RTG’s totally and utterly (we hope) indispensable guide to this season’s away grounds.
THE OPPO –Sheffield United aka The Blades
DATE – Saturday 4th October
KO TIME – 3.00pm
Bramall Lane Stadium is in south central Sheffield, close to the Highfield area.
Visiting supporters are accommodated in the Bramall Lane stand (upper and lower), with around 7,000 seats allocated to away supporters.
Tickets are now on general sale from either the SAFC Ticket Office (tel 0191 551-5151) or online via Ticketmaster, prices £20 for adults, £12 for Senior Citizens and £16 for U16s.
GOING BY CAR?
Like the last away trip to Derby, getting to Sheffield is another fairly easy route. From the north east, get onto the A1; just after you pass junction 45 (for the A64 Leeds/York road) you’ll see signs for the M1 – so take the M1 south, and stay on it until you reach jcn 33 (or for traditionalists, follow the A1 > M18 > M1 route.)
When you leave the M1 at jcn 33, follow signs to Sheffield (A57). Continue along the Sheffield Parkway to the Park Square Roundabout then take the 3rd exit signed A61. You’ll see the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the Bus Station will be on your right. As you pass the Midland Station on your left, take the middle lane as you approach the next roundabout. Stay in this lane over the pedestrian crossing with the Showroom Cinema on your right, and veer right through the traffic lights onto Shoreham Street (A61). Continue through the next two sets of lights and the ground is on your right.
GOING BY TRAIN?
There are 2 trains an hour out of Newcastle, direct to Sheffield. Catch either the 11.08 or 11.45 and you’ll get to Sheffield in time to have a swift half before the match – the journey only takes a couple of hours.
It’s only about a mile from the station to the ground: come out of the station and take the left hand exit at the roundabout in front of the station then go down Shoreham Street.
Coming back, if you can get yourself on either the 5.44 (via Doncaster), the 5.53 or 6.21 trains, you’ll still have time for a few pints in Sunderland before last orders.
For train times for that day, check the National Rail website. Return tickets start at £19 if booked in advance.
Travelodge Sheffield, A630 Ring Road, Sheffield, tel 0870 191 1674
Comfort Inn Sheffield, George Street, Sheffield, tel 01142 739939
Holiday Inn Sheffield, Victoria Station Road, Sheffield, tel 01142 768822
Forte Posthouse, Manchester Road, Sheffield, tel 01142 670067
SCRAN AND BOOZE
The Golden Lion, Earl of Arundel, Norfolk Arms or The Bridge pubs all welcome well-behaved visiting fans. But away supporters are advised to avoid The Railway, The Cricketers and Sheaf House pubs.
There are plenty of eateries in the vicinity if you’re really hungry – many of them on London Road, or there’s a McDonalds on Farm Road, and a Little Chef on Prince of Wales Road.
The Steel City Beer Festival in Sheffield has its final day on the day of the game, from midday to 11pm at St Philip’s Social Club (map here – it’s just up the A61 from Bramall Lane, in the Netherthorpe area of Sheffield. The festival showcases around 60-70 different cask ales, plus continental beers and traditional cider. Food is available and there’s live entertainment on Friday evening and throughout Saturday.
LEND US A FIVER I’M OUT OF CASH
There’s a Lloyds TSB cash machine a stone’s throw from the ground, at 105 Bramall Lane, and another ATM in the nearby ‘Today’ supermarket on London Road (from the Stadium on Bramall Lane, head along Woodhead Road which will then bring you out at London Road, close to these two cash machines).
IN THE NEWS
Like us, they were knocked out of the Carling Cup in the second round – they lost 2-0 to QPR.
Everton goalie Paul Gerrard is in the middle of a three month loan spell at Bramall Lane.
Blades manager Neil Warnock was recently given a four match touchline ban and £300 fine by the FA following his behaviour in the FA Cup semi-final and the Div 1 playoff against Wolves.
Former Chelsea and latterly Fulham midfielder Jon Harley is currently on loan at the Blades.
Finished 3rd out of 24 with 80 points.
Currently 2nd of 24:
P8 W5 D2 L1 F16 A8 Pts 17 GD 8
HEAD TO HEAD
A close-run thing. Sheffield United and Sunderland have met 122 times in the league, we’ve won 54 and they’ve won 44, with 24 draws. The two sides met in the Divison 1 play offs in 1998 where they beat us 2-1 on their own turf in the first leg then.we beat them 2-0 at home in the return leg,
LAST 6 MEETINGS
03/12/02 Blades 2, Lads 0 (League Cup 4th round)
24/04/99 Lads 0, Blades 0 (Div 1)
28/11/98 Blades 0, Lads 4 (Quinn 7, 75, Bridges 13, 35) (Div 1)
13/05/98 Lads 2, Blades 0 (Marker 21 OG, Phillips 38) (Div 1 playoff)
10/05/98 Blades 2, Lads 1 (Ball 17) (Div 1 playoff)
10/01/98 Lads 4, Blades 2 (Quinn 21, Rae 66, Phillips 81,90) (Div 1)
– Best league win: 10-0 vs Port Vale back in December 1892.
– Worst league defeat: 3-10 vs Smogs in November 1933.
– Record transfer fee paid: £1.2m to West Ham for Don Hutchison(Jan 1996)
– Record transfer fee received: £2.7m from Leeds for Brian Deane (Jul 93)
Ironically the Blades owe their very existance to their local rivals, Sheffield Wednesday: the Wednesday team – formed as the footballing arm of Wednesday Cricket Club – began to use the cricket ground at Bramall Lane for matches. These games drew huge crowds and the ground became more and more dependent on these games for income. When Wednesday said they wanted to lease their own ground elsewhere in the area, it was suggested that a team was formed specifically to play at Bramall Lane, and the Sheffield United was born – taking its name from a cricket club called Sheffield United!
County cricket was still played at Bramall Lane until 1973.
In 1901, the Blades bought Sunderland centre forward Alf Common for the princely sum of £325 and he was part of the Sheffield Utd team which won the 1902 FA Cup. Common later returned to Sunderland.
Sheffield legend Jimmy Hagan originally came from the Durham area, working as a miner. He scored 100 league goals in 360 games before retiring in 1957.
Sunderland legend Ian Porterfield – who scored the winning goal in the 1973 FA Cup Final – managed United from 1981 to 1986, making them 4th division champions in 1982; then being sacked by the Blades in 1986
Birmingham City’s current gaffer Steve Bruce managed the Blades for one season in 98/99, resigning because of the lack of funding available to him for team strengthening. He was succeeded by one Adrian Heath, who lasted only a matter of months in the post before he too resigned.
If you’re not dashing home after the match, The Best Disco in Town is on after the match at the Hallam FM arena in the city starting at 7.30. Tickets £31.50 from the ticket office, 0114 256 56 56.
Credits: Sheffield Utd FC official website, thebladesonline.com, Sheffield City Council, Hallam FM Arena, Rough Guide to English Football, Soccerbase, www.streetmap.co.uk, National Rail.