Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

What’s happening at Millmoor?

Posted by John Beech on August 7, 2009

Does any blog-reader know what is happening at Rotherham United’s traditional home, Millmoor? Is it just standing abandoned, failing to generate any revenue? Has it drifted into the pre-owned ferrous metals business of its owners?

Although I ask this partly out of idle curiosity, it does interest me to know what you would do with a stadium when you have forced the only obvious tenant out.

As with the previous posting, news would be appreciated.


3 Responses to “What’s happening at Millmoor?”

  1. John Beech said

    Thanks to a cross-posting on the WSC forum (1), news from one of its contributors, ‘longeared’, is:

    The ground is still there, more or less exactly as it was when Rotherham played there. I walked past it recently and the pitch still looked in a playable condition.

    There was talk of it becoming a greyhound stadium at one point but that seems to have gone quiet now.

    As he points out, “It’s difficult to know what anyone can do to really develop the site given that there is a scrapyard on two sides, a railway on another and a road on the other.

    Any other offers of information?

  2. The playing surface was (and probably still is) being maintained by Rotherham United’s old groundsman. There is believed to be a covenant on the land which means that it must be used for sporting purposes, which is why there was talk about racing greyhounds or playing Sunday football there. Rumours still persist that we will be returning to play there at some point, if we don’t complete our new stadium within the four-year time scale we have been set to return to Rotherham, but the current chairman has said that won’t happen while he’s in charge. It’s a shame, as the ground was ideally sited to be reached easily from the town centre on foot, or from the M1, and could have been modernised, but the ex-chairman, and owner of the scrapyard which surrounds Millmoor as well as Millmoor itself, was demanding such an extortionate rent for the ground that it’s not financially viable.

    • Mark Simmons said

      To be fair, there are two sides to the story

      The Booth family, used to support the club financially by guaranteeing losses of around £300k every year.

      For this, they were regularly subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical violence – because they weren’t “investing”

      A group of highly critical fans, pressured to have the club given to them for £1 – and were given a £600k interest free bridging loan by Mr Booth, and rented the ground for initially, a very modest peppercorn rent

      The new owners spent that £600k on a new stand they couldnt afford to finish and went bust.

      To get the club through the CVA, the Booths “wrote off” the £600k loan, but applied it to a new the new rent agreement .

      The current chairman did not see why he should be bound by that agreement, and believing there to be substantial European money available (which there may well be) was confident he could build a new ground, and would rather put that £600k toward the private finance required to release the funding – so he temporarily moved us to Sheffield – leaving the Booth family with a ground they can do very little with and which will, if the new ground is built, be pretty much worthless

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