Rotherham Titans face the prospect of playing Premiership rugby at Mansfield Town’s Field Mill next season if their remarkable campaign ends in promotion.
The South Yorkshire club, currently riding a nine-game winning streak and second in the Greene King IPA Championship, would have to move away from their Clifton Lane home if they reach the top flight because it does not meet the Premiership entry criteria. Such are the facilities that their fixture with Bristol on March 1 may have to be moved because Sky want to televise the game at 5pm and the ground does not have floodlights.
The Titans could also be required to play the home leg of their play-off semi-final in May – if they finish in the top four – away from Clifton Lane because their co-tenants at the ground, Rotherham Town Cricket Club, will have started their season.
The long-term issue is where they would play should they win promotion, with no viable options to move to in Rotherham.
The last time they were in the Premiership 10 years ago, Rotherham played at Millmoor, but that has since been vacated by Rotherham United and is in a state of deterioration.
General running costs and rent make it an unviable option for the Titans. A ground share with the Millers at the New York Stadium is another avenue closed to them as the Millers do not want tenants.
It has forced chairman Nick Cragg and the club’s board to look at alternatives, which means ground sharing with football clubs outside the town and even the county.
“We are in discussions with various football clubs in South Yorkshire and North Notts,” said Cragg.
“We are in a dialogue with Mansfield and we also have a meeting next week with Barnsley.
“It is very, very sad that if we are to win promotion we would have to take the club out of Rotherham. But that’s the reality we face.
“There’s still a long way to go before we face that though.”
If they reach the play-offs, Rotherham may have to play the home leg of the semi-final and final away from Clifton Lane, depending on the cricket club’s fixtures. They are in provisional talks to play those games at amateur football grounds in Rotherham.
The more pressing concern is the televised game with Bristol at Clifton Lane, with the club facing a bill of £15,000 to erect temporary floodlights.
“We are confident the game will be televised on Sky from Clifton Lane,” said Cragg.
“It will cost a lot of money to put the floodlights in. We have to ensure that what’s going out doesn’t outweigh what’s coming in.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved with the resources we have. The dialogue we are having with all parties – the union, the cricket club and other football clubs – is all very amicable.”