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MADE IN SHEFFIELD South Yorkshire’s best kept cinematic secret


Coaching the stars of tomorrow

win £1000s WORTH of prizes page 31

SPRING SPECTACULAR Family fun in Rotherham


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Welcome SPRING 2009

Welcome The snowy blanket of winter has finally been cast off and the welcome glimmer of sunshine is at last beginning to thaw the hills of South Yorkshire. It’s times like this that we’re reminded that spring is the season of renaissance and rejuvenation and, although belts are tight and purse strings even tighter, spirits remain high. The Go! Team, too, are feeling refreshed and ready to venture out into the great outdoors. Join us on our Grand day out in Rotherham on page 20, where we’ll be pulling on our walking boots for the Annual Ravenfield Ramble and flying kites in Clifton Park. And we’ll be travelling there by public transport as well – all too often, the car keys are picked up without thinking: ‘Is there a better way to make this journey?’. Is car always best? on page 26 gives us some food for thought. We’re also celebrating home-grown talent this issue – and there’s plenty to celebrate. The spotlight shines brightly on one of the region’s best kept secrets, Warp Films (page 14) as we meet the chaps behind Sheffield’s very own Bafta-award-winning production company. Next up, Rotherham local and primetime telly star Dean Andrews gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes in our entertaining Profile interview (page 10). South Yorkshire is a hotbed for budding sport stars too – Sheffield Eagles rugby league helmsman Mark Aston shares his enthusiasm for youth development in Where Eagles dare (page 32), while Baize of glory trains up the snooker champs of tomorrow on page 22. Don’t forget, we’d love to hear from you here at Go! – your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Drop us a line at, or write to us at the usual address. And as always, remember to stop by the Competition page (31) for your chance to win £1000s worth of prizes!

Contact us: If you’d like to find out more about Go! Magazine or register your interest in receiving future issues, please email or write to us at the following address: Go! Magazine 11 Broad Street West Sheffield S1 2BQ

Partners: South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive Councils: Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Sheffield City Council Operators: First South Yorkshire Stagecoach Yorkshire Supertram Northern Rail Arriva Yorkshire B Line Dennys Isle Coaches Powells Sheffield Community Transport South Yorkshire Motors T M Travel Tates Veolia Wilfreda

Happy reading! The Go! Team

Spring 2009


This issue...

20 Features

Warp this way

Go! meets up with the minds behind Sheffield’s awardwinning Warp Films, South Yorkshire’s very own Bafta hothouse.

14 Grand day out

Museums, markets and Magna, not to mention Les Mis – Rotherham’s got it all this springtime.

Baize of glory

Rack ‘em up: in praise of our very own unsung heroes at the World Snooker Academy.


Spring 2009

Is car always best?

Do I really need my car keys? Go! busts the myth and gives us the inside track on sustainable travel.

CONTENTS SPRING 2009 Travel tips Look out for our expert travel tips for the best way to get around by Bus , Train or Tram .

For further travel tips call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51 or visit


£1000s WORTH OF PRIZES Page 31

10 32

Regulars News

Catch up on the latest happenings in the world of public transport.

What’s on

The pick of the season’s best events from around the region.


Rotherham lad and Ashes To Ashes star Dean Andrews talks to Go! about blogging, cabaret and fly-fishing.

A day in the life of...

A Travel Assistant tells us what it’s like being an American in South Yorkshire.


Go! readers have their say.


Win £1000s worth of prizes!

Last stop

Flying high with Sheffield Eagles’ main man, Mark Aston.

Spring 2009


News DJ Jeff moves up a gear with Stagecoach!

Makeover for Rotherham Central ROTHERHAM Central railway station is to be given a £7.6 million makeover which will bring it up the high standards enjoyed elsewhere in South Yorkshire. Planning chiefs have approved plans which will see the present 1980s building replaced with a new station, ticket office, passenger lounge, toilet and shop, as well as new lifts and stairs. There will also be CCTV cameras, better lighting, plus improved information signs and screens. New canopies will mean that passengers will have better 6

Spring 2009

shelter from the elements while they wait for their train and there will be a bigger, better pedestrian entrance, disabled parking and cycle stands. The redevelopment follows schemes in Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster which have seen their stations revamped over the past few years. Funding for the scheme is coming from Yorkshire Forward, the European Regional Development Fund, the South Yorkshire Local Transport Plan and the Department for Transport. Nearly half a million people a year use Rotherham Station and upgrading the environment

should help to improve the first impression rail users get of the town. Work is scheduled to begin in November this year and should be complete by February 2011. The station will remain open throughout the works. David Young, Head of Transport Integration at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), said: “The innovative design for the station has the potential to be a landmark as well as serving a function. “Once complete, the redeveloped railway station will bring a host of new facilities and benefits to passengers.”

A veteran radio DJ is in top gear after fulfilling a lifelong ambition with the help of leading bus operator Stagecoach Yorkshire. Jeff Cooper, who has worked at a number of stations across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, swapped radio studios for steering wheels when he realised his ultimate dream of learning how to drive a bus. Jeff, who now runs his own media company and on-line Rock station, radio2XS, explains: “One of the regular callers on my show last year was a bus driver. During the many chats we had, I mentioned that when I was young, driving a bus was something I always wanted to do. Eventually, he challenged me to try it.” Stagecoach offered to put Jeff through a two-week intensive course culminating in a full Bus Driver’s (PCV) driving test. “It normally takes several weeks but I only had two weeks available, so it was an intensive regime of 7am starts, induction and instruction on an enormous 40-foot, 11-tonne bus. It was terrifying at first. “I was thrown in at the deep end with all the other beginners who discovered that if you don’t pass either first or second time, you’re out. “There was masses of technical data to learn, including an compulsory EU exam on how to check for smuggled drugs and illegal immigrants: an important part of driving a local bus in 2009, apparently!” Paul Lynch, managing director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “Jeff really responded to the challenge. Swapping a radio studio for a bus driver’s cab must have been a shock but he threw himself into it! After some pretty intensive instruction, he passed the test first time and he’s now intimately acquainted with many of our South Yorkshire bus routes.” Jeff added: “I’m talking to Stagecoach about learning one or two routes properly, then maybe I can do some relief bus driving! It is certainly a good way to get to know our listeners and where they live!”

NEWS SPRING 2009 brief Clampdown on cable theft SINCE April 2008 thieves have targeted vital railway equipment in South Yorkshire almost five times a week. Now Network Rail is joining forces with train operators, British Transport Police and the charity Crimestoppers to ask for help from the public to prevent the theft of signalling cables – a crime that is causing unacceptable delays. David Pape, route director for Network Rail, explained: “Despite the falling price of scrap metal and additional security measures in place, the theft of cables used in signalling systems on the railway remains a major source of delay to passengers and cost to the industry.

Sheffield markets

SHEFFIELD has hosted markets for over 700 years, and the popularity of markets continues to grow. As the credit crunch bites and customers demand better value, markets are shining examples of where to buy great quality fresh food, and the ability to buy the amount you want rather than a pre-packed quantities. Over 120,000 visit Sheffield’s indoor markets every week, a number that is steadily increasing. Castle Market in the City Centre is easily accessible with numerous bus stops on Haymarket, a FreeBee stop outside and is just a minutes walk from tram stops at Castle Square and Ponds Forge. There is also a discount parking scheme for shoppers. Ian Bingham, from Bingham and Brownes stall in Castle Market takes a great sense of pride in serving Sheffield’s locals. He said “I get a real buzz from working in the market as there is a

“We are determined to do all we can to stop these thieves - including building a new depot to help us respond more quickly when a theft does occur. “However this is a battle we cannot win on our own and today we have announced a new partnership with the charity Crimestoppers which will allow us to offer up to £1,000 reward to anyone who helps bring about the conviction of these selfish thieves who are bringing misery to hundreds of rail travellers in the north east.” Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.

great sense of community. The customers always enjoy a bit of friendly banter with the traders, and it’s great we have so many regulars”. The Market Place at Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre has its own bus interchange and tram stop. Inside you will find over 90 stalls with fresh food, cafés, nail bars and hairdressers, key cutting and shoe repairs, clothing pet supplies and more. For further information call 0114 273 5281.

Bus Apprentices Win Top Awards TWO First South Yorkshire apprentices have come out top of the class after scooping top prizes at one of the country’s most prestigious industry training colleges. Matthew Justice and Shaun Hockenhull beat of competition from 220 other students to be chosen as Apprentices of the Year at the City College Coventry awards ceremony, held at Coventry Cathedral.

The awards are open to all 220 students from the PSV course that attend City College Coventry and include young apprentices from major bus companies such as First and Arriva, as well as other smaller private bus firms. The college is seen as one of the bus industry’s leading training establishments and a qualification from the college is often a stepping-stone to a successful career in the transport industry.

Hero cleaner wins award A First South Yorkshire cleaner whose heroic actions saved the life of a woman caught in a house fire has been rewarded for his actions. Ian Constable’s bravery in risking his own life to save a Doncaster woman in her 50s has been voted the monthly winner of First’s Superstars competition, a competition that rewards staff for acts of good work. Ian was walking home at 1.30am (1st November 2008) when he spotted smoke coming from a house in Devonshire Road, Intake. There seemed to be nobody about and so he knocked on the window and then the front door but there was no answer. Smoke was billowing from the house and so, worried people may be trapped inside, he tried the front door that opened immediately. Battling through smoke, he made his way to the living room where a lady in her 50s was apparently asleep on a settee, which itself was emitting smoke. He managed to rouse the woman, who was in shock, and led her by the hand to safety. Ian, aged 47, a cleaner for First at its bus depot in Leger Way, Doncaster, could be in line for a 5 star worldwide holiday worth £5,000.

