Mansfield Town could be sharing One Call Stadium with Rotherham Titans Rugby Union Club next season if Titans’ remarkable campaign ends in promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
The South Yorkshire club, beaten last weekend for the first time in 11 games and third in the Greene King IPA Championship, would have to move away from their Clifton Lane home if they reach the top flight because it does not meet the Premiership entry criteria.
Titans moving in with the Stags could provide Mansfield with a much-needed potential new stream of income. But worries would focus on how the pitch would cope with two sports on it every week, having just had two of the last three scheduled games postponed on there, Titans with a 14-game home schedule.
Stags’ stadium director Paul Broughton said: “We’re currently at the negotiations stage with Rotherham Titans, and if discussions go well then their sharing of the stadium will provide the club with another income stream.
“Titans were schedule to to visit One Call Stadium last night, before the match was postponed, to see how we operate on a matchday, particularly in our corporate areas.
“We are set for discussions with the Safety Advisory Group, our structural engineer, and our communications director Andy Sutton will also advise us on whether it is feasible.
“Requirements to stage rugby matches at the level which Rotherham Titans play at require grounds to be at a minimum of 10,000 capacity and so we are looking to increase capacity at One Call Stadium by a further 800 to ensure the criteria is met.
“Hopefully a mutual agreement will be reached soon which will benefit both Mansfield Town Football Club and Rotherham Titans. We will look at ways to enhance the pitch in the summer to ensure the playing surface is not totally affected by an increase in matches being played on it.”
Such are Rotherham’s current facilities that their fixture with Bristol on 1st March may have to be moved because Sky want to televise the game at 5pm and the ground does not have floodlights.
The Titans could also be required to play the home leg of their play-off semi-final in May, if they finish in the top four, away from Clifton Lane because their co-tenants at the ground, Rotherham Town Cricket Club, will have started their season.
The long-term issue is where they would play should they win promotion, with no viable options to move to in Rotherham.
The last time they were in the Premiership 10 years ago, Rotherham played at Millmoor, but that has since been vacated by Rotherham United and is in a state of deterioration.
General running costs and rent make it an unviable option for the Titans.
A ground share with the Millers at the New York Stadium is another avenue closed to them as the Millers do not want tenants.
It has forced chairman Nick Cragg and the club’s board to look at alternatives, which means ground sharing with football clubs outside the town and even the county.
“We are in discussions with various football clubs in South Yorkshire and North Notts,” said Cragg.
“We are in a dialogue with Mansfield and we also have a meeting planned with Barnsley.
“It is very, very sad that if we are to win promotion we would have to take the club out of Rotherham.
“But that’s the reality we face. There’s still a long way to go before we face that though.”
If they reach the play-offs, Rotherham may have to play the home leg of the semi-final and final away from Clifton Lane, depending on the cricket club’s fixtures.
They are in provisional talks to play those games at amateur football grounds in Rotherham.
Cragg added: “We are very proud of what we have achieved with the resources we have.
“The dialogue we are having with all parties, the union, the cricket club and other football clubs, is all very amicable.”