enforced switch to Owlerton Stadium this year.
There has been 62 per cent more money banked from season-ticket sales compared to their last season at Don Valley and also “considerable” increases in gate receipts from their first two home matches compared to corresponding fixtures in 2013.
Swire – whose side host Doncasterby on Sunday – said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone associated with Owlerton Stadium for coming to our rescue late last year when there was a very serious threat to the very existence of the Eagles.
“Owlerton offered us a home and our supporters responded in an extremely positive way. However, we cannot disregard the fact Owlerton is not, and never will be, a rugby stadium.
“The Eagles are a fiercely ambitious club and our aim is, and always has been, a return to playing Super League clubs on a week to week basis.
“We are frequently asked if this is a realistic ambition and our response is always the same; we are endeavouring to make this club the best it can possibly be.
“The chosen method of restructuring Super League and the Championship was not our preferred option but we intend to fully exploit the opportunities that it presents. With this in mind it is vitally important we are fully involved in the development of a new community stadium on the Don Valley Stadium site.”
An Olympic Legacy Park for Sport, Health Sciences and Wellbeing is being proposed for the site and at the heart of it will be a multi-sports community stadium. There will be a new through-school, which will be fully integrated into the community stadium to ensure physical activity is embedded within its fabric.
Sheffield Hallam University are evaluating the chance to relocate part of its Centre for Sports Engineering Research in the stadium, along with a new University Technical College for Human Sciences and Digital Technology.
Swire continued: “We are working on plans for a clubhouse to be incorporated into the stadium and seeking help from our supporters and sponsors.
“The first stage is for people go online and for them to complete a short questionnaire in support of the proposed UTC at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SheffieldHSDT-UTC.”