Sports Letters: Millmoor ranks among the best

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The Independent Online
Sir: I feel I must reply to the outrageous slur on our club made by Mr J Preston (Sports Letters, 28 January) after his visit for the FA Cup tie with Newcastle on 23 January. His description of our Millmoor ground as 'primitive and dilapidated' is not only disgraceful but also utterly untrue.

Over pounds 400,000 has been spent on ground improvements in the last three years; it has been regularly upgraded and inspected by Ground Safety officials and all the necessary work we have been asked to do in recent years has been satisfactorily completed. We have seating on two sides of the ground and it is acknowledged as one of the best and safest small capacity (13,000) grounds in the lower two divisions.

As for Mr Preston being in the Tivoli End stand, I would like to know how he, a Newcastle supporter, obtained his ticket for that part of the ground which was under segregation procedure for an all-ticket tie solely for home supporters. Newcastle's allocation of 4,300 was for the other end of the ground.

As a precaution in the Tivoli Stand that day, and because police knew Newcastle supporters had bought tickets down here - and there was evidence of forged tickets circulating in the North-east as well - police cordoned off an area large enough for 750 fans. They collected an estimated 120 Newcastle supporters in that area before kick-off time, always with the intention of taking them to the opposite end of the ground, which is what happened.

Neither police nor stewards are aware of any crush whatsoever among the 120 fans in the area for 750 before they were moved and the police officer in charge that day and the Ground Safety Officer said everything worked extremely well on the day. Indeed, the FA representative said he was delighted with the way things had gone on what was, for us, a big day and an important occasion.

If Newcastle fans urinated against a wall, that is not a problem we normally have encountered and as for his rather vivid description of a 'flood of urine cascading from above from those inside the stand', the construction of that stand would make that impossible and one wonders how much else of his letter is exaggerated.

Newcastle supporters made a marvellous contribution to an excellent day and we are sorry for any problems any of them may have had.

I am sorry you could not have been one of those numerous Newcastle supporters who stood or sat amongst ours without any problems at all.

Yours faithfully,

NORMAN DARNILL

Secretary

Rotherham United FC.

29 January.

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