|Sheffield United 2 v 1 Leeds United|
Saturday, 10th February 2018 Kick-off 12:30
Sheffield United Awaydaze
Wednesday, 7th Feb 2018 08:44 by Tim Whelan
Amidst all the excitement of getting a new head coach, there is the small matter of our visit to Sheffield United on Saturday. Kick-off is at 12.30, and even if it hadn’t been live on Sky the police would have insisted on an early start, as they have for all our visits since the riot of March 1985.
Bramall Lane is about a mile to the south of Sheffield city centre. If you're driving down from Leeds, you need to take the M1 to junction 34, then the A6109 Meadowhall Road signposted Sheffield. Continue for 3 miles until you get to the inner ring road, and take the fourth exit at the roundabout onto the A61.
When you pass the railway station you need to start to think about parking, as parking at the ground is for permit holders only. There is a car park by the station and plenty of street parking between here and the stadium, though you will need to keep valuables out of side and remove any Leeds stickers etc. before you leave your motor.
For Park and Ride enthusiasts the best option is to take advantage of the free parking at Meadowhall shopping centre (right next to junction 34 of the M1) and get a train or tram into Sheffield from there. There are 8 trains an hour, and trams are also frequent.
For those arriving by train it's a 10-15 minute walk from the station, you simply turn left at the island in front of the station and continue down this street to the ground. (Or wait until you get rounded up for a police escort). After the game the police have been known to keep fans waiting outside the station until a Leeds train comes in, and if you want to catch another train to somewhere else, that’s tough as you might well miss it.
I don’t know if any pubs will be open in Sheffield before or after the game, and in any case the ones close to the ground tend to be for home fans only. About a ten minute walk away at the bottom of Eccleshall Road is a Wetherspoons called the 'Sheaf Island', which tends to have a mix of home and away fans. Nearby behind the Waitrose supermarket is the Beer Engine pub on Cemetery Road, which offers up to six real ales and also serves food.
A little further away on Wellington Street is the Devonshire Cat, which has around 12 hand pulled beers on offer and is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Although there are bouncers on the doors, away fans are usually allowed into the pub wearing colours (though whether that will apply to Leeds remains to be seen). You could also try 'The Howard' opposite the train station, the real ale Rutland Arms, which is nearby in Brown Street, or the ‘Sheffield Tap’ in the station itself.
Bramall Lane is a relatively large stadium by Football League standards, with a current capacity of 30,702. The South stand first opened in 1975, and was built on part of the cricket pitch where Yorkshire used to play some of their home matches. At the time the cost of this stand caused the club considerable financial problems, which they had to alleviate by selling Tony Currie to Leeds.
The Kop and the HFS Loans Stand were built during the 1990s to replace stands which had to be demolished due to the Taylor report. At the time the cost of these stands caused the club considerable financial problems, which they had to alleviate by selling Brian Deane to Leeds. (I’m beginning to see a pattern here!)
All of this left the ‘Redbrik Estate Agency’ (Bramall Lane) Stand as the oldest left in the ground, and this is the bit they give to away fans. This stand is two tiered and has two large supporting pillars in the upper tier. The front of the lower tier of this stand is uncovered, so anyone sitting there will have to hope it doesn't rain!
Our ticket allocation is a measly 2,200, or just over 7% of the overall capacity of Bramall Lane. So it’s no surprise that it was put on sale via the ‘Attendance Tracker’ loyalty scheme, or that it has now sold out. It is of course a ‘Category A’ game, so prices are £32 for adults, with various concessions ranging from £17 to £26.
This less than generous allocation will have encouraged Leeds fans to try to get tickets in the home stands, but they’re not going to make it easy for us. It says on their official website that “tickets are only on sale to customers registered on our database with a minimum of 200 loyalty points”, whatever they are.
They could have eased these restrictions if they had given Leeds a bigger allocation, but none of us are going to lose sleep over the additional income Sheffield United have cost themselves by refusing to sell tickets to potential paying customers.
Exciting things could be happening the near future, as the Club have applied for planning permission to add an extra tier to the south stand which would provide an additional 5,400 seats. And they have also announced plans to extend the Kop backwards, adding around another 3,000 seats. If both schemes come to pass they will take the total capacity to over 40,000, so we can live in hope that one day we will get a decent ticket allocation when we visit Bramall Lane.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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