Children are the future! Doncaster swept the board at an awards ceremony in January after talented pupils from primary schools in the borough were amongst just a handful of South Yorkshire children congratulated for their creative ideas about futuristic public transport. Jamie Isle from Hayfield Lane Primary School came up with the winning entry for the competition, organised by SYPTE, designed to promote public transport in South Yorkshire. He has won a trip for him and his classmates to the National Space Centre and will see his winning design displayed on buses and at interchanges throughout South Yorkshire. Ellie Robinson and Sophie Jarvis, both from St Alban’s Catholic Primary School, and Ellie Burdall from Barnby Dun Primary School were all named as runners-up.

SYPTE is ‘one to watch’ South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has been named as a ‘rising star’ at the Best Companies Awards in London. The organisation was designated as ‘One to Watch 2009’ by the awards, which select the top 500 companies in the country. Best Companies defines ‘ones to watch’ as “organisations determined to be brilliant employers. The ones to watch are companies reaching for the stars and pretty soon they will make it. Keep your beady eyes on these guys as they’re the top 100 best companies of the future.”

Spring 2009



March-May ‘09 BBC Walking with Prehistoric Life Exhibition

Bringing together dinosaurs, beasts and monsters, this exhibition provides the opportunity to get up close and personal with the creatures from the BBC’s Walking With… natural history programmes. Family fun with an educational twist. Open daily from 10am to 6pm until 15 March. The Dome, Doncaster. Tickets from £5, call 01302 370 777 for information. Bus

services 25, 55, 57, 58, 91 & 99 run every 8mins, Mon-Sat until 6pm, then every 30 mins.

Mark Watson: All the Thoughts I’ve had Since I was Born

One of Britain’s most talked about comedians, quick-witted Mark Watson returns to the road with a brand new show where he describes his attempts to reclaim his sanity. 19 March, Sheffield City Hall. Tickets from £15, call 0114 2 789 789 for details. Bus Tram

all services to Sheffield city centre (Church Street/High Street). all routes (City Hall).

Mother’s Day at the Castle

Treat your mum for lunch at Wentworth Castle in the newly restored 18th century Long Barn, followed by a walk in the gardens to experience the fresh sights and smells of spring. Wentworth Castle Gardens are open 10am-4pm with lunch from 12pm. 22 March, Wentworth Castle Gardens, Barnsley. Call 01226 776040 for details. Bus

service 23 runs every 2 hours, 7 days a week. Stops at Lowe Lane, near Stainborough College.

Lionel Ritchie at Sheffield Arena

Following the success of his Coming Home Tour in 2007, Lionel Ritchie will be performing at Sheffield Arena as part of his 2009 European Tour. The show supports the release of his new album Just Go, with some of his classics thrown in for good measure. 22 March. Tickets from £35, call 0114 256 5656. Bus Tram

service 69 runs every 20mins Mon-Sat until 6pm; every hour evenings and Sundays. Yellow route runs every 10mins until 6pm, then every 20mins.

Torvill and Dean: Dancing on Ice - The Tour

Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice - The Tour will be returning to the Sheffield Arena for six spectacular shows between 2-5 April 2009. In May 1994 Torvill and Dean performed at the Sheffield Arena over 10 days breaking all box office records for an ice show selling over 100,000 tickets. 25 years on, the skating legends are back to perform their stunning Bolero routine that won them Gold at Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984. All of the celebrities from TV’s Dancing On Ice will be choreographed by the pair, who will also perform several of their favourite routines at each performance. Olympic gold medal winner Robin Cousins leads the panel of rink-side judges. Sheffield Arena. Tickets from £32.50, call 0114 256 5656 for details.

Bus Tram


service 69 runs every 20mins Mon-Sat until 6pm; every hour evenings and Sundays. Yellow route runs every 10mins until 6pm, then every 20mins.

Spring 2009

Hidden gem # 05

For further travel tips call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51 or visit

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam

Watch the gravity-defying acrobats and clowns tell the story of a young girl in the commotion of the modern world. Sheffield Arena, 9-12 April. Tickets £50, call 0114 256 5656. Bus Tram

service 69 runs every 20mins Mon-Sat until 6pm. Yellow route runs every 10mins until 6pm, then every 20mins.

Easter Egg Hunt at Brodsworth Hall

Gusto Italiano , Sheffield city centre This bustling city cen tre find is the perfe ct pre-show eatery. Hearty, home-cook ed Italian fare is ma de with the finest, freshest ingredients, lov and chef, Ester, who ingly prepared at the hands of owner tog the warmest of welco ether with partner Saverio, offer me Saturday 8am-9:30p s. Open Mon-Fri 7am-9:30pm and m. Church Street, Sheffi Booking advisable. eld; 0114 275 1117 Bus all services to Sheffield city ce ntre (Church Street/H Tram all routes (Ca igh Street). thedral).

Take part in the Easter egg treasure trail around the labyrinth of magnificent gardens, and keep your eyes peeled for the Easter bunny! 10-13 April. Brodsworth Hall, Doncaster. Call 01302 722 598.


services 203 & 206 up to 6 journeys each way, Mon-Sat only.

Justin Moorhouse at The Last Laugh Comedy Club

Catch comedian’s comedian Justin Moorhouse on his latest tour when he stops off at The Last Laugh Comedy Club on 1-2 May. His tiger face on Channel 4’s Phoenix Nights, sell-out tours across the North West and a multi-awardwinning radio show have already made him a household name in his native North of England. Firmly established as one of the hottest names in comedy, Justin made his long awaited Edinburgh debut in 2007 with his third solo show Who’s The Daddy? and has since amassed a clutch of rave reviews and sell-out shows. Unmissable comedy! 1-2 May, The Last Laugh Comedy Club, Sheffield City Hall. Tickets £15, call 0114 223 3752. Bus Tram

all services to Sheffield city centre (Church Street/High Street). all routes (City Hall).

Wath Festival

For the 37th year, this legendary folk and world music festival kicks off on 1 May. With music, dancers and street entertainment, a hog roast, workshops and school performances, this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. 1-5 May, Montgomery Hall, Wath. Call 01709 879 211 for more details. Bus

services 72, 200, 220, 222, 226 & 229 (services to Wath bus station) up to every 10mins.

Girls Aloud at Sheffield Arena

Girls Aloud have hit the road and are coming to Sheffield with their Out of Control Tour. Singing hits from all their albums, the girls are ready to make this their best tour yet. 13-15 May. Tickets from £30, call 0114 256 5656 for details. Bus Tram

service 69 runs every 20mins, hourly after 6pm. Yellow route runs every 10mins til 6pm, then every 20mins.

A table for 6 at last laugh page 31

Spring 2009


DEAN ANDREWS With the second series of Ashes To Ashes about to air, Rotherham’s Dean Andrews takes a break from filming to talk to Go! about fly-fishing and the dangers of travelling in remote Pakistan... ean Andrews is best-known for his role as bullish misogynist cop Ray Carling, who burst on to our screens in BBC drama Life On Mars. Set in Manchester in 1973, the show was hugely successful and ran for two series, with John Simm starring alongside Dean as a modern detective stuck in the seventies. The sequel, Ashes To Ashes, finds DS Carling in 1980s London alongside hostage negotiator Alex Drake, played by Spooks star Keeley Hawes, who finds herself propelled into the seedy underworld of the big city. But Dean’s talents don’t stop at acting, as the Go! Team soon found out...


Spring 2009

Did you always want to be an actor? Acting wasn’t something I’d ever thought about – living in Rotherham, it isn’t really a job you aspire to – when I was growing up, most people were going into the steelworks or the pits. I did always want to sing though. My Dad did the club circuit, and I love all the big band swing stuff. I was a professional singer from 1982, first in the working men’s clubs and then cruise liners and holiday camps. So how did you get into acting? A stroke of luck! The film director Ken Loach came to Sheffield in 2000 to make a film called The Navigators, and he likes to use ordinary people in his films. He goes to entertainment agencies to find them, because he believes that singers and comedians have natural timing and a way of telling stories. A few club acts from the area ended up with parts in the film, and I ended up with the lead role, which created a lot of interest. One of the other boys in the film, a Sheffield lad called Tom Craig, took his agent to the premiere in Leicester Square and she pointed me out, saying she’d enjoyed my performance and asked if she could represent me. The rest is history! Did you continue to sing? I was still doing the clubs while we filmed Life On Mars – I’d film Monday to Friday, then sing on a Saturday night. I stopped singing professionally when we started filming Ashes To Ashes because we were on location in London. I do miss the

profile Dean andrews

singing but not the 120 mile round trip to sing for an hour! You have a very varied career and have been in some very popular shows, such as Eastenders and Casualty. What was it like to work on such established shows as a relative newcomer? It was quite intimidating at first. It helped that I’d worked with Ken Loach – most people in the acting business are big fans of Ken and have an ambition to work with him. They were interested in me because they wanted to know his techniques and how he worked, so I was accepted quickly. I didn’t give away that I was a new actor, I wanted them to have faith in me! Have you ever been star-struck by anyone you’ve worked with? Oh yes! I played opposite Brenda Blethyn in Between the Sheets, a drama based on Lady Chatterley’s Lover. She was lady of the manor and I was the ‘bit of rough’, and we fell in love. Working alongside an actress who’s been nominated for two Oscars was amazing. One of my earliest jobs was in Clocking Off, Paul Abott’s Bafta awardwinning drama series, and I was also in a Channel 4 drama called Buried with Lenny Jones which also won a Bafta. It’s brilliant for me, because I’m always learning. There are so many different aspects of this business and how it works. Working on Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes for the last three or

