Tuesday, 18 Jun 2024

Elland Road: Leeds United

Since its establishment in 1919, Elland Road has been the home ground for Leeds United Football Club. However, the history of the stadium predates the formation of the club. Built in 1897, Elland Road initially served as the home ground for Holbeck Rugby Club and was originally known as The Old Peacock Ground, named after the pub located opposite to it.

Before Leeds United, another football team, Leeds City Football Club, played games on the Elland Road pitch. Leeds City was the leading professional club in the city from 1904 until it dissolved in 1919 due to financial difficulties. Interestingly, none of the Leeds City players ever played for Leeds United.

The Stadium

Elland Road is the twelfth largest football stadium in England and the second largest outside of the current Premier League. Over the years, the stadium has undergone renovation to keep it up-to-date. In fact, it has hosted various events, including rugby matches for Holbeck Rugby Club and the Hunslet Hawks, games for Huddersfield Town and Bradford City, and non-Leeds matches such as FA Cup semi-finals and matches during the 1996 European Championships.

The ground has a unique design, deviating from the traditional four distinct stands found in turn-of-the-century grounds. Instead, Elland Road has a more bowl-like design, particularly evident in the uninterrupted lower tier of the stands that encircles the stadium.

Seating Plan

Here’s a closer look at each section of the ground:

  • The North Stand, also known as The Kop, is where the hardcore Leeds United supporters gather. It is also referred to as The Revie Stand, in memory of Don Revie, the club’s most successful manager.
  • The East Stand runs along the side of the pitch and features two tiers separated by a row of executive boxes, accommodating over 15,000 supporters.
  • The South Stand, also known as The Elland Road Stand, underwent modernization during the 2006-2007 season. It has two tiers separated by boxes.
  • The West Stand, known as The John Charles West Stand, was named in honor of the former player in 2004.
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Ticket Prices and How to Obtain Tickets

Leeds United offers tickets in two categories: A and B. The category of the match depends on the opposition the club will be facing. Ticket prices also vary based on age and seating location. Here are the cheapest and most expensive ticket options for adults and concessions:

  • Category A: £35 – £47 / £28 – £32
  • Category B: £32 – £45 / £25 – £31

To purchase tickets, the official Leeds United website is the recommended platform. Tickets can also be obtained at the club’s ticket office located at Elland Road Stadium. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling the ticket office directly.

Getting to Elland Road

Although Elland Road is located slightly outside the city, it is easily accessible through various means of transportation. Here are the most common methods:

  • Train: Leeds Railway Station, approximately two miles away, is serviced by major UK rail lines. The closest station to the stadium is Cottingley, requiring a local service from Leeds.
  • Bus: The R2 match day shuttle bus service runs from opposite the train station to the ground. Bus numbers 51, 52, and 55 also operate between the city center and Elland Road, with service suspended an hour before and after matches.
  • Car: For those traveling by car, different routes can be taken based on the direction of travel, utilizing motorways such as the A1, M1, and M621.
  • Air: Leeds-Bradford Airport, located approximately twelve miles away, is the best option for those arriving from abroad. The Flying Tiger bus service transports passengers from the airport to Leeds city center.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available, with the journey from Leeds Railway Station to Elland Road taking less than ten minutes under favorable traffic conditions.
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Parking

On-street parking near the ground is restricted to residents only. However, Leeds City Council operates several car parks near Elland Road, with Fullerton being the closest option.

Hospitality and Facilities

Elland Road offers excellent hospitality options, fitting for one of Leeds’ premier venues. Among the many choices available, here are a few highlights:

  • The Peter Lorimer Suite: Named after the club’s all-time record goalscorer, this suite provides a three-course menu, reserved table dining, and padded seats in the upper tier of The East Stand.
  • The Nineteen 19 Suite: Reflecting the year the club was founded, this suite offers a two-course carvery, dedicated waitress service, and padded seats in The East Stand.
  • The Gary Speed Suite: Named in honor of the Leeds United legend, this modern suite features a one-course buffet-style meal, a pre-match preview by a former Leeds player, a private cash bar, and padded seats in The East Stand.

Stadium Tours and Museum

Leeds United allows fans to take guided tours of the stadium on match days. During the tour, visitors can explore various areas, including the changing rooms, press areas, hospitality sections, and the tunnel leading to the pitch. You can even experience sitting in the dugout, envisioning what it would be like as a player preparing for a match.

Tours are available at specific times throughout the day, especially on match days. The duration of the tour is approximately one and a half hours, with ticket prices of £15 for adults, £10 for concessions, and £5 for under-16s. Additionally, tour participants receive a 10% discount at the superstore. It is essential to book tours in advance through the club.

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About Leeds United

Leeds United came close to establishing themselves as a permanent Premier League force in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Under the guidance of George Graham and later David O’Leary, they challenged the elite clubs and made an impressive run in the Champions League. Financial mismanagement, however, led to a decline, relegation, and a struggle to recover. It took the club 16 years to return to the top flight, only to be relegated again after three years.

Leeds United boasts a rich history, winning the First Division three times, finishing as runners-up five times, and winning the Second Division three times. They have also won the FA Cup and League Cup once each and were runners-up in the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. The club’s most successful period was under the management of Don Revie, with Brian Clough’s short tenure famously documented in the book and film “The Damned United.”

Future Developments

Leeds United previously contemplated moving to a new purpose-built stadium in the city but faced financial difficulties. Consequently, redevelopment plans for Elland Road have become more likely. Future plans include expanding the capacity to 55,000, adding a hotel and casino, and improving various stands. However, these plans may be subject to change due to the club’s relegation in 2023.