|Leeds United v Stoke City|
Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Tuesday, 20th Feb 2018 16:51 by Tim Whelan
This season’s visit to Derby County is at 7.45pm on Wednesday and once again we will be live on Sky Sports. We’re not famous any more!
Pride Park is two miles to the east of the city centre, and was opened at the start of the 1997/8 season. It was built as part of the City challenge scheme which revitalised a huge patch of ex-industrial wasteland, though before they could start building they had to get rid of a cocktail of chemicals buried underground, as well as some dodgy relics from its days as an army training ground.
By car you need to come off the M1 at junction 25 and head towards Derby along the A52. The official away fans car park is at the ‘Derby Conference Centre’ on London Road (the A6) which you might find if you put DE24 8UX into your satnav. It costs £5. The least congested route to here is to take the outer ring road on the edge of Derby (the A5111) then continue for two miles before following signs to ‘City Centre A6’. The Conference Centre is about a mile up this road.
Pride Park is a short walk from the railway station (aka Derby Midland) and the ground is visible (and well signposted) from the station. There is an exit from the footbridge above the platforms directly into the pride park area (on the opposite side of the station from the main exit) which is the shortest walking route.
But for an alternative route past the best of the pubs you can turn right outside the main exit and turn right again under the railway, then take the first right into Pride Park Way, from where you can see ground right in front of you. The last direct train back to Leeds is the 21.46, which would be a bit of a rush after the final whistle, but there is also the 22.26, with a change in Sheffield.
My favourite pub in Derby is the excellent real ale 'Brunswick' in Railway Terrace, which brews its own beers and usually has five of them on tap, along with up to a dozen guest beers. Another possibility is the 'Alexandra Hotel', which is just a bit further on from the Brunswick, and although these two pubs usually have bouncers on a matchday, you might manage to get in as long as they think you look well-behaved.
The ‘Mansion Bar’ and the ‘Tiffany Lounge’ on Midland Road both admit away fans, as does the ‘Harvester’, which is close to the stadium. If you're coming by car you can try the 'Navigation' on London Road (the A6), which you'll see on the right hand side just before you get to the away fans car park.
Before some games they serve beer inside the ground, so if we're really lucky you might get the chance to pay over the odds for some of their fizzy lager. Apparently it has been known for stewards to refuse admission to fans who are too drunk (in their opinion) so you might need to limit the amount of liquid refreshment you take on board before you get to Pride Park!
Food-wise there is the Old Orleans restaurant on the Pride Park industrial estate, but at all costs avoid the vans just outside the ground, which charge exorbitant prices for chips and horrible plastic burgers. Apparently the pies and pasties inside the ground are quite good, though I've never run the risk buying one myself.
The capacity is 33,597 and the away section is now in a corner between the East and South stands, which means an allocation of 3,100. This is a reduction from the 4,000 tickets we used to get when the away fans had the whole of the stand behind the goal, and it’s no surprise that our section has now sold out.
Derby are the first club in English football to introduce ‘Demand Based Pricing ’ for home tickets, in other words using an airline-style system of charging more for seats the closer the match gets to selling out. The idea is to get fans to buy early, but it’s not exactly a good way of attracting casual supporters to come along, or anyone who may have perfectly good reasons for not being able to get a ticket a long time in advance . Do they have any plans to pinch any of Ryanair’s other ideas, such as charging fans £1 to use the toilet?
At least we can give thanks that this system doesn’t apply to the away section, so whenever we bought them our tickets cost £26 for adults, with various concessions from £8-£18.50.
Up until the last couple of seasons Pride Park was one of the stadia where we weren't allowed to leave freely after the match. Fans were allowed to walk towards the away car park or coaches, but a line of police blocked the way in the opposite direction and the fans heading back to the station had to wait for a police escort. But recently we have been allowed to walk in that direction straight away. What will happen this time? I suppose it depends what sort of friendly banter there is between the two sets of fans during the match.
The stadium has been designed so that an additional tier could be added to three sides of the stadium, which would increase the capacity of Pride Park to around 44,000. This won’t be carried out unless the Club become ever established in the Premier League, but given the improvement in their form since they appointed Gary Rowett, that might actually happen.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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