That is how Rotherham United chairman and benefactor Tony Stewart sees the future following yesterday’s official handover of the keys to the Millers’ £20m new home.
Stewart had been eagerly looking forward to the handover, which marked the end of the club’s four-year exile outside Rotherham after leaving Millmoor to take up residence at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.
United’s 12,000-capacity New York Stadium, built on the site of the town’s old Guest & Chrimes Foundry, will open its doors to supporters for the first time on Saturday when Barnsley are the visitors for the opening game at the Football League’s newest stadium.
With the capacity reduced by half to 6,000 for the visit of Keith Hill’s men due to the licensing authorities insisting numbers able to attend are gradually increased during pre-season, the game is expected to be a sell-out with the Reds having yesterday sold the last few remaining tickets of their allocation.
Chairman Stewart said: “The handover of the keys was something I’d looked forward to for the last four years. Watching the stadium being built over the last 12 months on a brown piece of land has been an exciting experience. I have loved every moment of it being built.
“The lounges on the first and second floor look like they belong in a five-star hotel and the all-round appearance of the stadium is testament to the builders. They have done a marvellous job and I am sure the supporters will be very impressed by the facilities they find.”
United’s return to their home town is a welcome boost for a club who next month will kick- off their sixth consecutive season in League Two – the longest stint they have had in the basement since the advent of four divisions in 1958.
Stewart added: “What does the new stadium mean to Rotherham? It is a new beginning. We have a new stadium and a new manager, and something like 10 new players.
“They are Championship players and Scottish Premier League players, too. Everyone is very excited about not only moving into the new stadium but also the season ahead.”
Rotherham’s new home has been named in honour of the area where it is based with the old Guest & Chimes Foundry that once occupied the site between 1857 to 1999 having made the distinctive fire hydrants that can still be seen today on the streets of New York.