Owlerton Greyhound Stadium is the new home to the Sheffield Eagles, it was announced today.
A two-year agreement sees the rugby league club returning to the venue where it first formed almost 30 years ago.
As part of the deal, the Eagles will play all home fixtures at Owlerton Stadium when the new Championship season kicks off in February 2014.
Sheffield Eagles staged their first ever fixture at Owlerton in September 1984 before leaving five years later following changes to crowd rules.
Ahead of the new season, improvements will be made to the pitch and changing rooms.
The move back to Owlerton, which has a capacity of 6,000, has been supported by Sheffield City Council and backed by the Rugby Football League – the governing body for rugby league in the UK. It follows the closure of the Eagles’ former home, Don Valley Stadium.
Mark Aston, the Head Coach and Chief Executive of the Sheffield Eagles, said: “It’s fantastic that we can announce that we are heading back to Owlerton for at least the next two years.
“We have always undertaken excellent community work within the city of which we are immensely proud and the agreements that we are making allow us to remain within the city, at a great stadium and able to continue our award winning efforts within the community.
“Owlerton has undergone major refurbishments over the past few years and I’m sure all our loyal fans will continue to support us as we aim to once again defend our Championship title.”
John Gilburn, managing director of Owlerton Stadium, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the Eagles back home to Owlerton – the place where it all started for the club almost 30 years ago. It is fantastic that we have been able to help the club stay in Sheffield and we look forward to working in partnership to help the Eagles realise their Super League ambitions.”
The Eagles’ first team training sessions and youth matches will continue to take place at Sheffield Hallam University’s sports complex, on Bawtry Road.
Ian Swire, chairman of the Sheffield Eagles, said: “I’d like to thank Sheffield City Council, the Rugby Football League and Owlerton Stadium for their excellent support, ensuring our smooth transition back to our original home at Owlerton Stadium and ensuring that our community work continues within the city.
“Their assistance has crucially ensured we are able to remain in the city of Sheffield which has been our primary objective since the announcement of the closure of Don Valley Stadium. We are all highly impressed with the huge improvements in facilities at Owlerton Stadium since we left there in 1989 to move to Don Valley Stadium and I’m sure all of our spectators, old and new, will enjoy the amenities that the stadium has to offer.
“We intend to play our fixtures on Sunday afternoons and look forward to creating a fantastic experience utilising the varied dining opportunities in the restaurants at the stadium to complement the superb entertainment supplied by the back to back Champions on the field.”