Telegraph Voices: Why hosting matches at a proposed England 2030 World Cup would put Sheffield on the international map  

There are growing calls for Sheffield to host matches at the 2030 World Cup – If England is successful in bidding to host the tournament. 

Following the team’s run to the semi-finals in Russia, the FA recently revealed it is considering putting together a bid for the country to stage the tournament in 12 years' time.

Charlie Mcgrath.

Charlie Mcgrath.

If a bid is tabled, and should it be successful, the Telegraph is today asking:- Should Sheffield host some of the matches? 

Here is what our readers think. 

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Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’ Mara 

Steve Basford, chairman of Hallam FC.

Steve Basford, chairman of Hallam FC.

Whilst I wasn’t born during England’s legendary 1966 World Cup victory on home turf, where Hillsborough was one of the host stadiums, I was however fortunate enough to be a 14-year-old pupil at Bradfield School during Euro 96 when games from Group D were shared between Forest’s City Ground in Nottingham and the Wednesday ground in S6.

It was so exciting as a child to see world class players in our city such as Portugal’s 2000 Ballon D’or winner Luis Figo, Denmark’s future Swansea City Manager Michael Laudrup, his younger brother and Glasgow Rangers star Brian and for Croatia AC Milan legend Zvonimir Boban and the enigmatic Davor Suker who went on to have a short stints at Arsenal and West Ham in the twilight of his career.

I also remember seeing a plethora of Danish, Croatian, Portuguese and Turkish fans all come together around town to create a carnival atmosphere. My niece and nephew will be a similar age in 2030 and I’d love them both to be able to experience this in Sheffield.

It would be an absolute travesty if Hillsborough, and even Bramall Lane too, wasn’t included as part of any prospective bid. Sheffield is the birthplace of football as we have the oldest and second oldest clubs with Sheffield FC and Hallam FC, plus the Owls and Blades are two of the oldest professional clubs around, being formed in 1867 and 1889 respectively. The FA, Football League and English Premier League need to start doing more to pay tribute to this fact.

Former referee Keith Hackett.

Former referee Keith Hackett.

Being a host city at such a tournament would also of course be a huge boon to the local economy and local businesses, as well as giving us the opportunity to showcase Sheffield as a city that’s great for tourists to visit and for global businesses to consider setting up branches here to make the economic benefits of hosting the tournament more permanent.

Keith Hackett, Sheffield’s former Premier League referee

I can remember watching the 1966 World Cup Final which was been played at Wembley Stadium. sat in the lounge of the bed and breakfast that I was staying in whilst on holiday in Torquay.

I was six years into my refereeing career and the game between England and West Germany acted has an incentive for me to dream that one day I would referee at Wembley in front of 100. 000 spectators.

Jared O' Mara.

Jared O' Mara.

I managed to achieve my ambition refereeing on thirteen occasions the highlight of course was the 100th FA Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

During my career I also often officiated the iconic game between Sheffield FC v Hallam FC that took place in the city where I was born and brought up. The son of a Sheffield steelworker.

Sheffield hosted World Cup games in 1966 at Hillsborough and European Championships in 1996.

During Euro 96 I was part of a team that created a pop-up Football Museum at Kelham Island. We had many artefacts on display and attracted many visitors from overseas.

When the song “Footballs Coming Home” is sung, there can be no doubt that Sheffield is the true home of football.

If the Football Association are to make a bid to bring the World Cup to England in 2030, then Sheffield must once again come to the fore and be part of the bid.

The costs are not small, but the rewards are huge.

The city and business then will come together and squeeze every opportunity to their benefit. We have some big players in this city who are capable of achieving this.

Business, football, politicians and media representatives need to thrash out the correct way forward.

I recently took part in a film for Chinese national television watched by over a billion people, with the support of Richard Timms we were able to highlight his club and Sheffield’s heritage.

That film has now been replayed on several occasions and the interest in Sheffield continues to grow. The World need to be reminded of Sheffield’s heritage and we need to start to beat the drum in unison to get our message across.

So, lets ensure that every connection that Sheffield has with the game is highlighted and that we become a destination centre for visitors before and after the World Cup.

Sheffield must be involved in the 2030 World Cup that for me is without question.

Now let’s make it happen

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Steve Basford, chairman of Hallam FC 

What an incredible opportunity for our city- the city of sport.

The home of football, the worlds oldest and second oldest clubs, Sheffield FC and Hallam FC, and the world’s oldest ground at Sandygate (dated to 1860), to be a host city for the 2030 world cup.

Let’s be honest we should be THE host city after all it is where it all started isn’t it?

It is an opportunity we should grasp with both hands as the benefits to the city in tourism spending would surely run into millions. The chance to show off our fantastic city and its incredible sporting heritage must not be missed.

All communities need to come together to make our case the best it can be, that’s our council, the private business sector and the tourism sector obviously, but what about us - the people of Sheffield.

 As a host city we could add something unique in my opinion, a mixture of real norther hospitality, with expert planning, organisation and execution.

 Yes, the two league clubs may need some improvement but there’s time for that, some infrastructure may need to change, again there is time for that. But the one thing we have right here right now is us, but then there’s no need for improvement there is there? 

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Charlie Mcgrath, Sheffield student and Derby County supporter

In the centenary year of the World Cup, it is only right that the sport returns home to Sheffield in 2030.

Football was born here. The 1858 Sheffield Rules introduced free-kicks and handballs; the city hosted the very first knockout tournament and Sheffield FC is the oldest football club in existence.   

This unique legacy has forged a football-mad city; just ask the tens of thousands of fans who watch United and Wednesday week in, week out.

After some renovations, Hillsborough and Bramall Lane would both make perfect venues. They are atmospheric old grounds and far better than the vast majority of the modern, soulless stadiums in England.

We already know Sheffield can throw a great event. The Crucible has been the home of the World Snooker Championship since 1977 and this year’s Tramlines Festival hosted around 30, 000 people each night.

Thousands watched England’s semi-final against Croatia at Devonshire Green and across the city’s pubs. Just imagine the parties – and the hangovers – if live games were held here.   

I moved to Sheffield two years ago. Like most people who visit the city, I love the friendliness of the place. The fact that Sheffield is the first City of Sanctuary in the UK for refugees and asylum seekers, shows just how welcoming this place is.

It is one of the most culturally diverse places in the UK. Footie fans can taste the world here – from Sushi to South American steak, Henderson’s relish to Halloumi fries - and all within a cheap bus ride or lung-busting walk across the hills.

Sheffield is often overlooked in favour of the northern footballing powerhouses like Manchester and Liverpool. But the reality is Sheffield can hold its own against any city in the UK and beyond. It’s time people realised the ‘Full Monty’ Sheffield of belching chimneys and unemployed factory workers is old hat.

This is one of  the most vibrant cities in the country - full of shops, bars and restaurants. Hosting World Cup matches would be the perfect opportunity to relaunch Sheffield on the world stage.