We deserved that Bafta, but it just goes to show that one man’s wine is another man’s vinegar – I pay more attention to viewing figures: Ashes To Ashes got 6.5 million.

four years, I’ve been able to learn more about the technical side of things, like lights and how to move to look best on the camera. It’s an ongoing process but it never stops being exciting. How did you get the role in Life On Mars? I got a call from my agent, went along for the audition and met the team. It was as simple as that really. Personally, I think I’m ideal for the part physically, but I hope that personalitywise I’m the complete opposite to Ray Carling! We have nothing in common – I’m not bullish

or outspoken, I live quietly with my wife and daughters, who are 23 and 17, and I spend my spare time fishing! I’m flattered that they thought I could play the role though. How did your life change following your appearance in such prime time hits? With shows like that you do get recognised on a daily basis. The beauty of it is that people enjoy the show so much you don’t get any variations in their opinions, and they only have positive things to say. I’m very lucky to get such positive feedback. What can we expect from the new series of Ashes To Ashes? It’s the same journey for Alex Drake, she’s still trying to get back to her daughter in the present day, and her story moves on somewhat. I can’t say much more, but there are some fantastic guest artists, some brilliant fight scenes and some great shoot-outs! You were filming in Pakistan recently for the film Khandahar Break. Can you tell us about that? It’s basically about two British guys, ex-military, and they’ve been working out in Afghanistan clearing mines. They have a beautiful Muslim interpreter and my friend in the film falls in love with her. It’s very much against her culture and causes all sorts of problems in her society, and then it’s a race against time to get away from the situation. Spring 2009


PRofile Dean andrews The schedule and conditions sound quite gruelling – how did you cope? I don’t really know to be honest! You’re quite well looked after in this business so I wanted to challenge myself in a situation that was out of my comfort zone. I thought this project was the perfect opportunity but I didn’t realise the dangers – we were filming in very remote parts of Pakistan, close to the mountains and the border to Afghanistan. People carried AK47s like we carry mobile phones, it was very intimidating. A lot of villagers hadn’t seen anyone like us before, so it was difficult to cope with the attention we received.

Acting wasn’t something I’d ever thought about – growing up in Rotherham, it isn’t really a job you aspire to – most people were going into the steelworks or the pits.

How do you find time to fit it in around your filming schedule? It only takes half an hour or so – although I don’t do it as often as I should. There’s not a lot to tell people most of the time, so I tend to wait until there’s something special to reveal. For example, we did a cover shoot for Radio Times which was a real laugh so I reported back on that. You say on your blog that you were disappointed to not win a Bafta for Life On Mars – are awards important to you? It’s not so much that they’re important to me, but it’s recognition for all the people who put an awful lot of work in – I think we deserved that Bafta. I can’t complain too much though: I was also in The Street, the programme that won! The Street was great TV – drama done brilliantly, just like Clocking Off before it – but I thought Life On Mars was breakthrough stuff, it had never been done before.

Catch Dean Andrews on BBC One when Ashes To Ashes returns to our television screens in March. Dean’s fly-fishing videos can be ordered online from


How did you get around? We did use their local public transport quite a lot, and had some memorable bus journeys through Quetta, which, although I must admit were a bit scary, took us through some beautiful mountainous areas and we were lucky enough to see some really amazing scenery. So how did it compare to travelling in South Yorkshire? Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t swap it for the world – public transport in South Yorkshire is like travelling in a Daimler compared to over there! I use a lot of public transport, but where we were filming the roads are just tracks, the vehicles aren’t very well suspended and the drivers seem to career along open roads with drops of thousands of feet on one side and no barriers – it’s terrifying! You write quite a comprehensive blog on your website, Why did you start writing that? There’s a lot of interest in all the characters in Ashes To Ashes, and people always want to know what’s going on off set. So whenever I got chance, I started to write a few lines so fans could see what was happening, how the filming was going and who the guests were – it all adds to the enjoyment and the anticipation of the show.


Spring 2009

wishing there were instructional DVDs around when we were beginners. So we thought, why not have a word with John and see if he’s up for it? Luckily he was, so we got together with a friend who’s a producer and another who’s a director and created a set of DVDs. It’s going really well. The first two, Early Season Trout and Small Streams, are out now, and the third one is due out later this year. Nice plug! If you could sit next to anyone on the train, who would it be and where would you go? It would have to be Michel Bublé. I really admire his singing and I’d love to talk to him about his thoughts on swing and where he got his brilliant timing from – his timing and intonation are impeccable. And it would probably be down to Devon – it’s remote and quiet, there aren’t many people and there are some great little spots for fishing. Can you recommend any good spots for fly-fishing in South Yorkshire? No – sorry! I’m keeping schtum on that one – I’m hanging on to them all for myself!

Did winning the Emmy make up for it? Kind of, but not really because we’re British and the Emmys are American. It’s always better to have recognition from your own unions and own people. It just goes to show that one man’s wine is another man’s vinegar. I tend to pay more attention to viewing figures: Ashes To Ashes got 6.5 million viewers so I’m very happy with that. What are the awards ceremonies like from an insider’s point of view? It’s great fun! You just stand there amazed at who’s there – Joan Collins, Sir Michael Gambon, Michael Parkinson, Dame Judi Dench, Brenda Blethyn – all that TV royalty and then me, just an ordinary bloke! We hear you have a series of instructional fly-fishing DVDs out. Bit of a departure from the glamourous world of showbiz, isn’t it? It is – but I love fishing! Go on… My friend and I went on a training weekend with John Tyzack, five-times English National Rivers Champion, and we learnt so much from just one weekend with him that we found ourselves

Bag yourself a bargain with an Area Guide Pick up a free guide to bus services from an Information Centre or download from Your guide to the day ahead.

Warp this way 14

Spring 2009

FEATURE WARP From humble beginnings in a Sheffield garage to multi-awardwinning international acclaim, Warp Films has come a long way. Go! catches up with some of the brightest minds in film, right here in South Yorkshire.

reated in 2001 as an off-shoot of the Warp independent record label renowned for its leftfield electronic music (which itself grew from an independent record shop in Sheffield), the film production company has more than proved its own worth with a raft of awards for its varied output, including the Best British Film Bafta in 2008 for This Is England, made with writer and director Shane Meadows. And while Warp Records left its northern roots for a necessary base in London in 2001, Warp Films continues to operate from a creative hub in the heart of Sheffield – some would argue that, in no small way, Warp’s success is partly because of its South Yorkshire home. Since its first production seven years ago, Warp’s back catalogue has won no less than 16 national and international film awards to date, and the respect and admiration of fellow filmmakers and audiences alike. As with sister company Warp Records, the Warp label attached to a film invokes a sense of expectation and passion among its hard-core audience that’s seldom seen with big-money production companies. That passion is cascaded down from Warp’s managing director Mark Herbert who, along with head of production Barry Ryan and every member of Warp staff from the finance team to the interns, speak about their projects with such fervour and conviction it’s impossible not to get caught up in their enthusiasm. Mark’s personal accolades include receiving the British Film Talent Dunhill Award at the London Film Festival in 2006 and being named by The Observer as one of the Courvoisier Future 500. Perhaps surprisingly, and despite his Sheffield headquarters, in 2007 London’s Evening Standard named him as one of the Capital’s 100 most influential people. When speaking to Mark, he darts from one topic to another, his mind always seemingly one step ahead of the conversation. His response to questions is authoritative, valid and relevant, yet sentences are often left half-finished and

hanging in the air while he moves on to his next point, as though there is never enough time to say everything that needs to be said. “The thing with Mark is that he can get on with everyone, from the Queen to the cleaner,” says Niall Shamma, Warp’s finance director. “He’s unbelievable in terms of his touch, he doesn’t come across as a managing director but people make a beeline for him because he’s so good at what he does.” Project co-ordinator Kate Fewins agrees. “Mark is really good at bigging up the atmosphere and getting people involved with everything, and it definitely has a positive effect on everyone,” she says. But unlike other independent film-makers pursuing their own private Idaho, Warp’s success isn’t simply the reverence of a select group of film buffs (although that is evident – Quentin Tarantino and George A Romero are both fans), the Sheffield production company has achieved

box office sales that quantify the praise that has been heaped on it – This is England took more than £4.5 million in international box office sales. But success hasn’t come at any cost, and Warp’s selection criteria have ensured that its core values have been retained. “The ultimate, overriding philosophy about the projects we select is that we have to think they’re exceptional,” says Mark. “You make things and some turn out better than others, but we have to go into making it thinking it’s original and exceptional. We’ve made things we don’t think will be a huge success, but ultimately our first, overriding thought has to be: ‘Do I love it?’ There are times when you’re really struggling for funding and you’ve had 20 meetings, you get 20 ‘nos’ before you get a glimmer, so you have to be really passionate about your product to be able to sell it to other people and get it in the public domain.” Barry Ryan is head of production at Warp, and has been with the company since its inception in 2001. “The overarching ethos of what we do goes back right to the beginning, and to what Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell had in mind when they first formed Warp Records,” he says. “We kinda have to go back and regroup and say, “Is this still Warp?” Immediately prior to the creation of Warp Films, Mark and Barry were working as independent film producers in Sheffield. “We’d worked in the film industry and knew each other socially, and Mark also knew the people behind Warp Records,” says Barry. Playing football together and snowboarding trips led to the first in a series of discussions that have helped shape the direction of Warp Films. “Mark was talking about how difficult it was to get a film off the ground and how

Warp Films’ managing director Mark Herbert (facing page) and (right) head of production, Barry Ryan.

