Dorothy Hyman Athletics Stadium, Barnsley

There is one athletics stadium in Barnsley, named after Olympic medallist Dorothy Hyman.

In the middle is a football pitch, which has been used in the past for school cup finals etc.

Well now AFC Barnsley play there. They are a football team set up when it looked as if Barnsley FC might fold (on the lines of AFC Wimbledon Two Ton).

Now remember there are over 200 football pitches in Barnsley so...

1. Our club cannot train there if there is a match on.

2. The football club can book it for training and have exclusive use (ie no runners, long jumpers etc training at the same time).

3. We cannot have exclusive use if we book it.

4. They want the pitch to be bigger so are taking out some of the facilities inside the track, such as shortening the high jump approach. This means it will not be certified for club meetings etc.

5. They did the same thing in Barrow, then had to spend £2 million rectifying the error when they changed their minds.

6. The track used to be council run for the benefit of all. Now all the leisure centres, swimming pools etc are under a private company.

I've nothing against AFC Barnsley, which is now being bankrolled by Barnsley FC's new owner as a non-league club where they can keep an eye on players they've released but who might come good in the future.

But as I've said, we've one athletics stadium and 200 football pitches in the borough.

What hope of winning Olympic medals when private companies put greed before giving everyone a fair crack?


  • know what you mean BR

    The athletics track next to where I live - the council decided not to maintain it any longer AND suprise suprise the land is now up for sale to housing developers

    Its a disgrace
  • Sadly BR it does seem to be a sign of the times as our council owned track is in poor repair and yet the footy pitches around it are maintained to high standard! It's such a shame because I'm sure they could make money from it if they improved the facilities.
  • No consolation to you, Barnsley, but our stadium in Reading has just reopened after a big lottery-funded refurbishment (chunks of it got swallowed up by holes in the ground - subsidence from old mine workings).

    But I can understand your annoyance. Why do so many people think sport starts and ends at football?
  • If mining subsidence is the answer then we've a fair chance here!!!

    What did they mine in Reading?
  • Just a few words. If you don't know I work in an advisory role for the NHS and local authorities, including advice on redevelopment of existing properties.

    Avoiding this problem would need a complete reclasification of running in terms of how it is administered. The problem at the moment is that (quite rightly in my view) local authorities have to justify the value for money in any decisions that they make. Bluntly, if use as a football pitch or leisure facility generates more income than a running track then the council will go for it. If you think this is wrong, put yourselves in the shoes of a councillor standing on the doorstep, trying to explain to a voter why the council tax is higher than it would be because of subsidies to the handful of runners in a city.

    The way forward would be to bring running and athletics under the remit of the NHS. If expenditure can't be justified as a subsidy to one user group it CAN be justified as a health promotion idea. I will try to raise this idea next time there's a chance. In the mean time, if any of you can suggest ways of bringing us runners together with a collective voice to make a case for it, it could make a big difference.
  • Glenn, take your points but...

    1. It would be nice to see a councillor standing on my doorstep. The VFM argument gets lost when we're talking mayoral limos and expenses.

    2. It's not there for a handful of runners. As I said, the stadium is used for existing football matches. It's the way the whole thing will be redesigned to prevent us holding athletics meetings there so they can have a few extra yards of pitch.

    3. Interesting using running as health promotion. Could I be prescribed some Nike Ekidens? Mind you when I visit my GP it's usually an illness brought on by excessive training!

    Aren't the existing structures there in UK Athletics etc to put a voice forward?
  • In Nottm the Harvey Haddon Stadium is losing its cycle track so the athletics facility can be upgraded !

  • All those football pitches in Barnsley and they STILL haven't got a half-decent league team!
  • That's right Muttley. Unfortunately most of the premiership money was poorly spent and they've been in a downward spiral since. Can't believe they're doing so well this year after having no pre-season
  • BR - my sympathies. It is sad that money always seems to be the most important factor these days.
    I wonder if Brighton AC (Steve Ovett's former club) are having similar problems whilst Brighton FC are using the Withdean Stadium?

    AFC W's new stadium (Kingsmeadow), backs on to Kingston's track (local track for Sonia O'Sullivan and a host of passing-though Kenyans). We have expansion plans. I hope we don't try to encroach on their area.

    As a club formed 'for the good of the community' I hope we wouldn't try to ruin somebody else's sport.

    At the end of the day though, I think it comes down to the strength of the local council.

    Off topic, but I think their will be a few more 'AFC' type teams formed in future years. The football authorities are incapable of policing the game, so a few more chancers will come in and ruin once proud clubs. Did think that AFC Barnsley was a bit premature though.

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