Leeds United
Elland Road

Ground No. 34
Visited – Tuesday 10th February 2004
Result – Leeds United 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition – FA Barclaycard Premier League
Attendance – 36,867

Beforehand I had mixed feelings about this game, as to whether I really wanted to go or not, on the one hand, the threat of violence, after a bit of fighting at home last December, and it being a midweek fixture a fair way away, and with no trains back meaning a stay over was putting me off, but on the other hand, my quest to see every single game this season, and this being a 6 pointer made me decide that one way or the other this was a game I was definitely going to.

For weeks before, I was wondering about what to do, in terms of getting a hotel, with there being no trains back from Leeds to the midlands, but thankfully at the previous home game to this one, I had found someone who was driving up and offered me a lift, which I readily accepted.

The journey went well, driving up the A38/M1/M621 and only took a few hours in light traffic. I'd heard about looking out for the East Stand, but when you actually see it looming up in front of you as you are on the motorway, it really is quite a sight, from the road it looks simply huge, standing above everything else for miles around. We left the motorway and were directed by a steward to one of the official car parks, which was only £3.

Prior to the game we didn’t really have much time to do anything, we walked around the ground a few times, and into the club shop, before trying to find a pub. We didn’t have much luck in our quest though, all the ones we found looked a bit dodgy and were home fans only, so we gave up in the end and made our way into the ground early to have a drink in there.

The home fans were friendly enough before the game, everyone was mingling around the ground in a relaxed attitude, which was a nice change, from the greeting we were told to expect.  

We went in and had a drink underneath the stand, where there were tables and chairs to sit down on at half time and before the match, which was quite good, and it’s a pity more clubs don’t have something like this. After this we went up to our seats, the stewards being helpful in finding them for us. We were in the upper tier of the corner, and it was quite a good view, with facilities and legroom being good. As for the rest of the ground its quite interesting, in the fact that despite being a bit old now (East Stand excepted), it is big, characteristic and generally quite a nice place, aesthetically wise that is. There were quite a few pillars in the away corner, but fortunately I was OK, having a superb view of the action. It's probably not the best ground that I've been to in my travels, but by no means the worst.

The game got started and the first half was a good, well balanced match, Leeds took the lead from a goal mouth scramble, but we hit back with an absolute beauty from Vio Ganea, unfortunately they managed to get a second just before the break from another scrappy effort.

As for the second half, the less said the better. Our players were awful, slow footed at the back, and pedestrian going forward, without Paul Ince in the team directing play we seemed bereft of ideas, he may not be quite the player he was, but he is vital to Wolves, a genuine leader of the team. In fairness though Leeds did play well, coming forward they were frightening, with the pace of Milner, Smith and Viduka, and they eventually made this pay when they scored another two, which we gifted them really.

Throughout the game there was a good atmosphere, the Leeds fans seemed really up for it, and made a lot of noise, we reciprocated, and it made for a nice change after going to so many quite grounds this year.

Afterwards, coming out there was a bit of trouble, but the police seemed to have it all taken care of, although when they were rounding up the Burberry brigade, they grabbed my mate who had a pretty hard time convincing them that he was only trying to get back to the car! Once we did get back to the car, we managed to get away quickly, which was a surprise giving the volume of traffic and people.

Overall it was a good day out, shame about the result, but a nice ground to go to nonetheless, and I’ll enjoy going back if and when we play them again.  

Ground No. 34 (return visit)
Visited – Saturday 2nd April 2005
Result – Leeds United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition – Coca-Cola Championship
Attendance – 29,773

After Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, Elland Road is by far the biggest ground in the Championship, and many would argue the best. I'd been here once before, and despite the result that time had generally enjoyed the trip, so was looking forward to going back again.

I started the day early, catching the train north to Manchester, before changing there for another train over the Pennines to Leeds, arriving just after midday. I took the time to have a look around the city centre, something I hadn’t had the chance to do on the previous occasion. Generally speaking it’s a fairly nice city, with a lot of regeneration having gone on, but probably one more for the women with the amount of clothes shops that seemed to be down every street! At about 1:30pm, started to walk down to the ground, and after a brief moment of confusion in trying to find my bearings near to the station, I managed the two mile walk in under half an hour, which was good going, although I was kind of going fast mainly due to passing through a pretty dodgy looking area, not one id like to walk through every Saturday afternoon!

I arrived at the ground at about 1:50pm, and walked all around the outside, taking pictures. It was much as I'd remembered it, with only the East Stand standing out, both in terms of height and design. The other 3 stands look a bit dated, and bland. I did try to get pictures of the club shop, and the Billy Bremner statue, but unfortunately both areas were particularly crowded, so didn’t quite get them as good as I'd wanted, so after finishing taking pics, I went into the ground at about 2:15pm, and found my seat.

Last season we had been situated in the South-East corner, after some petty squabbling between the two clubs, over ticket sales arrangements, but this time around we had the whole of the South Stand. I was sitting right behind the goal, but unfortunately was too low for my liking, having the net filling most of my view, which was a shame. The ground, despite seeing it from a slightly different angle, was much as I'd remembered it, with the huge East Stand to our right, towering above everything, and seemingly going on forever into the sky, dwarfing its smaller, and older neighbours, which despite their age, and limited facilities, do look fairly good, continuing all around the pitch, which can make for quite an intimidating venue when the fans are up for it, as they were last season.

Before kick-off there was a minutes silence in honour of Elsie Revie, widow of ex-manager Don, as expected that was observed well, and once finished the game got started. As with a lot of our recent performances under Hoddle, unfortunately it wasn’t a lot to speak about, but we took the lead just before the break, although with it being down the other end, and our view being limited, we didn’t have a clue that we had even scored until the players came running away! It was a bullet header from Carl Cort through a crowded penalty area, apparently! 

After the interval the home side looked more fired up, and they equalised early on, after Rob Edwards had kicked a ball away, the referee moved a harmless free kick 10 yards further forward, which could only have helped Shaun Derry’s effort sail past Michael Oakes into the far corner of the net, not to take anything away from a well taken shot, but we only had ourselves to thank because of Edwards stupidity, and a weak effort to save it from Oakes. The game played itself out to a mediocre finish, with only a Miller effort, which hit the post, giving any excitement for either side.

Afterwards we were kept in for around about 20 minutes, which wasn’t really that bad a thing, as I hadn’t had the chance to get many pictures of the stadium empty earlier, and remembering the trouble from 14 months previously, it was perhaps reassuring that the police were on alert this time around.

Once out, I'd intended to take some more pictures of the club shop and Bremner statue, but the police had both sealed off for some reason, which seemed stupid, so had to leave disappointed, and make my way back to the station, the same rather dodgy way as previously, before a long journey back, once more via Manchester.

Overall it had been a fairly good day, there hadn’t been the sign of trouble that there had last time around, and the stewards were fairly good as well. The main difference to my first visit was the crowd, perhaps being 7000 people down didn’t help, although I tend to think the dull game and apathy around both clubs was the more likely reason, but the atmosphere was fairly poor, which was something that had set Elland Road apart from many grounds, so that was a shame, but it’s a nice ground all the same, and despite showing its age, its one of my favourite in the league, so no doubt I’ll find myself back there one of the days.

The Club Shop

The Billy Bremner Statue and Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the  Revie Stand

Rear of the John Charles Stand

Rear of the South Stand

The John Charles Stand

The Revie Stand

The East Stand

The East Stand

The Revie Stand

The John Charles Stand

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