Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Thursday August 30 2012
Leicester City - The King Power Stadium
Leicester - the big spenders of this division. Brought in an international manager, bought ex international players, ended up mid table and as a consequence decided that a hard working manager in his second spell at the helm of the club is the way forward. The pressures on though, not the best of starts and a home cup humiliation at the hands of Burton midweek I`m pleased to say it`s an inform Pool that can hopefully continue the 100% start to our season
How to get there
Join the M55 then the M6 South. Leave at J15 and take the A500. From the A500 join the A50 and follow this until it eventually joins the M1. Head South. Leave the M1at Junction 21 (M1), where you should exit and follow the signs for the City Centre via the A5460. After 3 miles turn right onto Upperton Road, go over the bridge and take the first right down Western Boulevard and you will see the ground on your right-hand side.
For the sat navvers - LE2 7FL.
Parking - there's a small car park by the Counting House pub if you get there early enough, be aware though getting away from the ground is a nightmare.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - the ground is walk able from the station should take you around 20-25 minutes. Come out of the station, cross the road in front of the station and proceed to the left. Follow this round to the right and now you are walking with the main Central Ring Road (Waterloo Way) on your left. Keep this to your left as the pavement becomes a separate path and the road sinks down into a dip down to your left. A quick left and right to stay on the pathway as it crosses New Walk and you go down the left hand side of New Walk Museum. The pathway rejoins the main road as pavement again and you see a small recreation ground (Nelson Mandela Park) on your right. Turn right into Lancaster Rd and then cross the park to the crossings over the main road by the public lavatories. Head towards the Victory pub opposite, turn left across the front of the Leicester Royal infirmary. First right into Walnut St and you can see the stadium behind the old Filbert Street ground'
We've had a run of playing at the Walkers in all 3 competitions - the League, FA Cup and the League Cup. I've been every time and added to watching Leeds play there on the last game of a Championship season (before we got there) I've had varying experiences of enjoyment.
Leicester's previous ground was at nearby Filbert Street, which had been their home since 1891. It was gradually upgraded during the 20th century and with the advent of the Taylor Report in 1990 Leicester's directors began to investigate the possibility of building a new stadium during the early 1990s, but initially decided to take the redevelopment option by building a new stand on one side of Filbert Street and fitting seats into the remaining standing areas, giving the stadium a 21,500 all-seated capacity by the 1994-95 season.
Filbert Street's conversion to an all-seater stadium coincided with their promotion to the Premier League after a seven-year exile from the top flight, and with their relegation after just one season it appeared that the 21,500 capacity would be adequate.
However, success in the late 1990s saw crowds rise, which meant that virtually every game at Filbert Street was a sell-out by the end of the decade. Relocation was soon back on the cards; several similar sized clubs had relocated to new stadiums around this time, including Leicester's midland rivals Stoke City and Derby County.
Some parts of the ground — the East and North Stands in particular — were also somewhat outdated, which led the manager, Martin O'Neill to joke that when he showed Filbert Street to new signings he led them backwards out of the players tunnel to prevent them from seeing the East Stand.
In early 1998 plans were announced for a 40,000 all-seater stadium to be built at Bede Island South in time for the 2000-01 season, but these plans were abandoned on 5 January 2000. Chairman John Elsom vowed that other options, including relocation to another site or even further redevelopment of Filbert Street, would be considered, hoping that either option would have materialised by August 2002.
The relocation option was soon settled upon, as plans were unveiled on 2 November 2000 for a 32,000-seat stadium at nearby Freeman's Wharf, with 2003-04 being the expected completion date, although it was suggested at the time relocation could happen at the start of the 2002-03 season. Work on the stadium began in the summer of 2001, and by 10 October that year it was confirmed that the new stadium would be ready for the 2002-03 season.
The Stadium is impressive. Ten years old and is the 19th largest stadium in England.
The concourses are big, albeit the entry and exit to the gents are a maze. We will be sat in the corner close to their annoying slim drummer at the end of the Air Asia East Stand. For those sat at the back it's a fair distance from the pitch, but wherever you sit the view is generally very good.
Where to drink
Most of the pubs near to the stadium are home fans only. Your best bet is the Counting House on Freemens Common Road. Situated close to the Retail Park, and near the away end. Another recommended pub is the 'The Leicester Gateway', on Gateway Street, near to the hospital. Listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide the Gateway is around a 15 minute walk away from the away entrance. With the away entrance at your back, turn left and go along the back of the stand. When you reach the Leicester City Club Shop, bear right and cross over the road. Follow this road down to the junction with Upperton Road. Turn right at the t-junction and then you need to cross over the road to the opposite side and then continue right to you reach Jarrom Street. Go along Jarrom Street and take the fourth left into Gateway Street. The pub is a short distance along this road on the right.
For those arriving by train then 'The Hind' pub across the road from the station serves a selection of real ales. Otherwise ale is available inside the ground.
Plod & Stewards
I can honestly say that with every visit to the Walkers I have seen trouble. This has not been helped by the level of stewarding inside the ground. On the League Cup visit two Pool fans were literally carried out of their seats for the crime of smoking, long before the law changed. Heavy handed they certainly are, and with little signs of any tolerance I've come away before with the feeling that they have been itching for it.
Fear Factor Rating - 6.
Watch yourself on the way out, there's usually loads of gobby home fans mingling immediately with away fans, especially if the result hasn't gone their way.
Hello, hello - Blackpool are back, Blackpool are back.' For anyone who was there on our opening game return to the Championship that song will bring back many happy memories. Ian Holloway isn't a name that will conjure up happy memories for most Leicester fans. What a difference a club makes to a manger.
Now step forward the one player Pool fans love to hate - good old Richie Wellens. It's now been over 7 years since the mercurial talent left Bloomers and the venom towards him seems to grow year by year. In a recent visit and on Charlie Adam's debut a tangle and subsequent stamp saw the Adam red card achieve legendary status, yep - it really does run that deep. Richie here`s hoping come 7pm on Saturday the watching nation are listening to a chant of "Wellens, Wellens what`s the score?" from the travelling tangerine table toppers.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Thursday August 30 2012
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