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OPINION: The final straw? Eagles facing uphill battle

Yesterday was another blow for Sheffield Eagles, in a long line of disappointments off the field. After discussions with the Olympic Legacy Park committee, the people who had promised the Eagles a ground of their own, the club found out that they had opted with another bidder and the final decision now lies with Sheffield City Council.

It’s a terrible state of events for Sheffield, who won’t receive any money from food or drinks purchases in the stadium if the Council side with the OLP’s preferred choice – Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Group.

So if the Eagles do move in, it will be an home of sorts but there will be no guarantee that the stadium will be up to RFL standards by the start of next season or even by the end of 2018.

Not being able to maximise profit in the ground via food and drinks sales is something that the club will have to deal with but the people behind the scenes at Sheffield will be working hard to find a place to play next year, considering the rumours about Wakefield’s move out of their ground.

The Eagles’ investor had said before the decision that he will stay by the club, no matter what the decision from the OLP and Council is. However, he/she must be slightly miffed at the result of the recent discussions when you consider Sheffield were promised a ground and now they won’t even be able to run it themselves.

The Eagles are currently playing at Trinity’s Beaumont Legal Stadium. Several ground changes in the past few years have hampered the squad, although they did make the top four in 2015 when playing in Doncaster.

Coach Mark Aston has stuck by the club, like he has done ever since the ill-fated merger between Sheffield and Huddersfield in 1999, just a year after the Eagles’ famous Challenge Cup victory starring the Lance Todd winning Aston.

This season has followed the same path as last year for the Eagles, with the side capable of great things but the bottom line is they’re too inconsistent.

But as previously mentioned, and as the column title suggests, there is now more things to worry about for the club and their hardy followers who may be small in size but not in voice.

Once again, it seems the city of Sheffield has shown that it simply doesn’t want a rugby team in its area despite the fact that the club’s last two permanent seasons at Don Valley brought with it two consecutive Grand Final wins.

It’s another awful situation for the Eagles.

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