Spring 2009


conservative film funding, distribution and making was,” explains Barry. “Rob and Steve had secured a grant from NESTA [The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts - an organisation that invests in innovative start-ups] and wanted to delve into filmmaking using the same artist-friendly ethos they had with Warp Records. They thought that with the contacts they had in terms of artists and audience, the distribution channels they were already using and the advances in technology, it could be possible to make a short film and distribute it quite easily. “At the time we both had little companies and were doing our own thing but struggling to break down the barriers. All of a sudden, being attached to Warp made things a lot more viable; we had a brand there to open doors.” As well as having a brand, the connection with Warp Records provided them with a London base for project meetings. When they weren’t in London, the pair worked from Mark’s garage. The first project for Warp Films was a 12-minute piece called My Wrongs 8245-8249 &

Ultimately our first, overriding thought has to be: ‘Do I love it?’ you have to be really passionate about your product to be able to get it in the public domain.


Spring 2009

117, written by Chris Morris, creator of satirical news programme The Day Today and spoof documentary series Brass Eye, and starring actor Paddy Considine, whose portrayal of a man in the midst of a nervous breakdown helped win a BAFTA for Best Short Film in 2003. Considine, who most recently could be seen on the big screen alongside Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum, worked well with Mark – they were the same age and shared the same sense of humour – and on completion of the film, Paddy recommended Warp to his friend, the director Shane Meadows. “Paddy told Shane about what I was doing, and that we were in Sheffield,” says Mark. “They’re Midlands based, so he made the introduction and we met up. I’d worked with a writer called Paul Fraser that Shane had also worked with a lot, and then I’d obviously worked with Paddy on My Wrongs. I’d seen films that Paddy and Shane had done and been blown away by them, they have a chemistry that’s amazing.” The meeting between Mark and Shane took place in February 2003; by May of the same year Warp were working on their first feature film, Dead Man’s Shoes, a vigilante thriller starring Considine as a soldier who returns home from the army bent on revenge for the mistreatment of his younger brother. “Before Dead Man’s Shoes, Shane had just come off quite a big-budget film,” says Barry. “And he said what he really wanted to do was go back to making films with his mates, not with a massive entourage and the time constraints that a bigbudget production brings. He likes to change his mind because of the feel of something, and you can’t do that if you have a huge crew and all the other paraphernalia – it costs too much money. “Both Mark and I were used to making stuff work with a limited amount of money, and we made them with a kind of ‘Let’s not worry about it and enjoy it’ attitude. That’s how we approached Dead Man’s Shoes.” With Meadows and Considine on board, East Midlands Media and Film 4 agreed to back production to the tune of £750,000. “Making that film was a very liberating process,” says Mark. “We just went and did it and didn’t care what anyone thought. We did it with very little expectation – but to be honest it’s the work I’m most proud of.” The film was released to critical acclaim, winning a host of industry awards including the Hitchcock D’or at the Dinard Festival, a Bafta nomination for Best British Film and a record eight British Independent Film Award nominations. “Suddenly doors were open,” says Mark. “It made our progression much quicker, it got us in front of people and opened doors that had been shut the day before the nomination. The day after the ceremony I got a meeting with the new head of Channel 4, Tessa Ross, and we got a new deal.” Although the industry was taking notice of

Clockwise from far left: Mark on set with Shane Meadows; a climactic moment for Nichola Burley in Donkey Punch; serially-dumped Chris Waitt in A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures; Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo; the cast of This Is England reviews a take; and Paddy Considine starring in Dead Man’s Shoes.

Warp, it never occurred to Mark that he would have to leave Sheffield to progress. “Rob Mitchell, who set up Warp Records, was a big friend and influence for me. He and cofounder Steve Beckett made Warp international, he had an innovative business plan, and he did it all out of Sheffield. Being in Sheffield doesn’t mean you have to be looking in on it.” Barry agrees. “We may have missed out on opportunities by not being in London, but I’m sure they are opportunities we can do without,” he says. “Being here gives us a uniqueness; it gives us a totally different head space. We’re not dashing around Soho cramming in meetings. Mark takes people up into the Peaks and wanders around with them for hours, saying ‘Well, what is it you want to do? What’s this project you want to develop?’ If someone’s serious about working with us, at some point they’ll have to spend £13 on a train ticket and come up here to see us!” Warp’s next project was a complete shift from Dead Man’s Shoes, and they returned to their roots with a music promo in collaboration with director Chris Cunningham, renowned for his work

FEATURE WARP Working in conjunction with the Low Budget Feature Film Scheme, which was established by the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Film4 to revitalise the low-budget film industry in Britain, WarpX received £4.5 million from the National Lottery, Film4, Screen Yorkshire and East Midlands Media to produce six low-budget films over two years using digital technology. Headed by Mark and his business partner Robin Gutch, WarpX offers development support, production finance and theatrical distribution in the UK to new filmmakers. “WarpX is there to work with first-time filmmakers, but it would be very rare for us to go for someone straight out of college,” says Mark. “We would need to see something first, some short films or pop videos. WarpX is based in Sheffield with an office in London, but we don’t show any favouritism to where people are from, they could be from China. We’re working with an Australian director at the moment; you have to make films for an international market and audience.” The first release from WarpX, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, was released in the UK in the summer of 2008. Chronicling the failed relationships of serially-dumped bachelor Chris Waitt, the film was nominated for Best British Documentary in the British Independent Film Awards and enjoyed critical praise and mainstream success. with Aphex Twin, one of Warp Records’ most successful acts. The result was Rubber Johnny, a disturbing sixminute film featuring a shape-shifting mutant boy locked in a basement, and set to an Aphex Twin soundtrack. “Soundtracks are essential to a piece of film,” says Mark. “The raw material’s got to be there, but a good choice of music with the right emotions makes a huge difference. For the opening sequence of This is England, we tried up to 50 pieces of music. As soon as we put 54-46 Was My Number by Toots & The Maytals on it was much more powerful.” Music has formed the basis of two more of Warp Films’ projects, both in connection with the Arctic Monkeys. The first, Scummy Man, was based on the song When The Sun Goes Down, which followed the story of 15-year-old prostitute Nina and her pimp and won the NME award for Best Music Video 2007. The second Arctic Monkeys collaboration was a feature-length live show, filmed on the final concert of their 2007 world tour. Undoubtedly, Warp’s most successful film to date is This Is England, the story of Shaun, a boy who is befriended by a local skin-head gang after his father is killed in the Falklands war. Released in 2007, it was Warp’s second collaboration with Shane Meadows and was an instant hit both here and abroad. “This is England as a concept wasn’t something

I thought would be our biggest ever seller, but it captured a moment,” says Mark. ““It’s a very British film but it’s massive in Scandinavia, France, Australia – it’s a universal story.” The film was nominated for 21 awards and won eight of them, including the Bafta for Best British Film and the British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer for its young star, Thomas Turgoose. Following its release, Madonna’s representatives called Warp’s office asking for contact details for some of its young cast members. “I don’t know whether Shane can see into their souls or something, but he knows what he’s going to be able to get out of someone,” says Barry. Mark agrees. “Shane works in a very naturalistic style – the crew are almost secondary to the acting. On some films the camera is the most important thing and the actors are aware of it all the time, whereas what we do is to make the camera and the surrounding team invisible so we let them act and just pick it up.” With the international acclaim for This Is England, and the box office sales to match, has Warp ever been tempted to go mainstream? “We’re shielding a lot of calls from Hollywood,” says Mark. “We’re waiting for the right opportunity to do a film with a bigger budget, but staying true to our roots. We’re not going to change – if you do, you lose the core of what you do.” In 2006, Warp set up digital film studio WarpX.

I still can’t really believe it all. I went to a new dentist this morning and he asked me what my job was – and I said ‘I’m a film producer’. But not all of Warp’s films have enjoyed a love affair with the media. The second release from WarpX, Donkey Punch, earned notoriety when a Daily Mail reviewer dubbed it ‘the vilest film I have ever seen’. “Ha ha ha, I love that!” laughs Mark. “I have that on the wall in my office – my awards are to my left, and to my right is that framed article. The reason that film came about was because the director, Oliver Blackburn, had been on a stag weekend and was horrified at the stories that came out. He made a film about what happens when that hedonistic life goes wrong – holding a mirror up to it and showing a heightened reality of it all. She [the reviewer] was almost implying Spring 2009


FEATURE WARP that people would watch that film and then go out and do it! I mean, would you watch that film and then want to act it out? It hardly glamourises it, it’s the exact opposite.” The third WarpX release, Hush, is a thriller from writer and director Mark Tonderai and will be in cinemas in March. The final three films from the first raft of funding are currently in post-production: a music documentary titled All Tomorrow’s Parties; comedy Bunny and the Bull from Mighty Boosh director Paul King; and La Chinoise, an arthouse feature from Chinese writer and director Xiaolu Guo. A second tranche of funding has been established to fund a further two years of WarpX, after which the plan is to make the company commercially viable in its own right. “By that point we’ll have a library of films and a reputation, and we should be able to bring more commercial money into the company by saying ‘look, we’ve tried this model and it works,’” says Barry. “People are bringing us ideas, and they think that they’re ideas that no-one else will get. The record company is very much artist-led and that’s what we’re doing as well; that’s why we attract the people we attract. The technology is changing and it changes the way people do things and opening film up to more people, but what won’t change is being committed to excellence – ultimately a good story will smash its way through.” Next in the pipeline for Warp Films is another project with its first collaborator, Chris Morris. “Chris was the very first person I worked with for

Warp, and we always had in mind that we’d do his first film,” says Mark. The film hasn’t been without its own amount of controversy, with rumours that major funders have boycotted it due to its subject matter – a satire on suicide bombers. Mark dismisses the rumours as out of hand. “We’ve been working on it since 2005, and we funded it independently because we wanted it to be independent,” he says. “The people who are working on it – the distributor, the sales agent, everyone who’s involved – are confident it will do well. There are lots of rumours about the film, but they are just rumours.” With the awards, the box office

success and the praise from peers, it would be easy for the people at Warp to let success go to their heads. “Do you know, I still can’t really believe it all,” says Barry. “I went to a new dentist this morning and he asked me what my job was – I said ‘film producer’ and smirked to myself, because he was probably thinking I’m a complete shyster. I’m very proud of the fact that I’m part of probably one of the best independent film companies in the UK, and I’ll be cocky enough to say even one of the best independent film companies in the world. “And it’s in Sheffield.”


