Wednesday, 2nd Mar 2022 21:14 by Tim Whelan
The Jesse Marsch era begins at Leicester City on Saturday, with kick at 12.30, and it’s live on BT Sports. You’ll find the King Power stadium is about a mile and half south of the city centre, close to the site their former home at Filbert Street.
If you're coming by car you need to leave the M1 at Junction 21, and take the A5460 towards Leicester city centre. Continue on this road until you go under a railway bridge and carry on for another 200 yards, before you turn right at the traffic lights into Upperton Road (signposted Royal Infirmary) and then right into Eastern Boulevard (just after crossing the river), then keep going straight on to get to the ground.
There is less street parking close to the stadium than there used to be, thanks to a ‘residents only’ parking scheme, and to enforce it the traffic wardens are always out in droves on a matchday. So you might have to park some way out along the Narborough Road (the one coming in from junction 21). The Huntsman pub on this road (see below) offers car parking at a cost of £5. Alternatively, you can park at Leicester Rugby Club (a mere £10) which is a ten minute walk away from the stadium in Welford Road (LE2 7TR).
The railway station is around 20-25 minutes walk from the stadium, and there is a walking route signposted to the stadium from the opposite side of the main road from the station exit, and in any case there is usually a large number of police around who will be happy to show you the way. Once you’ve crossed in front of the station you need to turn left and then go right along a pathway that runs beside and looks down on the Waterloo Way ring road.
Continue straight along this pathway for around half a mile and you will reach a small park on your right (Nelson Mandela Park). The stadium you will see in front of you is the Welford Road home of Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, but beyond it you should be make out the roof of the King Power Stadium. If you keep going in that direction you can’t miss it.
Most of the pubs near to the stadium are home fans only, but away fans are welcomed at the Huntsman pub on Narborough Road (next to Iceland supermarket) about a 15 minute walk away from the King Power Stadium. And nearby is the Westcotes Constitutional Club on Wilberforce Road, which I have been informed allows in visiting supporters at no cost.
It might be a better bet to drink in the city centre, and if you're coming by train then you could try 'The Hind' pub across the road from the station, which has a fine selection of real ales. Another option is the Wetherspoons 'Last Plantagenet', which is named in honour of Yorkshireman King Richard the third, who was of course found buried in a car park nearby after he had been killed by the Lancastrian scum at the battle of Bosworth Fields.
The new stadium was built by Birse Construction at a cost of £35m, and opened in August 2002. It's capacity is 32,312 and it's completely enclosed, with all four corners being filled with seating. Like most new stadia it's functional but lacking in character. the club's official website does of course speak lovingly of all the conference facilities and stuff, such as the banqueting suite with a lovely view over the river.
But according to a review from a Leeds fan us ordinary mortals don’t get treated quite as well as the corporates, in fact “I just felt as though the hosts considered away fans to be something of an inconvenience.” Away supporters are given just over 3,300 seats in the North East corner of the stadium, and the view of the playing action is good, although you are set well back from the pitch.
But security measures are way over the top as away fans are funnelled, one at a time, towards a steward who undertakes an extremely thorough search, and then there is the pyrotechnic 'sniffer' dog. The whole process is time-consuming and can led to many fans getting into the ground late.
Then there are the toilets, which are shoe-horned into a corner, virtually inaccessible from the outside and inescapable from within once they get busy. Not that you will be able to take on the fluid needed to fill them, as no alcohol is available in the away section for ‘high profile’ games, even though bitter & lager are both available in the home areas.
Thanks to Premier League regulations ticket prices for this game are £30 for adults and £27 for senior citizens and under 22s, with tickets for under 18s at £18. Inevitably the tickets sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. Tickets for the home stands are only on sale to ‘Fox Members’ and the guests of Season Ticket holders.
The stadium was built so that an additional tier could be built onto the East Stand, and there are plans to add another 8,000 seats here. And this just part of a major regeneration of a huge area of previously neglected inner city land, there will also be an hotel building and an indoor entertainment and sporting venue, along with other commercial and residential developments and a load of new parking spaces.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
Photo: Action Images
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