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Doncaster Rovers fans ready to say ‘bye bye Belle Vue’

The old Doncaster Rovers ground. Picture: Andrew Roe

The old Doncaster Rovers ground. Picture: Andrew Roe

It is a site which has shared highs and lows with a generation of Doncaster Rovers football fans.

But next week looks set to usher in a new era for Doncaster Rovers’ former Belle Vue home.

The terraces which were once full of passionate fans have now been reclaimed by nature.

Yet traces of the old stands from which supporters cheered on stars from Clarrie Jordan to Brian Deane can still just about be seen, poking through the giant weeds and growing vegetation.

Doncaster Council will meet on Tuesday to decide on the fate of the pitch which saw Rovers football icons from Alick Jeffrey to Ian Snodin entertain the crowds through good times and bad.

Council officers are recommending that plans to build 151 homes on the site get the go-ahead on Tuesday.

It should finally bring to an end years of wrangling over the future of the site.

Rovers left Belle Vue in 2006, after 84 years there.

But complicated talks had to be held over the site which was owned by Doncaster Council, but leased to a private company.

Fans now believe it is time to move on and draw a line under the Belle Vue era, just over seven years after Rovers moved to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Rovers fan club official Paul Mayfield said the site would always hold a sentimental place in fans’ hearts.

But he says they accept it is time for it to be redeveloped.

He said: “I think I will be pleased to see it developed now. There is no chance of football ever being played there again. Now it is time it stopped being an eyesore.

“Every time you drive past you look at the terraces and think, ‘I used to go and watch football there’. Of course there is an enormous soft spot for the place, but time moves on.

“It is always sad to lose an icon, but it needs to be developed.

“It was dilapidated, but a lot of us grew up with it, and I think it had a better atmosphere than we have at the Keepmoat.

“I think Doncaster is a progressive town and wants to improve its image. There are a lot of memories, but I hope the redevelopment goes ahead.”

Iconic stadium was home to football team for 84 years

The 8.85 acre Belle Vue site was home to Doncaster Rovers from the 1920s.

It was one of the first grounds to have floodlights, which were installed after the FA lifted the ban on matches being played under floodlights in 1950.

At one time the pitch was the biggest in the Football League, measuring 119 by 79 yards, although manager Billy Bremner reduced the size of the pitch in 1981.

The last match at Belle Vue was a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest, on December 23, 2006, with Rovers’ defender Theo Streete scoring in a 1-0 win. It was the last goal at the venue.

The venue is now earmarked by Barratt Homes for houses and flats, on a new residential estate.

 

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