Showroom is an award-winning independent cinema, café and bar housed in the Workstation, Sheffield, a workspace and business centre for companies working in and around cultural and media industries, and also the home of Warp Films.

Thanks to a subsidy from Screen Yorkshire, Showroom is able to screen independent films alongside mainstream big-budget movies, and provide a diverse cultural programme which it would be difficult to find elsewhere outside of London. It’s the only independent cinema in South Yorkshire, with four screens, from 83 to 280 seats, and, as a cross-arts venue, hosts events and festivals around the films it shows. During the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution earlier this year, Stephen Soderbergh’s double-part biopic about Che Guevara was complemented by other Cuban films and a series of talks, as well as Cuban music and food in the bar. Bus Tram Train

Other series and festivals held throughout the year include: • Doc/Fest – an international documentary showcase; • Showcommotion – a festival for young film-makers which is attended by commissioning editors from around the UK; • The Beginner’s Guide to Cinema – screenings of classic films such as Citizen Kane with texts provided to enable filmgoers to gain a greater understanding of the movie. Go! is giving away a Showroom film-lovers package, including cinema tickets and a meal in the café bar. Turn to page 31 for your chance to win! For a full schedule of listings and events, visit or call the box office on 0114 275 7727.

all services to Sheffield Interchange. Blue/Purple routes (Sheffield Station) - 2mins walk to Showroom. Sheffield Station.

Cinema tickets and meal Page 31


Spring 2009

Help keep our shelters ‘crime free‘ by reporting anti-social behaviour anonymously, to ShelterWatch on 01709 51 51 51 or online at

SHELTERWATCH Traveline 01709 515151


# 6 0 gem n Hidde

Rotherham A61 23

23 A61


Wentworth Garden Centre, Hague Lane Bus service 227 runs every hour, 7 days a week.

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Spring 2009






Magna Science Adventure Centre Bus service 69 & A1 run every 20-30mins, 7 days a week.




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TE Hollings Lane (Ravenfield Ramble) AS NC DO service 37 runs every 12mins Mon-Sat; Bus Sunday every 30mins.





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Fresh air frolics With spring in the air, enjoy the sights and smells on the Annual Ravenfield Ramble on 15 March. Bring along your camera and join Alan Duncan at 10am at the medical centre car park on Hollings Lane (1) for a scenic walk through the beautiful countryside surrounding the historic village of Ravenfield. Get your walking shoes on! With the daily exercise done, head on over to Clifton Park and Museum on Clifton Lane (2). Recently redesigned with the help of a £3 million lottery grant, Clifton Park Museum highlights the history of the borough with hands-on history, interactive exhibits and fun family events. On 15 March, the popular Clifton Park Mad March Winds event takes place in the park grounds, with all materials provided for you to design your very own kite and rise to the challenge to see it soar above the trees.

© Crown Copyright. All rights reserved (100030252). 2009








Rotherham Central Station IN Shour) TREET Train (up to 3 trainsMAper


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Rotherham Interchange Bus services X78 & 69 (from Sheffield) run every 10mins, 7 days a week service X12 (from Barnsley) runs every hour until 6pm Mon-Sat service 229 (from Barnsley) runs every 30-60mins, 7 days a week service X78 (from Doncaster) runs every 10mins, 7 days a week


borough Montideli, Mex t a deli: it goes to great lengths jus n tha re mo is li de Monti d make them feel ique experience an un a ers tom level of quality to offer cus st he hig the to maintain buy! A healthy special. They strive you e sample fillings befor th every meal. ALD ERW and even let you ARK EL sation is free wi NE g of friendly conver 8366; serAvin orough; 01709 58 xb Me re, ua Sq u Montag (bus station s to Mexborough Bus all service or Hartley St). ins per hr). Station (up to 2 tra Train Mexborough

Hidden gem # 07 Spring has sprung, so how better to shake off those winter blues than with a day out that will freshen up the mind and body? With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, there’s no better time to discover the rural sights and cultural delights of Rotherham.

Family outings Step out of the ordinary and into the unknown at Magna Science Adventure Centre on Sheffield Road in Templeborough (3), where children will learn whilst having fun. Get hands on, hear the sounds and see the sights from steel making’s past, get wet in the AquaTek outdoor play area, and explore your senses in one of Europe’s largest outdoor playgrounds, Sci-Tek. Magna is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Get your skates on and visit Rotherham’s Virtual Ice Inline Skating Arena on Chesterton Road (4) for excitement and laughter. Why not try the Xite Night roller disco, every Friday between 8-10pm, or get the whole family involved at the weekend between 10am and 12pm.

Community spirit Ditch the superficial supermarkets and taste the difference with traditional farmer’s fare at Effingham Street and Wentworth farmers’ markets, selling a variety of local produce from sausages to scones and olives to ostrich meat. There’s something for everyone to buy and try, with a leisurely walk from stall to stall meeting some local food heroes. All producers must live within 30 miles of the market, sell their own produce and the person manning the stall must be a producer, close family member or an employee directly involved with production, so you’ll know the exact journey the produce took to your plate. Effingham Street Farmers’ Market (5) is held on the last Wednesday of every month and Wentworth Farmers’ Market (6), at Wentworth Garden Centre on Hague Lane, is on the second Sunday of each month.

Care for some culture? Want to see a show with the kids, or maybe have a night out with the adults? Rotherham Theatres – the Civic Theatre (7) and the Arts Centre (8) – feature a mixture of shows, ranging from Journey of Turtle on the 14 March and Giraffes Can’t Dance on 16 May, to Les Miserables (24-28 March), and Clockwork Orange, showing 6-8 May. Whether the show is by a professional or amateur company it’s worth giving your brain a break from the box for a memorable night out. Make a last stop at the South Yorkshire Transport Museum on Waddington Way (9) and step back in transport time. Open every Saturday, 11am-4pm, with special event days on 8 March and 12 April, the vehicles in their various stages of restoration are waiting for you to pay them a visit. Event days cost £3.50 for adults, £2 for concessions and £8 for a family ticket.

E’Lupo, Rother ham town cent If you are a lover of Italian food then thi re s friendly family run pizzeria restaurant is a must. They offer authentically cooked dishes in a warm an d inviting environme nt. Open TuesdaySaturday, 6-11pm. Effingham Street, Rotherham; 0170 9 362279

DIRECTORY Clifton Park Mad March Winds 01709 836 844 Magna Science Adventure Centre, 01709 720 002 Annual Ravenfield Ramble 01709 850 353 Rotherham Theatres theatres, 01709 823 621 South Yorkshire Transport Museum, 0114 255 3010 Virtual Inline Skating Arena, 01709 830 011 Rotherham farmers’ markets business/markets, 01709 365 021

A FAMILY TICKET TO MAGNA Page 31 Spring 2009


Baize of glory For 17 days every year, people from all over the globe flock to South Yorkshire for the World Snooker Championship. But when the final ball has been potted, the trophy lifted and a generous cheque pocketed, it’s not all over for the snooker business in Sheffield. When the cameras have stopped rolling, the unsung heroes of snooker get down to their day jobs: coaching the stars of tomorrow...

A potted history 22

Spring 2009



British Army officers stationed in Jabalpur, India, devises a new variation of billiards using coloured balls – and snooker was born.


he eyes of the world are presently on the Sheffield snooker stage, with 2009’s World Snooker Championship well underway at the Crucible (qualifying rounds play until 10 March, with the finals from 18 April to 4 May), a tournament that boosted the city’s coffers by £2.5 million last year alone. But for many in South Yorkshire, the passion for the game doesn’t stop there. The World Snooker Academy at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield is the only international centre of excellence for snooker, and its pupils come from all over the world to hone their craft. Established in 2006 with funding from Yorkshire Forward, the 6,000 square foot Academy is a state-of-the art training base for everyone from international professionals such as Peter Ebdon and Ding Junhui, to individual amateurs who just want a day’s tuition from an expert. With its eight competition-standard tables and spectator seating, the Academy also hosts qualifying rounds of key professional tournaments, although its main purpose is for coaching and practice, with strong links to community, schools and youth development within snooker. Keith Warren is the Academy director, and has been involved since the initial bid, with fellow director and professional Grade A snooker coach Garry Baldrey. “The idea for the Academy formed

FEATURE Snooker part of Sheffield’s contract to stage the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible,” Keith explains. “Because Sheffield is the home of the Championships, it seemed appropriate to have the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, bringing more snooker to Sheffield and getting the schools involved.” Although school involvement has been a focus of the Academy since its inception, it has been cemented this year with the launch of the Sheffield Schools Snooker Championship. Twelve schools from around Sheffield have entered the inaugural competition, which takes place throughout March and April. The heats take place in the Academy, but the finals will be played during the World Snooker Championship Finals at the Crucible. “It’s the first of its kind, but it’s something we hope to develop on a grander scale and roll out across the whole of South Yorkshire,” says Keith. The Championship is being run in conjunction with Sheffield City Trust, who provided a grant of £10,000, and World Snooker Limited and was open to all secondary schools in the city. Young people aged 11 to 16 were invited to attend sessions with professional coaches from the Academy to develop their skills in preparation for the tournament, and the lucky finalists will have the opportunity to meet their idols on the world Snooker loopy: A young protégé gets down to some serious practice at the Academy.


