Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Monday March 15 2010
Bramall Lane - Sheffield United
Saturday's visit to arguably the 2nd best team in the league saw a decent performance that unfortunately wasn't matched by the referee, again.
3 times this season we've paid the late penalty against teams higher than us in the league and now the chasing pack come into sight.
Bramall Lane on a Tuesday night isn't an easy trip but these are the games at the business end of the season that will make or break our season.
How to get there
M55 then the M6 South. J30 join the M61. M61 join the M60 (Bury / Leeds) then on to the M62. 2 options from here, you can either stay on the M62 until you join the M1 South or leave the M62 and travel via the A roads.
Motorway first: stay on the M62 then join the M1 South. Leave the M1 at J36 and follow the A61 into Sheffield. Pass Hillsborough on your right. Continue along the A61, which becomes the ring road around the western side of the city centre. You will eventually reach a roundabout at the junction with the A621. At the roundabout turn right onto the A621 Bramall Lane. The ground is a short way down on the left.
For the A journey from the M62 leave the motorway at J23 and merge on to the A640. Stay on the A640 for 3 miles then turn right on to the A62. Leave the A62 on the 1st exit of the Shorehead roundabout and join the A629. This road joins the A61 at Leppings Lane (Hillsborough) directions are then as above.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - The ground is a 10-15 minute walk from Sheffield mainline train station. As you come out of the station, walk left along the main road, where the road splits take the right fork which is Shoreham Street and continue down this road to the ground.
Sat navvers - S2 4SU
Bramall Lane is the oldest major stadium in the world still to be hosting professional football matches. Named after the Bramall family who owned 2 local pubs it was originally opened as a cricket ground and has been used for football games since the first match was played there on 29 December 1862 It's been the home of Sheffield F.C. and Sheffield Wednesday but since 1889 it has been the home of Sheffield United.
It's a ground that has evolved over the years. With a current capacity of 33500 it still retains the character that so many grounds have lost in their quest for development.
We'll be sat in the lower tier of the Halliwells (Bramall Lane) Stand at one end of the ground. Room for 3,000 travelling fans, I expect around the 600 mark to make the journey.
How's this for a bit of forward thinking: In order to maximise the earnings potential of the land around the stadium in June 2007 work began to build a 158 bedroomed 4 star Millennium and Copthorne Hotel behind the new Westfield stand (it's now open). At the Shareholders meeting in November 2007 the club announced that it intends to extend the back of the Kop stand with an additional 3,200 seats and remove the pillars holding up the roof. As the revised stand capacity is likely to be about 13,400, it will overtake Anfield to become the largest single tiered Kop stand in British football. United also plan a major upgrade to the Kop facilities and covering of the concourse areas.
Non football related income streams - a plan to build student accommodation at the back of the Kop and a large business centre (office block) between the Kop and South stand. United also announced that its long term ambitions are to add an additional 4,000 seats to the main South (Valad) Stand with the intentions of taking the overall stadium capacity to just over 40,000, however this expansion would depend on demand in the Premiership and any potential 2018 World Cup venue bid. United PLC Chairman Kevin McCabe has stated that he would build Bramall Lane's extensions to any specifications laid down by the FA with a view to the ground hosting matches should England be successful in winning their World Cup bid. Sheffield is looking to be one of the host cities after being succesful in the first stage of their bid.
Where to drink
The favoured pub for away fans is the 'Royal Standard' on St Marys Road (A61), near to the McD's. About a ten minute walk away on Queens Road is 'The 'Earl', further along the road from the away end (about 3/4's of a mile past the B&Q on the left) is the Bridge pub. Other named pubs are the Norfolk Arms pub in the city centre (nr the Ibis Hotel and not far from the train station), and The Howard again near the station or the Yorkshire Grey. The nearest 'safe' pub for away fans from the ground is the Golden Lion, sat at the top end of Bramall Lane.
Plod & Stewards
Should be a hassle free night.
Fear Factor rating - 4.
South Yarkshire hasn't been a happy hunting ground so far this season and so far we've returned pointless from our 2 trips, but in recent seasons we've come away from Bramall Lane with a couple of creditable draws and a draw at one of our main contenders for the play off spots won't be a disaster. Earlier this season we tore the Blades apart and a decent result come 10pm on Tuesday won`t please their movie star supporter but would certainly cement our 007th place.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Monday March 15 2010
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