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Official Review by Anluan Hennigan, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Sat upon the fringes of Leicester's cosmopolitan thoroughfare, the King Power Stadium is home to Leicester City, residents of English football's second tier, the "Championship". After a period of studied success in the nineties, the club's fortunes have descended in recent times. "The Foxes" even spent one season in the third tier but they are now on the rise once more under the experienced head of manager Sven Goran-Eriksson.
For much of its existence, the East Midlands club played their football at Filbert Street. By the turn of the millennium, the old favourite was deemed an anachronism and work started on this new stadium - just 200 yards from the old site - which opened in 2002.
It was originally called the Walkers Bowl but this was met with derision by traditionalists, displeased by the name's American hue. Even with the change to a more sober moniker, it has often been referred to derogatorily as the "Crisp Bowl" - a reference to the sponsorship deal with a potato snack manufacturer that gives the stadium its name. In 2011, the stadium was renamed King Power Stadium after a new sponsorship agreement was reached.
Nevertheless, it cannot be disputed that Leicester now has a thoroughly modern football ground. The capacity can be extended to 55,000 and it has already hosted three international matches. Indisputably, it is a Premier League ground; it now just needs Premier League football.
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".
To adapt Henry Ford's famous phrase, you can have anything you want, as long as it's a pie. It is the staple of British football's diet so why not indulge. There are worse things on offer for £2.50. The normal array of burger vans sit outside the ground also.
The advantage of going to a Championship ground is that things will be a little cheaper and the quality shouldn't really suffer as a result. The queues seemed leisurely also, even as kick-off drew nearer. Where it is the same as Premier League grounds, is in the rule that you can't take alcohol into the arena.
A hallmark of new stadiums is that they generally offer good acoustics. King Power Stadium appears to be no different. As ever, it took no more than a few contentious refereeing decisions to send a shrill roar round the ground. Outside, PA systems blare out music and announcements, which seems to be unique to this ground. It certainly adds some colour to your journey into the ground.
Britain seems to be finally emerging from winter, and the fine day can only have helped as well. Raucousness gave way to frustration as on this day, Leicester headed to defeat. Where the atmosphere falls down a little is in how distant the away fans feel.
While Leicester has never been known as one of England's must visit places, the walk to the ground, under the gentle glare of spring sunshine, was Garden of Eden stuff in comparison to most grounds. You are taken along the river and through a charming park called Castle Gardens before joining the main roads again, finishing your journey by walking along the unforgettably named Raw Dykes Road.
The nearby city centre offers all the usual amenities you would expect without exactly being thrilling. The presence of live music gave things a bit of pep.
If you want to go outside of the city, the National Space Centre is certainly a standout attraction. It receives 250,000 visitors every year and offers various exhibitions on the history and evolution of space exploration, some of which are truly compelling.
It was a game to test the resolve of the 22,000 home fans, with Leicester slipping to a rare defeat. However, the eventfulness of the match meant that things were never dull.
A minute's silence in remembrance of the recent natural disaster in Japan was also observed in exemplary fashion.
As you would expect from any modern British city, the options available for you are consummate. If you are travelling from overseas, the ground is 35 minutes drive from East Midlands Airport and 45 minutes from Birmingham International Airport. Otherwise, the train station is just a 20 minute walk from the ground.
As for buses, the 36, 52 and 53 services are the ones to look for.
Parking is not available at the ground but the nearby Saffron Lane Sports Centre opens its spaces from midday. You can park there for a reasonable £3.50. Otherwise, there should be plenty of opportunities for on-street parking.
Once at the ground, you really feel the difference of attending a modern ground. Access points are numerous and you can move in and out of the stadium without any bother. While moving around some stadiums feel like a chore, at King Power Stadium you can do so in a leisurely fashion.
Provided that you shop astutely, there is good value to be found. Ticket prices are split into Gold and Platinum - Platinum prices attached to the most important matches. For Gold, prices range from £3-£33. For Platinum, it's £6-£37. Under 8s can enter for free at all matches if they sit in the family stand.
For an adult, a decent seat for any match shouldn't come to more than £20. The delight of this ground is that you don't experience an obstructed view from any seat, so you shouldn't feel an onus to buy the more expensive seats. If you want to experience a fair standard of football in an organised and - by British standards - futuristic stadium, King Power Stadium is as good a bet as any in the Championship.
There is nothing especially unique to write home about in this department. The general disadvantage of modern stadia is that they are rather characterless. It can feel like they have been delivered in an IKEA flat-pack. Rudimentary LCD displays give you the score and came time at both ends of the ground. Stadium tours are offered at various times throughout the year. Check the club's website for specific information.
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