Sheffield United
Bramall Lane

Ground No. 8 (return visit)
Visited - Saturday 27th November 2004
Result - Sheffield United 3-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Coca Cola Championship
Attendance - 18,946

This was to be my third visit to Bramall Lane, and I was quite looking forward to it, despite the mood around the club being pretty bad with the search for a new manager still ongoing, and results not picking up. So it was in good spirits that we set off for the trip north.

After having to endure a packed train to Birmingham, we soon changed onto another one, although that was unbearably hot, but the journey passed surprisingly quickly, arriving into Sheffield a little over an hour after leaving New St.

We spent a bit of time before the game looking around Sheffield, seeing some familiar places, before walking down to the ground at about 1:30pm. Getting there with no problems, having forgotten just how close it is to the city centre, taking the time to walk all around, taking pictures along the way. Despite thinking that I was familiar with the ground, walking around the outside made me think otherwise, with not many of the features really bringing back any memories, so it was quite good to see it again, not that there really was much to see, unfortunately the outside really lets the ground down, especially The Kop, which has nothing underneath it, other than the structural supports. Also not looking brilliant, is the South Stand, which really looks its age having a predominantly concrete exterior, the same with the Bramall Lane stand, but the John St Stand rescues the ground, with the executive entrance being especially striking.

After going around, we went to go in, before being stopped by a rather obsessive steward, who really was intent on doing his job in searching me. Not that he was impolite, or aggressive, just a total jobsworth. He had spotted my camera, and decided to inform me of the ground rules about not being allowed to take cameras in, taking my ticket looking at the rules on the back of it, before realising there wasn’t a rule on it! Grumbling, he finally let me in! I was of course a little put off by that, but once inside the stewards seemed to be more friendly, and after being told by a friend that he had no problems, I went and took some, without anything being said.

Once inside, unlike the exterior, it really is quite an appealing ground, other than the away end. It's not the smartest, and as you can see in the design of the Streetwise Corner, hasn’t really been planned out all that well from a design point of view, but above all else, it’s a real ground, not one of the plastic McStadiums of Leicester and Southampton, but the good old sort, with character and just something about it that as a fan who grew up as a kid engrossed by everything about the game, something you cant quite put your finger on, but its one of my more favourite grounds, with the huge Kop End, and the big South Stand to the right of the away end. The John St Stand as well adds a nice touch, in pictures I'm never quite sure about it only having a single tier, but once in the ground, it looks good and fits in with the surroundings, the corner has helped close it in, and also adds something to the ground, with its poor design being easily excused as character.

Of course as mentioned before, the one let down is the away end. The facilities are poor, the seats are uncomfortable, and really, it just looks a bit of a mess from both outside and within. In regards to the seats, it's not just because they're made from wood, the wooden seats at Burnley are some of the most comfortable that I have sat in, but the ones here have ample leg and width room, although the steepness of the stand isn’t brilliant, but they are just flat, hard and quite annoying in not having a spring on the hinge! Hopefully they will redevelop this end, and if they do, with perhaps an increased capacity then Bramall Lane will be right up there as one of my top 5 favourite grounds.

Anyway, ground aside, onto the match. We hadn't been expecting much, but got off to a good start when we went close, and should have scored really within the first five minutes, but we let the chance go begging. Minutes later though we were ahead, after a cross into the box came to Olofinjana, who volleyed it home in some style. After that we looked quite good, and dangerous going forward, but Sheffield United were equally as dangerous, and after some poor marking from a corner Bromby found some space in the box to hit it home. With that we were doomed, or so we thought. The rest of the half was played out, with United looking most dominant, but we still had chances, and went into the break ruing the missed chance early on.

The second half was continued in the same attacking style from both teams, and our second on 50 minutes even got the home fans applauding, with some box to box build up play that could have been mistaken for something from an Arsenal-Chelsea game! The pace and accuracy of the passing was a telling difference, slicing through the Blades defence, leaving Carl Cort to tap home. Unfortunately, we haven't learnt to defend like either of the two aforementioned teams, and within 3 minutes United were level again, with a goal we really should have coped with better. After that they were on the up, and were really controlling the game, taking a deserved lead 15 minutes from time, with a nicely finished goal from Paul Shaw. Looking beat, we didn’t offer much attacking ideas until 3 minutes from time, when poor defending by Sheffield let in Jolean Lescott to tap home from a crowded box to equalise and get a point. There were still a few chances for both sides, and we could have won it, but it wasn’t to be, and a draw in the end was a fair result.

We left the ground in a good mood, and walked back to the station with no problems, with there thankfully being no sign of the trouble that marred the aftermath of the game I'd come to two years ago.

Overall it was a good day out, it’s a great ground to visit, although I'd like to go back there when its full, as the 18,000 crowd was disappointing, also the lack of singing from the home end is something that would be good to see more of, but all the same its an enjoyable trip and one that no doubt I’ll do again.

Layout of the Ground

Rear of the John Street Stand

Main Entrance to the John Street Stand

Rear of the Kop

Rear of the South Stand

Rear of the Bramall Lane Stand

The South Stand

The Kop

The John Street Stand

The John Street Stand

The Kop

The South Stand


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