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Official Review by Robert Pryce, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Leeds United is a football club in West Yorkshire, England. They play at Elland Road and have done so since 1919, when they were formed after the disbanding of Leeds City. They are one of the better known English clubs around the world thanks to in part the famous 70’s side managed under Don Revie. Leeds United were one of the most feared sides in Europe at the time, winning numerous trophies. They won two English titles in that time and had to wait until 1992 to win their next English division one title (the last before it changed to the Premier League).
Since the famous run in the Champions League in the early 2000s, the fortune of the club has changed fairly dramatically. Two relegations and an administration apt to overspending saw them in the 3rd tier of English football for the first time in the club’s history. Since then they have managed to get back to the 2nd tier of the football league, but have yet to reach the promised land of the Premiership again.
A number of cup runs have returned some smiles to the faces of Leeds fans during those dark years, including a win over arch rival Manchester United in the FA Cup. However, a run of bad owners have left the club and fans once again fearing the worst.
Elland Road is the 12th largest football stadium in England, with a capacity of 37,890. The ground has hosted England international matches and FA cup semi-finals in the past, and was also one of the eight grounds selected for Euro 96. The stadium has also hosted concerts from the likes of U2 and Queen.
The newest part of the ground was completed in 1993. The East stand holds 17,000 fans and was the largest cantilever stand in the world at the time it was built. Since then, the stand has been further developed with the addition of executive boxes reducing the capacity slightly. The Revie stand holds 7,000 fans and was also known as the Kop before being renamed. The other two stands are the South Stand and John Charles Stand holding 5,000 and 11,000 fans respectively.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food is very basic in the stadium. There is not a good selection on offer and also runs out quite quickly at half time. Pies (£3.10), burgers (3.90) and hot dogs (3.50) and chips (2.50) are all on sale as well as crisps and chocolate bars. Soft drinks and hot drinks cost £2.10. Alcohol is purchased from a separate bar where you can get lager, ale, cider and wine.
If you want to watch the game with the vocal part of the crowd, then the Don Revie stand is the place to be. The home fans never sit during the game and never stop singing. Elland Road was once described as "the most intimidating venue in Europe" by Alex Ferguson. Although due to the bitter rivalry between Leeds and Manchester United, the atmosphere was always heightened. The atmosphere may have subdued slightly during recent years due to the fall in stature. However, it is still one of the louder stadiums in England. The away fans are now situated in the far corner of the John Charles Stand. Depending on whether it's a Yorkshire rival opponent, the atmosphere as well as police presence can vary.
The famous FA cup song 'Marching on Together' is played before each half and is sung by every fan in the stadium and quite a few times during. The Leeds fans also managed to get the song to 9th in the charts so is quite easy to find on the internet.
The area around the ground is safe on match days as there is always a heavy police presence and crowds of people. There is very little to do around the ground before the game. The most popular pub close by is The Old Peacock. It gets very busy, but does have the best atmosphere. Just don't wear away colours. There is a quieter pub up the hill behind the stadium around a 10 minute walk away called The Old White Hart, which is also a good place for a drink. There is also a McDonalds and a Subway outside the ground but little else.
The fans of Leeds United are some of the most passionate in the country and have been through more than most fan bases. They still sing their heart out and turn out in numbers to games. They are also known to always sell out every away allocation given and usually have the highest average yearly away attendance throughout each league.
They have a somewhat tarnished reputation as well, mainly from the hooligan eras of the 70's and 80's. However Elland Road is a safe place to visit these days and most fans are approachable.
They always sing a number of songs and are known to have a few of the more comical and imaginative songs.
There are a number of car parks around the stadium which cost £6. Access from the motorway is easy as well. Just follow the signs. A match day bus service departs from Sovereign Street, adjacent to Leeds Station, to the stadium. The service departs 90 minutes before kick-off and runs at frequent intervals. At the end of the match, a frequent service will operate back to Leeds city centre. Prices are £2.50 return for adults and £1.25 return for children.