The Sheffield Star sponsors the first ever snooker league competition.


Joe Davis launches (and wins) the first ever World Snooker Championship.

snooker stage at the Crucible. “We hope to double the amount of schools taking part next year, and then extend that even further,” says Keith. “Snooker has a part to play in education, there’s a much wider remit than simply learning how

to play the game. Scoring helps with maths, there’s the refereeing of the game, and all the other disciplines that go with it like setting up and the brushing and ironing of the tables.” When the Sheffield school children go for their coaching, they’ll be rubbing shoulders with the best international players in the sport. As the only World Snooker Academy, professional players from across the globe see it as the last stop on their route to the top of their game. “Obviously there are smaller academies in various countries,” says Keith. “But they just cater for their own nationals. When they get to the top of their own nations’ rankings, the top players will be sent here. Ding Junhui, one of the most highly-rated players in the modern game, is resident here, as is Liang Wenbo who looks like he’ll shortly be in the top 16. “A large part of our business is catering for overseas professional snooker players, who come over for a six month residency. We collect them from the airport, arrange accommodation, give them the best practice facilities and take them to their matches. Over the next 12 months we hope to double the size of the Academy thanks to our links with World Snooker, and ensure that Sheffield remains the global capital of snooker.” Yet despite the demand from international players, there’s also a firm focus on home-grown talent. A yearly residential summer school is open to young people aged 17 and under, with the youngest student usually around eight or nine due to height reasons. For five days the youngsters receive intensive coaching on their technique, as well as nutritional advice and psychology. “But we’re open to anyone”, Keith is keen to stress. “Anyone can book and come in for a day, of any age, male or female. It doesn’t have to be people considering a profession, we have a


BBC chief David Attenborough commissions Pot Black, to showcase the benefits of colour TV.

Spring 2009


Sheffield is synonymous with snooker in the same way that Wimbledon is with tennis, and the sport is incredibly well supported here.

gentleman in his late fifties who comes in once a month to improve his game for the love of it. We’re here for complete beginners to right up to the top level.” Youngsters who are keen to progress, though, have the opportunity to do so with the Paul Hunter Scholarship. Paul was an incredibly popular and successful player from Leeds. His popularity earned him the nickname ‘The Beckham of the Baize’ and his skill at the game saw him win the Masters title in 2001, 2002 and 2004, the Royal Welsh Open in 1998 and 2002 and the British Open in 2002. His career and his life were cut tragically short when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in 2006, and he died in October 2006 at the age of 27. The World Snooker Association set up the Paul Hunter Scholarship last year, to provide a promising young player with a year’s full time coaching at the Academy. Nineteen-year-old Adam Duffy, from Eckington, near Sheffield, is the current incumbent of the scholarship and is half-way through his 12 months’ training. “The scholarship has been a massive help to me,” he says. “The playing conditions are fantastic as the tables are the same as those we play on at tournaments, and I’ve learnt so much from the other players there, like Peter Ebdon, Ding Junhui and LIang Wenbo. You can’t buy experience like that.” So what advice would Keith offer to other budding professionals? “Hard work,” he says simply. “You have to be prepared to put in the time and the hours, and be realistic. Enter local tournaments, and how well you do will give you an indication of how good you are and if you need to start taking it seriously. If you’re getting


The World Snooker Championship is fully televised for the first time.


Spring 2009

TRAIL-BLAZER: Director Keith Warren heads up the World Snooker Academy at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

the results on the table, then you’ll progress through the ranks, from local juniors to national, then English amateur tournaments to the Open series.” And for those that show promise, the facilities to progress are right on the doorstep. “Sheffield is synonymous with snooker in the same way that Wimbledon is with tennis, and the sport is incredibly well supported here,” says Keith. “And with the Academy, young people with potential will get the best coaching experience and facilities in the world, right here in South Yorkshire.”

Snby numbers ker The number of years the World Championship has been held at the Crucible


The world-record number of Championships won by Stephen Hendry

7 6.7m2

For more information on the World Snooker Academy at the English Institute of Sport on Coleridge Road, Sheffield, call Keith on 0114 243 4477 or visit Bus Tram

service 69 runs every 20mins Mon-Sat until 6pm; every hour evenings and Sundays. Yellow route runs every 10mins until 6pm, then every 20mins.

For your chance to win a full day’s practice and coaching at the Academy, including one-to-one tuition session with a professional snooker coach, turn to page 31.


Cliff Thorburn becomes the first player ever to make a 147 at the World Championship.

The area of a standard matchplay table


The number of seats at the Crucible


The amount Ronnie O’Sullilvan banked for winning the 2008 Championship


The odds on eventual 1986 World Champion winning the title at the start of the tournament The number of TV viewers that watched Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis on the final black in the 1985 final



Stephen Hendry becomes the youngest World Champion at the age of 21.




dam Duffy, from Eckington near Sheffield, won his first England cap at the age of 15. He was awarded the Paul Hunter Scholarship last year and his recent progress on snooker’s secondary circuit, the Pontin’s International Open Series (PIOS), suggests that his game has already benefited. Duffy reached the semi-finals of the latest event to climb up to 17th in the rankings, with the top eight at the end of the season to graduate to the 2009/10 professional circuit. Duffy first played snooker when he was ten. “I played football for Eckington Juniors, and every Saturday after the match we’d go to a snooker club to play for £2 an hour,” he explains. “After a while I got into it and played during the week with my dad. He’d give me a 60 start, but then he’d make a 50 break straight away to catch up – I had a bit of a temper and I’d throw my cue on the table! But my dad soon realised I had a bit of potential because of the balls I knocked in. “I loved watching it on TV, especially Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins. The first match my dad took me to at the Crucible was Ronnie against Marco Fu in 2003. Ronnie had a 147 and I was jumping about as if it was a football match. A couple of years later I saw him again in the first round, he beat Stephen Maguire 10-9. I tried to nick his towel at the end of the match but a security guard stopped me!” Masters champion O’Sullivan has certainly been an idol for Duffy, and as the young Yorkshireman began to realise his potential, he had the chance to learn from The Rocket first hand. “I first met him at a charity evening organised by Prince Naseem,” said Duffy. “I’d just been picked for England, so I had to stand up and be introduced. I went bright


Ken Doherty wins the final, ending Hendry’s unbeaten 29-match winning streak.

red. Since then I’ve played Ronnie at the Academy. He beat me 3-2 but I enjoyed it. “I’d say I play with quite a similar style to Ronnie – I’m attacking and I go for my shots. No one can tell you which shots to go for, but as I’ve progressed, I’ve realised that I need to work on my safety. You can’t always pot your way out of trouble.” Duffy recalls when he first heard about the Scholarship: “When I found out I had won it – I can’t describe how I felt, it was fantastic! I couldn’t wait to go to the Crucible for the official presentation, which was made just before one of the matches started. I knew a few of my mates were going to be in the crowd but I didn’t tell them anything about it. When I walked out I saw their faces – they couldn’t believe it was me! Cliff Thorburn presented me with the award, he’s a top bloke and we had a good chat afterwards.” Duffy is confident of his ability to succeed in the remainder of this season and beyond. “I want to finish top of the PIOS rankings this season,” he says. “If you set yourself a goal of finishing number one and you end up at number two, then that’s no bad thing. You have to aim high. If I do get on to the pro circuit, I will be aiming to get into the top 56 in the world in my first season. And when asked for his ultimate ambition in snooker, Duffy responds immediately: “To play at the Crucible and win the World title.”


Tobacco advertising banned, ending Embassy’s reign as sponsors of the tournament.

Spring 2009



R A C IS ? T S E B Are you struggling to make sense of sustainable travel? Does ‘travel planning’ mean as much to you as trigonometry and Pythagoras? There are so many buzz words bandied around these days, it’s easy to switch off to what seems like yet another sermon from someone who doesn’t practice what they preach. Yet despite the jargon, the theory behind sustainable travel is actually very straightforward, and boils down to one simple question: ‘Do I really need to make this journey by car?’


