Is Hanley The Answer To Rafa's Wishes?

Last updated : 20 July 2016 By Footy Mad - Editor

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Blackburn Rovers have accepted an offer of £5.5million from Newcastle United for defender Grant Hanley.

The 24-year-old was the subject of two previous bids by Rafa Benitez’s side, with offers of £3.5m and £4.5m turned down by Rovers.

But captain and player of the year Hanley is now set to depart for St James Park after a third offer was agreed on by both parties.

Hanley is set to sign a five-year contract at St James Park and would become Benitez’s sixth summer signing in the North East as he looks to lead the Magpies back into the Premier League at the first time of asking following their relegation from the top flight in May, joining goalkeeper Matz Sels, defenders Jesus Gamez and Isaac Hayden, midfielder Matt Ritchie and striker Dwight Gayle in the black and white.

The centre-half, who has two years left on his Rovers contract, has been the source of speculation about his future all summer and was linked with Fulham at the end of last season.

Hanley travelled to Austria with the Rovers squad for their pre-season training camp, but sat out the game against SV Ried with a knee injury and has not featured in the three matches since, including last night’s 1-1 at Rochdale.

He has made 200 appearances at Ewood Park after joining the club as a 16-year-old from Crewe Alexandra.

Coyle said last week that he didn’t want to lose his skipper, but the decision was ultimately out of his hands.

He added: “I know the way the world works when agents get to work and such forth.

“But all I would say is Grant Hanley’s our captain and we don’t want to lose him.

“I totally understand why Newcastle covet him but, as I said before, and I’ll repeat it, in my opinion they are nowhere near the valuation which I consider Grant Hanley to be.”

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Doncaster Station is just under two miles away so you are probably best taking a taxi to the ground.  If you do have time on your hands and you fancy the long walk (around 25-30 minutes) then as you come out of the station turn right and then keep straight on this road (the A 6182 Trafford Way) and you will eventually reach the stadium complex on your left. Colin Barrett informs me; 'The bus service has been improved for matchdays.  From around two hours before kick off there is a dedicated shuttle service from the Doncaster Interchange bus station, which is adjacent the train station and under the Frenchgate Shopping Centre. This is Route 75X and runs every 10 minutes direct to the Stadium. It leaves Stand C6 and the journey takes less than 10 minutes depending on traffic.  The bus stops in a lay-by at the Ground close to the Ticket Office and after the match leaves for Doncaster Interchange from the same place. Cost is presently £1.10 each way'.



From the A1(M) join the M18 Eastbound at Junction 35 (signposted Hull) or from the M1, join the M18 Eastbound at Junction 32.

Once on the M18, leave at Junction 3 and take the A6182 towards Doncaster (the stadium is well signposted from Junction 3 and is about one and a half miles away). You will pass a retail park on your left and then at the next island (which has the Lakeside Pub visible behind it) turn left onto White Rose Way. The Lakeside Shopping Centre is now on your right (the stadium is located directly behind the shopping centre). At the next island turn right onto the industrial estate and after passing the Tesco distribution centre on your right, turn right at the bottom of the road and the stadium is further down on your left.

Car Parking

There are just 1,000 car parking spaces at the stadium, which will mean that for the bigger games, parking will be at a premium. There are 60 parking spaces reserved for disabled fans, which must be booked prior to matchday. The stadium management are also giving preference for parking to those cars carrying more than one passenger, but apparently this won't be enforced. The cost of parking at the stadium is £5. Alan Wilson adds; 'Having parked at the stadium it took me nearly an hour to get out of the car park and back onto the main road after the game had ended'. Alternatively, a number of firms on the nearby industrial park, offer matchday parking at around £3-£4 per vehicle. If you happen to arrive a couple of hours before kick off then there is also some free street parking to be had in this area.

Away coaches are parked in Car Park number on the approach to the stadium. This is at a cost of £20. Coaches need to follow the stadium signs, then the entrance to the car park is directly ahead when you see the first group of car park stewards.

Post Code for SAT NAV: DN4 5JW



As the stadium is on the outskirts of town, then there is not much choice in the way of pubs. There is though the Lakeside, a Beefeater outlet near Stadium Way (you should catch sight of it, if you drive towards the stadium from Junction 3 of the M18). Chris Parkes a visiting Nottingham Forest supporter informs me; 'I had no problems with getting a drink in the Lakeside Beefeater, in fact there were more Forest fans in there than home fans before the game. We were also allowed in after the game for a pint or two while the traffic cleared.' The pub also has a separate restaurant section. Whilst David Rose adds; 'There is a bar in the bowling alley next to the Vue Cinema, which is situated on the other side of the lake'.

Dave a Norwich City fan tells me; 'There is a bar at the stadium itself, which we were allowed to go into. It does get very busy in the hour up to kick off but if you get in early, as we did, you should be okay. The bar has plenty of seating, as well as an organised queuing system to avoid the normal bustle at the bar. There was no food available though.' Alcohol is also available inside the stadium, including Carlsberg at £3 a bottle.

Ian Dutton a visiting Wigan Athletic fan adds; 'If going by train then in the town centre there is an excellent pub called the Cask Corner. It is a fantastic pub which is about a ten 10 minute walk from railway station. It serves a number of real ales and ciders. It doesn't offer food but you are allowed to bring in your own. The pub was so good that I nearly missed the kick off!' This pub which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide is located on Cleveland Street. Also near to the station is the 'Railway pub' on West Street, which is also popular with visiting fans.



Away fans are located in the Case Construction North Stand at one end of the stadium, where around 3,344 fans can be accommodated. If demand requires it then a portion of the East Stand can also be allocated. The view of the playing action, leg room, and facilities are all good, although fans are set well back from the pitch as there is a substantial tarmac looking track which surrounds it.

The concourses are a good size and there are a number of televisions on view to keep supporters entertained. Food included a selection of pies (including the Chicken Balti pie) and pasties at £3 each, plus burgers and hot dogs.

I found the stadium to be more atmospheric than the Belle Vue ground which was largely open to the elements. This is a bit unusual as most clubs that move to new grounds usually complain that the atmosphere suffers in the new arena, however at the Keepmoat this is not the case. The stewarding was relaxed on my visit and no problems were experienced. The pitch also looked in top condition, although you could still see the lines of a previous rugby league game. The club have their own troupe of cheerleaders called the Vikettes, who provide entertainment before the game and half time. Mark Chatterton a visiting Southend United supporter adds; 'It poured down with rain at our last match and it was noticeable around the stadium that those people sitting in the front rows of the stands, got particularly wet'.

Please note that cash is not accepted at the turnstiles, they are ticket only. Tickets can be purchased from the South Stand ticket office.