Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has expressed his frustration at the way his club have been treated in their home city in recent times.
Following the demolition of Don Valley Stadium in 2013, the Eagles have led a peripatetic existence, moving from Owlerton greyhound stadium, to Sheffield Hallam University’s Bawtry Road sports ground, and to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
This season they will be playing home games at Belle Vue, the home of Wakefield Trinity, which was an absolute last resot, according to Aston.
“We had nothing else,” he told the Sheffield Star.
“I pull no punches on that. We tried every place in Sheffield to be able to get in.
“There were different reasons why it didn’t happen – the pitches weren’t adequate, some people maybe didn’t want us.
“It’s a sad fact that we had no alternative other than to play at Wakefield.
“We’re indebted to Michael Carter, the chairman at Wakefield, because he opened the door and allowed us to play there for 12 months.
“If you’d have asked me where we’d have played if we hadn’t got that, I wouldn’t be able to answer. “And that would have been a crying shame.”
Aston feels more optimistic now than he did towards the end of 2016, when the club’s future seemed to be hanging by a thread.
With a new stadium now being constructed at Don Valley, and the City Council and a major investor now working together more harmoniously with the club, the Eagles coach wants things sorted as soon as possible.
The longterm security of the club is at stake, he believes.
“Things are going in the right direction for once,” Aston added.
“That is something we need to deliver because how long will the Rugby Football League allow us to be outside the city?
“That’s the next question to be thrown at us and they’re already speaking about it now.
“They’ve given us permission to play at Wakefield this year, but in 2018 what are your plans?
“We need to be back in Sheffield.”