Spring 2009

oad traffic in Great Britain has grown by 84 per cent since 1980, and nearly a third of households have access to two or more cars – that’s more than the proportion of households with no access at all. More people than ever are jumping into the car to make short journeys, and with walking and cycling for travel purposes declining significantly over the last decade, it’s not surprising that there’s been a 52 per cent increase in carbon dioxide emissions from domestic transport since 1980.* Our reliance on our cars has reached unhealthy levels, in terms of fitness, pollution and on our wallets. So what’s the solution, should we all send our cars to the crusher? Drastic times call for drastic measures after all. “Not all all,” says Debbie Owen, Travel Manager at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE). “We’re realistic about things – we don’t expect people to give up their cars, it’s just not always feasible. But the answer can be as simple as leaving the car at home for just one journey in ten, that’s all it takes. “We’re not anti-car, far from it. We’re fully aware that public transport is not always the answer. Our aim isn’t to get everyone on the bus, it’s to educate people about the alternatives to jumping in the car for every single journey. Whether that’s Park and Ride, a safe walking

route or a tram, we just want people to think a little bit more carefully about how they travel. “It’s a common misconception that taking the car is always the quickest and easiest method of getting from A to B,” Debbie continues. “Often, that isn’t the case.” In order to explode the myth that car is best, SYPTE offers personalised journey plans. For just £5 a year, anyone can fill in a form with details of where they want to travel from and to, and will receive a personalised pack with all the information they need on how best to make their journey. Chris Heeley is the travel analyst in charge of the Travel Planning scheme. He explains: “We offer two different types of travel planning. Customers can plan their own journeys using the journey planner facility on the Travel South Yorkshire website. But if a customer doesn’t feel confident about doing that or just needs a bit of extra help, we offer a personal journey planning service which is available to individuals, businesses, community groups and other organisations. “We’ll process a personal journey plan appropriate to the time that the person wishes to travel. Each customer receives a pack which contains timetable information for the relevant routes on the bus, rail or tram service. It also contains advice on the most cost-effective ticket,

It’s a common misconception that taking the car is always the quickest and easiest method of getting from A to B.

whether that’s a county-wide TravelMaster, a local operator’s weekly ticket or a Supertram Megarider. And if any services on the personal journey plan change within a year of buying it, we’ll send out new timetables to make sure everyone is kept up to date.” Debbie is aware that many people will have a negative perception of public transport, but is keen to change opinion. “Once someone’s got a car, nine times out of ten they say goodbye to public transport, and there are many people who won’t have got on a bus for 20 years or more. If they look outside their house and don’t see a bus stop, or have to take a 30 minute walk to get to the train station, they just shrug and say, ‘it’s not for me’.

“So we work closely with operators to change routes if we can show there’s a demand for it, we work with organisations to provide shuttle buses for staff, we’ve negotiated discounted travel tickets for people aged 16 to 21 so they can travel further afield for college or work, and we collaborate with schools and colleges across South Yorkshire to guide young people through their journey. “We’ll also work closely with communities and provide bespoke area guides to show them how they can access hospitals, shops or leisure facilities. Sustainable travel means different things to different people, but we’re constantly looking at ways we can meet those needs and bring about a shift in the way people think about how they travel.” Tim Rivett, SYPTE’s Head of Information and Technology, agrees. “The objective is to make better use of the road network”, he says. “That means getting people to think about the way they travel and the different options available. It could be something as simple as just using a Park and Ride to avoid rush-hour traffic – it’s about helping people make an informed decision. “For the last few years we’ve been working on Spring 2009


FEATURE an Intelligent Transport System, which uses technology to help control our roads better across the four districts and get traffic flowing,” says Tim. The Intelligent Transport System is an automated monitoring system which can measure the amount and speed of traffic around the county and updates the information in real-time. “The person on the road may not have seen any major changes because the majority of the work has been behind the scenes, but in the last 12 months, in Sheffield in particular and Doncaster more recently, there are large electronic displays being installed on the road network, similar to those on motorways,” he says. “These are being used to help people get around congested areas – a classic example was on Sheffield Parkway recently it was taking half an hour to get from the centre of Sheffield to the motorway, whereas on the Mosborough Park route it was ten minutes. if we can make people aware of these things it will improve everyone’s journey times.” The scheme is being extended to include mobile and e-mail travel alerts, as Tim explains. “We’ve launched an application that people can download to their mobile phones that will send people alerts when there’s an accident or any other disruption to the road network. We’re also launching a

We’re realistic about things – we don’t expect people to give up their cars – but the answer can be as simple as leaving the car at home for just one journey in ten, that’s all it takes.

that have been shuttled about in cars all their life, and the smile on their faces when they get on a bus is a joy. As well as thinking about carbon footprints, it’s giving them the skills they need to negotiate their own way around in later life. The feedback we’re getting from people is very positive – they’ve realised they don’t always need to take the car.” So next time you reach for your keys, why not try another way of reaching your destination and join the growing number of people who have realised that the car isn’t always the answer? To request your own personal journey planner and find out more about how you can travel sustainably, visit or call Traveline on 01709 515151. *Department for Transport, Transport Statistics Great Britain, 2008 edition

website where people can register their journey and we can alert you by e-mail or text if there are likely to be any delays.” With the huge amount of information available to help us plan our journeys more effectively, can we really justify picking up the car keys without thinking? Debbie Owen thinks not. “If you can give people a realistic, reliable alternative to the car it makes a huge difference, and it’s also very rewarding,” she says. “We work with children

On the bus? On the train? On your bike! Cycling around South Yorkshire is easy, cheap, healthy and fun! Travel South Yorkshire provides a number of ways to use your bicycle in conjunction with public transport: • Free bicycle parking across South Yorkshire • Free bicycle carriage on all trains in South Yorkshire • Bicycle carriage on selected bus services

Traveline 01709 51 51 51


Spring 2009

A day in the life of...

Sam Taylor Travel Assistant

Sam Taylor, 24, has been a Travel Assistant at Sheffield Interchange since March 2008. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Sam has recently graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Masters in Journalism. She talks to us about a typical day in the busy interchange, and what it’s like being an American in South Yorkshire... see my role as what customers see of SYPTE, basically the face of the company. There are phone numbers and helplines to call, but the customers see our faces and get to talk to us. “Working here has really helped me to familiarise myself with South Yorkshire: its burrows, its culture and its people. As well as giving advice about ticket prices and bus routes, I’ve had many political, pop culture and even automobile debates. “The customers are definitely the best thing about this job. We get so many different kinds of people in the interchange: young people, people who have been here for years, older people. It’s different every day and I get a real kick out of it. Of course, there are some customers you don’t want to remember, but the security guards are always on hand if there’s any sign of trouble, I have a very good relationship with them. “I find it funny that I’m from America, and I’m advising people on the best routes when they’ve lived here all their life! People don’t expect to hear my accent, so are shocked I know as much as I do. Whenever I give advice on a route or ticket that’s new to me, I write it in my index book which is my own personal reference book. Because I’ve been learning as I’ve been going along, I know a lot of it automatically now without having to look it up. “But there are things that only someone who knows the area well can help with. In February, we had lots of enquiries from people asking if services were running because of the snow. People that I work with know where it will be snowy and hard to get home. “For me, every day is special because

every day I learn something new, even if it’s not about being a Travel Assistant – it might be about language. Someone came in today and asked if we had any coppers – I didn’t know what that meant! I was like: ‘What’s coppers?’ “I found it quite difficult to work out accents at first. I assumed from watching TV that everyone would have a smooth accent, but I had to ask people over and over to repeat. I now know the South Yorkshire accent well, but still have trouble differentiating between Sheffield and Barnsley, and Rotherham and Doncaster. “I was completely confused by ‘dinner’ and ‘tea’. Colleagues would ask me to go for my dinner and I’d think, ‘Well I haven’t even had lunch yet!’ Then they’d ask what I was having for tea. What a weird conversation topic! Are my colleagues really that interested in the kind of tea I drink? I don’t even drink tea much! “What has never wavered in my stay in England is my ‘interchange family’. I’m very lucky to work in a place with such wonderful, welcoming people. I’ve been totally accepted, and have had Christmas gifts, congratulations cards when I graduated, and been invited on colleagues’ celebrations too. “If nowhere else, I found my niches in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. My colleagues and customers have taught me so much more than schedules, timetables and bus routes. I have gotten to know many special people and learned to celebrate our differences. “This is the nicest experience I’ve ever had in England – I feel like I’ve surpassed being a tourist and reached resident status!”

Spring 2009



Have your say Breath of fresh air

Write to us:

I have lived in Sheffield all my life but I never knew there were so many things to do in the surrounding area. Your magazine opened my eyes to Barnsley after reading the ‘Grand Day Out’ page. My children loved going to the Christmas market instead of the weekly slog to the supermarket and we went to The Wizard of Oz at Rotherham Civic Theatre too. It was nice to venture out of Sheffield for a change and we are looking forward to the next edition for more ideas of where to go and what to do. S Sloan, Sheffield We are delighted you enjoyed the last issue of Go! and made the most of the fun and interesting activities in the area. South Yorkshire has got so much to offer and we always try to find the best ‘hidden gems’ for a fun day out. It is fantastic to hear that our readers and their families enjoy these features as much as we enjoy discovering them. This issue has got just as many brilliant tips on exciting things to do in Rotherham, so what are you waiting for?

# 8 0 gem n Hidde

Cudworth Rial Interiors, ge of gifts, Rial well thought out ran asure trove of d an e iqu un its th Wi tre a th wi p sho ing stunn ories you Interiors is a simply ds and home access car ts, gif al usu un unique and ywhere else. simply won’t find an 01226 710593 dworth, Barnsley; Cu , ad Ro y sle rn Ba


,47 & 34 31,32,33,36,37,46 Bus services at. n-S Mo ns mi 10 run up to every


Spring 2009

If you’d like to comment on Go! Magazine or register your interest in receiving future issues, please email or write to us at the following address: Go! Magazine 11 Broad Street West Sheffield S1 2BQ

Snow barrier to good service

SOUTH YORKSHIRE TREASURE: Toby Foster is BBC Radio Sheffield’s resident comedian and promoter of the acclaimed Last Laugh Comedy Club.

