ROTHERHAM UNITED: Chairman so proud of his tour de force

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THERE is a spring in the step of Tony Stewart. It is only partly to do with the Rotherham United chairman’s running pedigree as a middle distance athletics champion good enough to compete at County level.

He’s light on his feet, betraying that running background but belying someone in his 60s who has an exceptionally busy and all-consuming business and personal life and likes to suck on a cigar.

But as he skirts around the pitch, up the steps and amidst the impressive - if not yet fully finished or furnished - hospitality areas and Boardroom floor - the adrenalin is flowing as he does yet another tour of the New York Stadium.

He’s done dozens of these already, proudly showing people round the stadium. That promise he’s delivered on.

You can see he never tires of doing it.

It’s a stadium he is totally responsible for. His baby. He’s been hands on throughout and every Millers fan - and plenty of others in the town - know the back on which they should be putting their pats!

It won’t be finished in time for tomorrow’s opening game. Still stuff to do but, although he’d have liked absolutely everything in place, he looks pretty unfazed.

We emerge behind the goal at the ‘home’ end. He sweeps an arm and looks round ... “Doesn’t it look beautiful,” he says, indicating a lovely green playing surface.

The nets are up too.

“Great view from up there behind the goal. Our fans will love it; be a great atmosphere in there,” he says with enthusiasm.

The angle of steepness is obvious. You seem high up even before you’re at the back but still feel on top of the pitch. Eagerly, the chairman explains the rake they were allowed on the ‘terracing’.

He moves to the Family Stand, the smallest one. Opposite, the Main Stand provides an impressive backdrop ... “and the people sitting here at the front will almost feel part of the game.”

Bit different to Don Valley then!

Past the away end and under the Main Stand where he points out the LED lighting. No need to say which company put those in!

Three levels it’s on, and he’s sweeping through through doors, espousing the virtues of the boardroom, hospitality area, the function room, the huge kitchen and catering area. Even into the toilets where he points out the finishing quality in there!

Like the finish on everything - the inches-wide wood-panelled windows in the TV studio, for example - he hasn’t skimped.

Head of ASD Lighting, he says: “I’m a manfacturer, we make quality products and I always say when we manufacture we make Ferraris.

“Well, GMI (the stadium builders) have built a Ferrari on this site and done us proud.”

He deserves his pride!