Tearful Aston issues stark Sheffield warning

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has taken tearfully to the radio airwaves to issue a stark warning to rugby league fans in the Steel City.

With investors having walked away from the club due to what Aston believes are bureaucratic issues, and no stadium to play in, the club’s future is non-existent.

“I reckon in a month’s time, there’ll be no Sheffield Eagles, unless we get this sorted,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“It breaks my heart. We fought really hard when the merger happened. Where do we go?”

Aston, who was clearly emotional during the interview, especially near the end when his voice choked and he seemed tearful, was at pains to stress what was really going wrong at the club.

“Many people are thinking that because we’ve gone full-time, we’ve overspent,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“It’s not the case.

“A few years ago when Don Valley was knocked down, I went to a meeting with Richard Caborn [former Sheffield MP and Sports Minister], and spoke about what happens with Sheffield Eagles now, and whether we were going to have to go out of the city.

“At that point, the answer was no, we need to build a facility for Sheffield Eagles, and that’s where it all started.

“What unravelled with all of this was that the Olympic Legacy Park was coming on, and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of something that’s going to put Sheffield on the map.

“I was informed we needed to get an investor , which we did, who was willing to not only fund the club, but put at least £7million into building a stadium.

“We thought we did, we thought we’d cracked it.

“On the back of that, last season was probably our most successful season since we reformed in 1999/2000, after the merger.

“In September last year, the investor decided he wanted to take us full-time.

“We changed the full squad, and we had a new home coming in a year or so, so everything was going really, really well.

“Then the investor, to be fair to him, got a little bit fed up. He got messed about a little bit.

“He couldn’t find out details on the lease of the land, and what needed to be done, and he walked away.”

The full interview on BBC Radio Sheffield can be heard HERE.

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