In praise of Toby As a massive Phoenix Nights fan, I thoroughly enjoyed your interview with one of the stars of the show, Toby Foster (‘One Take Toby’, Winter 2008). It was incredible to learn that a few years ago this South Yorkshire born-and-bred lad was an aspiring comedian, just like me. His accomplishments are truly inspirational and I was particularly struck by his downto-earth attitude and positive outlook. If I could have even half his success in the oh-so harsh world of comedy I would consider myself a very lucky (and funny!) man indeed. T Whittle, Rotherham The Go! Team had such an incredible day when we met up with local funny-man Toby, and felt extremely lucky to be granted an insight into the mind of such a local treasure. South Yorkshire has some fantastic talent on offer (just look at the people featured in this issue!) and continues to do us proud. Keep up the hard work!

An awful lot has been made of the severe weather conditions that hit the country back in February. I personally feel proud of the way the situation was handled in South Yorkshire, in particular by Travel South Yorkshire, who made regular updates to their website [], which gave accurate, honest details on delayed and/ or cancelled services. I also rang Traveline a couple of times over the week, who were really helpful and let me know the best route home. Throughout the treacherous conditions, drivers remained friendly and helpful, despite what must have been a tough week for them, and showed the very best of South Yorkshire spirit. C Beck, Barnsley We are very pleased to hear you were so happy with the service you received from Travel South Yorkshire during that, now infamous, snow-filled week. Contingency plans are always in place for every eventuality, but it is impossible to predict exactly what will happen. Traveline received a huge increase in calls over the week, but thanks to the dedication and commitment of hardworking staff, the team was able to operate with little disruption and offer a full service as much as possible. See the next page for your chance to win a table for six at Toby Foster’s Last Laugh Comedy Club.


WIN £1000s worth of prizes Sudoku 9

8 A


3 B

4 5



5 7



9 6



2. How many seats will Sheffield’s Crucible have to fill to reach capacity when the World Championships come to town?


3 7




1. Dean Andrews played 1970s cop Ray Carling in Life On Mars. In which UK city is the BBC drama set?



1 C

5. Which tram route would you need to take to see Torvill and Dean at Sheffield Arena?

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3. Mark Aston holds the Sheffield Eagles club record for most points in one season. How many did he score? 4. Which director did Warp Films producer Mark Herbert team up with for This Is England?

The answers to these questions are in the magazine somewhere - get them right and you could win the following prize bundle:


Crack the puzzle to reveal the digits in the yellow squares. Six lucky winners will receive a limitededition Go! mug and 1 month’s free travel on South Yorkshire’s buses, trains and trams.

• • • •

3 months’ free travel on South Yorkshire’s buses, trains and trams A one-to-one professional coaching session at the World Snooker Academy A DVD box set of Ashes To Ashes Season 1, signed by the cast A Dean Andrews instructional fly-fishing DVD

Competition entry

To enter, fill in your answers and contact details below, cut out and send to: Go! Magazine, 11 Broad Street West, Sheffield S1 2BQ. Alternatively, email your answers to

Your answers: Sudoku A




Your details: Name Address

QUIZ 1. 2. 3.






TICKET HUNT Briefly describe where the ticket appears: Page no.

This competition is not open to employees of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive or their family members. All entries must be received by 29 May 2009. By entering this competition you agree to the publication of your name in subsequent editions of this publication should you be a prize winner. The decision of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive shall be final. No cash alternative will be given.

We would like to keep your contact details to send you information on public transport, travel cards/ticketing and promotions. If you would prefer not to be sent such information, please tick this box. Please note we will not use your contact information for any other purposes or pass your information on to any third parties.

ticket hunt Somewhere hi dden in this iss ue of Go! Magazine is a very special ticket (pictured here)…

Find it and yo u could be the lu cky winner of all th is: • Free travel fo r a whole year on South Yorkshire’s buse s, trains and tra ms • Cinema ticke ts and a meal at Sh owroom • A family ticke t to Magna Scie nce Adventure Mus eum • A table for six at The Last Laug h Comedy Club • A VIP family ticket to a Sheffi eld Eagles match

Spring 2009


WHERE EAGLES DARE Ten years ago, Sheffield Eagles were grounded suddenly when financial troubles forced the rugby league club to merge with rivals Huddersfield Giants. But thanks to the determination of one man, the Eagles have taken a new form and are flying high once more. The Go! Team dug out its boots, pulled up its socks and caught up with a man on a mission‌ 32

Spring 2009


ark Aston is well known in rugby league circles; his name is synonymous with Sheffield Eagles – its past, its present and, few could argue, its future. Having saved the club from the brink of obscurity in 1999, Aston’s Eagles are currently making impressive progress in National League One, and their youth development programme gives more than 10,000 young people in South Yorkshire the opportunities to follow in his footsteps. Mark played his first game for the Eagles in 1985 and his last in the league finals of 2004, during which time he put on the Eagles shirt a record 389 times, racking up some impressive stats along the way. He smashed several club records, culminating in an all-time best of 2,142 career points. He reached the pinnacle of his playing career when the Eagles beat Wigan to take the Challenge Cup title in 1998, with Mark taking home the coveted Lance Todd Trophy for man-of-the-match. But his moment of glory was overshadowed by the circumstances off the pitch, with Eagles fans distraught at the prospect of a merger with local foes, Huddersfield Giants. Like Mark, they wanted their own club and their own identify, and when 900 fans turned up to a meeting Mark had called to discuss the future of the club, he recognised their passion, took matters into his own hands and re-formed Sheffield Eagles with no financial backing, no training ground – not even a kit. Ten years on, the Eagles are in National League One with their sights on the Super league. And Mark’s fans won’t be surprised to learn that he still shows as much enthusiasm for the game off the pitch as he did on it. For the past decade he’s been battling to get the Eagles back on top by going back to basics and creating a squad built on local talent. As well as coaching the squad, Mark has established a youth development programme which provides training for more than 10,000 children and young people every year. “I was absolutely gob-smacked by the passion of the fans back in those early days,” says Mark in his usual forthright manner. “It was fan-power that made me realise that keeping the team going was a viable option. Right from the beginning, I’ve always said that I wanted to develop my own players from South Yorkshire. “We launched the Academy because we needed to get a second team behind us. We threw a team together for that first season, and let’s just say it wasn’t that youthful! We

LAST STOP MARK ASTON I don’t want to have to go to Australia to give my lad the best opportunities in rugby, I want to do it right here in South Yorkshire. had a great group of people, and we won nine games out of 28 in our first season which is an amazing feat when you consider the circumstances. But we knew that we had to develop younger players in order to continue, so the Academy was the logical next step.” The Academy runs training courses which range from primary school tag teams to fullblown scholarships for 13-16 year olds and government-backed Apprenticeships. “The scholarships give people training once a week with professional coaches and education on nutrition and mental preparation – it’s the best physical and technical training they can get,” says Mark. “We’re also piloting a full-time further education and performance academy with All Saints’ Sports College. The qualification is an Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, and as part of their course we go in and coach them on technical aspects of the game, as well as things like conditioning and physical preparation. “As far as I’m concerned, sport and education go hand-in-hand. We want our players to have something else to fall back on. I’ve seen so many players come out of clubs and say, ‘What now?’ They’ve got no education, no trade. All of my players have to have it right from the start, it’s not an option.” As well as having an education to rely on after a sporting career, Mark is convinced that the discipline learnt when playing competitive sport can have

a positive effect on education and lifestyle choices. “People ask why there’s never any trouble in rugby – it’s all about respect,” he says. “If we can get more people into sport, there’d be far fewer misdemeanours out there. Fewer people getting drunk, taking drugs, stealing – sport is the way forward, hand-in-hand with education. “I’ve been lucky enough to go to Australia, and I could have moved there because it would have given my lad the opportunity to be the best at rugby. But I don’t want to have to go to Australia to do that, I want to do it right here in South Yorkshire.

A Sheffield eagles vip family ticket page 31

“We have everything in place – we have the scholarships, the Apprenticeships, the commitment from our players. What we really need now is a home, a base. We have a first team squad who want to mentor the youngsters, but they have to train in different grounds – the first team is at Don Valley Stadium, we have other squads based at Sheffield

Spring 2009


LAST STOP MARK ASTON As far as I’m concerned, sport and education go handin-hand – we want our players to have something else to fall back on. United’s Academy, our Apprentice Academy is based at All Saints’ and Hallam uni, and the reserves are at Bawtry Road! We want a definite home, a facility where we can all work together and grow together.” Although currently homeless, Mark is confident that the future of the Eagles is positive, and that its success depends on the youngsters coming through the ranks. “The future is everything, and people are priceless. I knew if I wanted to keep the Eagles going then we’d have to start at junior level, and I don’t just mean for the squad. People play for fun and enjoyment – if I hadn’t got paid for it, I’d still have played – and we’re here to give people opportunities, whether that’s the volunteers who turn out on a Tuesday to referee junior matches, or the players who will

MISSION MAN: Sheffield Eagles’ Mark Aston is aiming for Super League.

progress to professional level.” For those lucky enough to make it into the Eagles first team, Mark is clear about where they are heading: “The Super League!,” he says, without hesitation. “It doesn’t matter when. It may be five years, it may be ten years, I’m here for the duration. I love giving the kids of South Yorkshire the opportunity to make that journey with us, and be part of our success. And success for me is 17 players from South Yorkshire playing in the Super League for Sheffield Eagles.”

Sheffield Eagles’ season runs from March to September, with home games played at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. For information about Sheffield Eagles, match fixtures or their development programmes, call 0114 261 0326 or visit Bus Tram

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Spring 2009


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