SLAPSTICK siblings the Chuckle Brothers tried the first seats at Rotherham United’s new stadium as the venue was hailed a ‘magnet’ for the town.
Rotherham comedians Paul and Barry Elliott yesterday toured the £20m New York Stadium, which club bosses have pledged will be a focus for events, and not just football, in the town centre.
The lifelong Millers fans, now club honorary life presidents, checked on the site’s progress to make sure there was ‘no slacking’ and tried the first of the stadium’s 12,000 seats to be built.
Paul told The Star: “I wouldn’t say there is a better stadium in the country.
“It has got to be good thing for Rotherham. The town has always had a football team and not to have our own stadium is ridiculous.
“The stadium is absolutely fantastic, even better than we thought it would be.
“We can’t wait for the first game here.”
The New York Stadium – so called as its surrounding area was historically dubbed New York by locals – is due to open officially in July in time for the 2012/13 season.
A hotel, gym and pub are potential proposals with visitors expected to attend weddings, exhibitions, conferences and events there.
It is located close to Rotherham’s central train station - also to be relaunched soon after a revamp.
Andrew Denniff, executive director at the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said the stadium would attract more businesses and visitors to events such as pop concerts.
He added: “Rotherham is already on the map, and has been for some time, but the stadium will bring the football team back into town and act as a very strong magnet for the town itself.
“We have two key developments here which in essence could move the centre of the town a little bit - people will gravitate towards the new stadium, they will want to be part of it.”
Club chairman Tony Stewart has vowed the state-of-the-art community stadium will be used seven days a week.
He praised the rate of development at the club and said a ‘long awaited return to Rotherham’ was very close.
He added: “I know from speaking with Paul and Barry that they are just as excited as every other supporter about moving into this exciting new era for the club.”