The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

A tal­ented ath­lete as a teenager, Ste­wart com­peted for York­shire be­fore be­com­ing an ap­pren­tice elec­tri­cian at the age of 16. He then set up his own busi­ness be­fore found­ing ASD Light­ing in the early 1980s, spe­cial­is­ing in designing and sup­ply­ing lights to the se­cu­rity in­dus­try. His com­pany was the first to de­sign lights with in­built infrared sen­sors en­abling them to de­tect mo­tion. Within a decade he had clients world­wide and his grow­ing for­tune al­lowed him to spon­sor the Kop at Hills­bor­ough and the Rother­ham Ti­tans rugby union side. Ste­wart is now worth an es­ti­mated £140m and em­ploys more than 200 staff.

In­vited to a meet­ing to dis­cuss the plight of Rother­ham in 2008, Ste­wart de­cided to take con­trol and be­came ma­jor­ity share­holder a few days later. Hav­ing sold the train­ing ground to pay off debts and moved the club to Sh­effield’s Don Val­ley Sta­dium to avoid the crip­pling rent at Mill­moor, he set about plans to build a £20m sta­dium in Rother­ham. Hav­ing avoided rel­e­ga­tion un­der Mark Robins de­spite a 17-point de­duc­tion, the Millers then reached the League Two play-off fi­nal un­der Ron­nie Moore in 2010. The com­ple­tion of the New York Sta­dium and the ap­point­ment of Steve Evans in 2012 led to a change in for­tunes, with the Millers win­ning two con­sec­u­tive pro­mo­tions to reach the Cham­pi­onship in 2014.

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