Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Awaydays #10 - Sheffield United

Bramall LaneThe club: Sheffield United (The Blades), Bramall Lane

The ground: I love this ground, two seasons ago we were in the vertigo inducing top tier but this year we were down below. The Blades have redeveloped their stands rather than rebuild, and they look the better for it, because it still has the retro 80s feel of a football ground. There are some modern day attachments too which blend in well meaning the pitch is now totally enclosed. The lower level is shallower in rake and narrower than upstairs which is fairly steep - you only have two extremes. The surrounding streets are closed to traffic helpfully. 8

The facilities and food: The lower concourse is bigger than upstairs and with plenty of bars and toilets. I believe the first aid room is comfortable too! The pie was fairly good, but fell to bits near the end. 7/10

The stewarding/police: The Sheffield police can be quite heavy handed, preferring to herd supporters into one pub and escort coaches straight into the ground, though there was a fairly how key presence. The police were helpful in pointing us to am away fan friendly pub, and the stewards, helpful when one of the party was taken ill (no, not through alcohol intake). The stewards are keen on supporters sitting, but at the front you have to expect that. 7/10

The travelling: Has Sheffield moved? It seems closer than normal. The main gripe is that neither football club is signposted anywhere in or around Sheffield. Parking is at a premium too. Sheffield station is a 15 minute walk away. 5/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): The pubs next to the ground are no go areas for away fans, therefore the nearest two are a hefty walk away around the ring road. The city centre is a similar distance away. 5/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Friendly guys, but not as loud as usual, didn't hear their theme song "Greasy Chip Butty" which was odd. 6/10

Total score: 38/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Sheffield United (Bramall Lane) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

Note that I was unable to go to Carrow Road (first missed away game in two years).

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