|Preston North End 2 v 1 Leeds United
Tuesday, 26th December 2023 Kick-off 12:30
Sunday, 24th Dec 2023 09:16 by Tim Whelan
Our visit to Deepdale is on Boxing Day, with a 12.30pm kick off, and it’s the second of three consecutive games we’ve got live on Sky Sports. As the name Preston North End suggests, the stadium is a mile or so to the north of the town centre.
If you’re going by car you need to leave the M6 at Junction 31 and follow signs Left for Preston. Go up a steep hill and follow the road down to a mini roundabout. At the roundabout with the Hesketh Arms turn right into Blackpool Road. Go straight on over three sets of lights and just before a fourth set, the ground appears set slightly back on the left.
Parking for cars is available for £5 a car at Moorfields School, just follow the directions above and at the last set of traffic lights continue straight on for about 200 yards, and you will see the school on the left near Moor Park. You can also park at Deepdale itself, but that will cost you a whopping £12.50, though there is a slightly cheaper car park across Sir Tom Finney Way (behind the Main Stand) at a mere £7.
Otherwise, you can try your luck with street parking, but don't be tempted to park on the grass verges near the ground, you are likely to find after the game that you have been given a parking ticket.
The Railway Station is on the opposite side of the town centre, about 1.6 miles from Deepdale, but there’s not much point in giving you directions this time around, because there will be “no matching journeys on date requested”, in the words of the National Rail website.
There are a couple of social clubs near the ground that welcome away fans. First there is St Gregory's Catholic Club, which is around a five minute walk away on Blackpool Road. The Club charges £1 for entry, but the cheap drinks and hot pies will make up for this. You can also park at the Club for £3. Another option is the Emmanuel Social Club on Emmanuel Street.
Unfortunately the nearby Sumners pub (which was the main away pub) has now closed, but another pub which admits away fans is the White Hart, around 15 minutes walk away on Watling Street Road. Going away from the ground past Sainsburys and where Sumners was, then you bear right onto the Watling Street and the White Hart pub is along on the left.
It could be more difficult to get a drink in the city centre, as the police will move groups of fans on quickly and most pubs there will refuse to serve away supporters. It might be worth trying the Old Black Bull and the Academy on the high street and the ‘Vic and Station’ near the railway station, but I can’t guarantee you’ll get in.
When we last visited the local plod decided to allow us to get alcohol inside the stadium because we’d been so well behaved in the last few seasons before that. And with any luck this will still apply this time around. Food-wise, there are a few takeaways along Sir Tom Finney Way between the stadium and the city centre.
The whole ground has been redeveloped in recent years. In 1996 the 8,100-seater Sir Tom Finney Stand was opened, followed by the Bill Shankly Kop two years later, and in October 2001 work was completed on the Alan Kelly Town End, also with a capacity of just over 6,000. The completion of the fourth side of the stadium to replace the derelict Pavillion stand brought the total capacity to 23,404.
Normally the allocation for away fans is approximately half of the Kop (3,000 seats) and it is shared with home supporters, but teams with a large away support get the whole stand. Yep, that’s us! We’ve got an allocation of 5,646 for this game, which has now completely sold out. Thanks to a good old reciprocal agreement they are priced at £28 for adults, with different categories of concessions at £20, £10 and £5.
Tickets for the three home stands are only on sale to anyone who bought a ticket from them in the last three seasons. And it’s probably no coincidence that these are the seasons when we didn’t play them because we were in the Premier League.
The views of the playing action and facilities within the away stand are excellent, as the stand is particularly steep, meaning that fans are kept relatively close to the pitch. On the concourse there are TVs by the refreshment serving areas showing the game live while the bars stay open. There is a wide range of food available including bacon rolls, burgers and even vegetarian 'butter' pies, which apparently is a local delicacy.
All in all, this should be quite a good day out.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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