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Elland Road
  Leeds United v Bristol Rovers
League One
Saturday, May 8th, 2010, 3pm
Josh Townend
(Bristol Rovers fan)


1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Being the last match of the season and playing Leeds away, then it was going to a big game. But with Leeds knowing that a win could seem them promoted, then it was a massive game for the home fans. We were particularly excited because the Gas hadn't been doing too bad either and there was a full house being forecast (as Rovers fans, we weren't used to 10,000 let alone 40,000!)

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Obviously, coming from Bristol meant it was a long journey but we got into the city centre with  relative ease and from there we took a bus into the ground. All that was left for us to do was to find a pub and then our seats.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Having done some research before the game, we knew there was a pub right opposite the ground called the Old Peacock. We were going to go there but when we arrived, it was heaving with Leeds fans and we didn't want any trouble getting our drinks. We asked a couple of very friendly Leeds fans who recommended the Drysalters which was a ten-minute walk down the road. They served a range of draught lagers (mine was very satisfying) and they also served food which was an added bonus. This was also a busy pub but not as busy as the Old Peacock, although there was quite a buzz inside.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

We were seated in what is affectionately known by Leeds fans as the 'cheese wedge'. For anyone unfamiliar, this is the corner between the South Stand and the huge East Stand which is painted yellow. As we had arrived just as the players were entering the pitch, the ground was pretty full. It definitely seemed like the menacing fortress it had been hyped up to be, as the vocal end was full and there was a real sense of closure as there seemed to be no particularly open part of the ground.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

As for atmosphere I've never seen anything like it. It was quite an eye-opener as a Rovers fan because we've never played in front of a particularly big crowd like this. The atmosphere took quite a sinister turn when Gradel was sent off for Leeds. The home fans weren't happy at that and Jones for Rovers, who was involved in the incident took a lot of stick every time he touched the ball. I thought our party-pooping hadn't gone down too well with the Leeds fans and they didn't seem particularly happy with us and we were getting lots of stick from fans in the South Stand.

It was nice to open the scoring because it shut them up for a bit. There was a real party atmosphere at our end because we never expected to be 1-0 up in front of a crowd of about 40,000. The Leeds  fans seemed really quiet and the lift came from when their local lad Howson came on. He changed the game and soon after Leeds were level. This was greeted by immense noise created by the Leeds fans and suddenly, we were feeling intimidated. My  heart sank and I could see this was the point where we had truly entered the lions' den. There was nowhere to run or hide for the players and it was heart breaking to just see them cripple under the noise.

Despite our best efforts in the away end, the team couldn't be lifted and then the inevitable happened. Club hero and captain Jermaine Beckford grabbed a winner and that was it. Havoc broke out in the stands, there was pandemonium everywhere you looked and it was a very surreal experience  to see 40,000 people make such a noise. We decided to stay for a little for full time as it was nice to see the promotion celebrations amongst the Leeds fans with a massive pitch invasion. We set off back for Bristol after an exhilarating 90 minutes that I will never forget. I'm sure that given our current situation we won't be returning any time soon but it might be nice to pop up and see another big game some day, just to relive that atmosphere.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It was quite easy, all the Leeds fans were in the ground partying so we had quite a hassle free journey back to Leeds city centre and the journey back to Bristol was trouble-free

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Despite the result, I was overawed by everything, the ground, the atmosphere, the game itself was electric. I would definitely recommend it if Leeds' big day comes against your team. It'll be an experience you'll never forget..


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