The train station is two miles from the stadium and is in the city centre. A taxi costs around £6 for a one way trip to Elland Road. You can walk the journey and it might be a better option on the way back to avoid queues.
Tickets are barcoded and you scan your way into the ground through the many turnstiles. This is an easy and quick way into the ground.
There is plenty of disabled access and toilets are also clean and queues are fairly short.
Ticket prices are high for a championship club, although they have gotten better in recent years. The style of football has changed as well to a more free flowing passing game which is better than the Hoof ball played under Neil Warnock. Elland Road is one of the last few proper old style grounds so is worth a look with the ever increasing number of new, modern, atmosphere-killing stadiums. Ticket prices for adults depend on the stand chosen, and come in at £36-31, and u16s £18-16.
Programmes cost £4 and can be purchased at a number of different points. There is a large club shop with a lot of merchandise on offer and is one of the better stores I have been in.
Two statues of club legends are on show outside the ground. One is of successful manager Don Revie who managed the great Leeds side of the 70's, while the other is Billy Bremner who has the most appearances for the club and was captain in the 70's. There are also two bars for members and one day memberships can be purchased to get into these. Match day tours are also available.
Member Review by leedeetee
Elland Road, the home of football in Leeds since 1904, has been a dependable constant throughout Leeds United's turbulent history. It has shared the highs and the lows, has witnessed the Roque Juniors and the Lucas Radebes, the Paul Okons and the Billy Bremners.
It stood proud during the club's zenith in the late 1960's and early 70's when Leeds United were one of the best and most feared teams in Europe (in more ways than one), becoming English Champions twice, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA cup twice, as well as finishing runners up numerous times and losing several cup finals.
The ramshackle old ground probably forgave the club a prolonged stay in England's second tier in the 1980's, when, in 1992, Leeds were (somewhat unexpectedly) crowned champions of England for a third time.
But despite the odd flirtation with minor glory in the intervening years, things have been decidedly desperate for Leeds United in the last decade or so and what Elland Road makes of it (if it could think for itself of course) is anyone's guess.
In the early 2000's the club overspent heavily in the transfer market and on players' wages (and also on goldfish, but that's another story) and took out huge loans to "chase the dream" of European glory. Then in 2002, the club narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot which meant it didn't receive the money the prestigious European competition brought in, and which the aforementioned loans were leveraged on. Unsurprisingly, this left the club up the proverbial creek and shortly afterwards, in dramatic style, Leeds United financially imploded.
Elland Road then witnessed the darkest days in the club's history.
The financial meltdown saw Leeds come excruciatingly close to going out of business, and whilst this catastrophe was eventually narrowly avoided, throughout the rest of the "noughties" the club endured a spell in administration; 25 deducted points and two relegations which culminated in a 3 year stint in the English third division, Leeds' lowest ever ebb.
With these dark days now surely behind Leeds, Elland Road looks set to accompany the team into a brighter future with a new £7m redevelopment of the East Stand (which at the time of construction was the largest cantilever structure in the world) which looks set to include hospitality suites, a hotel, shops and bars. These plans haven't gone down well with some Leeds fans, who would rather see the money being invested into the playing squad to ensure a return to the Premier League, but whatever the merit of the proposals, they can only improve on the sustenance currently available at the ground.
Member Review by pryce11 on Mar 24, 2014
ok i might be slighty biased in this review as i am a Leeds fan.
but i love this stadium you can not beat are fans in the Kop sing throughout the game non stop and we still get decent attendences although number have dwindled as of late due to high prices which is the only downer for me.
drink and food is reasonably priced as well ...shame the experience of an English football match is nothing compared to those in mainland europe.
251 Elland Rd
Leeds, West Yorkshire LS11 8TU
0113 271 0997
45 Town St
Leeds, England LS11 8BZ
+44 113 270 1859
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