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Official Review by Lee Thurston, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Derby County were a major force in English football in the 1970s and were, under enigmatic manager Brian Clough, English champions twice. They play their home games at Pride Park stadium, a 34,000 seater stadium located on the outskirts of the town of Derby. It opened in 1997, and replaced the historic Baseball Ground, which had hosted Derby’s home games for 108 years.
The Baseball Ground was notorious for its playing surface, which during most winters would resemble the landscape of the Somme, circa 1916. In one particular match between the Rams (Derby’s nickname) and Manchester City, the referee had to get the grounds man to repaint the penalty spot which had been completely lost in a sea of sludge. Thankfully, those days have long gone and Pride Park Stadium has an abundance of green grass throughout the season where Championship level footballers — England’s second tier — ply their trade.
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There are the usual outlets positioned inside the ground, but unless you're desperately hungry, they're probably best avoided. A limp, dull cheeseburger, for example, retails at £5, and a pint of unpalatable beer costs £3.80. You will be much better catered for outside the ground as Pride Park Stadium not only has the usual fast food wagons generously located all around the ground, but there must be more fast food restaurants per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. All the big chains are represented, and if you can't find anything you fancy, you're probably a very healthy and slim person.
Apart from the aforementioned density of fast food restaurants, there's not a lot else to be said for the immediate vicinity of Pride Park Stadium, mainly due to its out of town location. There are both a gym and a hotel next to the stadium, as well as many of the usual shops you would expect to find on a retail park. The town of Derby itself has a population of about 250,000, and here you will find all the amenities associated with such a place, including Bold Lane car park, which has been cited as one of the ten most secure places in the world. So, if your team gets stuffed 4-0, you can at least have piece of mind that your car is safe.
The Midlands city of Derby is most famous for being the home of Rolls Royce and British Rail Engineering. The city offers a wide range of Restaurants and Public Houses and also has a good range of shops. The Westfield's Shopping Centre is located right in the city centre with further high street stores within walking distance. The vicinity around Pride Park is also populated with Retail Parks and hotels. Local and world-wide chains of Frankie's & Benny's, Burger King, and Starbuck's have locations within walking distance. Travelodge has a hotel right outside the stadium.
Derby's fans are generally regarded as a knowledgeable and passionate bunch. During the club's disastrous 2007-08 season in the Premier League, where they only won one game and ended the campaign with a measly 10 points, they won many plaudits for their passionate and unwavering support. Over 20,000 fans regularly cram into Pride Park Stadium and often achieve attendances higher than some Premier League clubs.
Pride Park Stadium is very easy to find and extremely well sign-posted. There are a lot of car parks in various parts of the vicinity (not forgetting Bold Lane car park, of course), and the train station is just a 15-minute walk away.
A trip to Derby County is in line with many other clubs on a similar level, and ticket prices range from £25 to £40. Pride Park Stadium is of Premier League standard, and the club has a rich history meaning any visit would be definitely worthwhile.
As usual, informative and well-produced match day programmes are on sale outside the ground for a very reasonable £3. Stadium tours are available on various dates throughout the year, and the megastore, which is part of the stadium complex, will be happy to relieve you of your hard earned pounds via a wide range of Derby County merchandise.
Member Review by pompeyfox
Pride Park Stadium is home to English Championship club Derby County, nicknamed the Rams, and the complex replaced their historic Baseball Ground stadium. Opened on the 18th of July, 1997 the stadium has an all seated capacity of 33,597 and was one of the first new stadium builds in England following the Hillsborough Disaster. The stadium has hosted one England Full International and a number of England Under 21 fixtures. Other than colour, the stadium is of nearly identical build to those at Leicester City's King Power Stadium and Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen.
24 Railway Terrace
Derby, England DE1 2RU
01332 341 274
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Pride Park, England DE24 8HG
0871 984 6434