Football club brings good news

OVER the past 12 months Centenary Way has become the main thoroughfare into Rotherham and the landmark for the town is the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Everyone at the club is proud of the effect it is having.

Rotherham United are averaging crowds of nearly 10,500 and people have got out of their armchairs to come to matches. The overtures from businesses in the town — the pubs and the cafes — have been positive.

Football plays a role in bringing in people from all areas and creating interest from far and wide. Whether people travel here from Brighton or Bournemouth or elsewhere, they want a drink and a bite to eat and that all helps local business.

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Speaking as the managing director of a major hub that employs more 200 people, I’m glad the town has diversified from mining and steelworks. Now it’s about IT and many forms of new technology and there are other opportunities to grow and develop.

I have met the commissioners who have come in to manage Rotherham Borough Council. In the past we lacked a little bit of vision. People are listening and I can see Rotherham developing into a town we can all be proud of, better than it was before.

Back at the New York Stadium, we’re pressing on with trying to develop the site. The ideas, which include a hotel and call centre, will probably create upwards of 1,000 jobs.

It will involve taking down part of the derelict Guest and Chrimes foundry, which is Grade II listed.

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We want to create something new and beneficial while retaining some recognition of the building’s historic importance in Rotherham’s industrial past.

There are further meetings planned with architects and English Heritage and I have no problem working with them. We seem to be on the same side and we can now look forward to a possible jobs boost for Rotherham.

This town has had some low points lately. We’ve had bad news, now let’s all go out there and make some good news.