1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
This was my first away trip of the season, and was particularly looking forward to it for a number of reasons. Since I did a project at school on the Hillsbrough disaster, I've always been interested in this tragedy. I often visit family in Sheffield, and drive past the ground every time I visit the city, however have never been inside, and was looking forward to doing so. Also this was probably Leeds' biggest derby of the season and I was looking forward to the atmosphere that me and 5,000 other Leeds fans would make.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
The game had been moved to a friday night for policing/television reasons, and so the traffic was particularly bad on my drive from my home in Newcastle to the ground itself, this traffic worsened as we got closer to the stadium, however still made it to the seats, half an hour before kick off. The ground itself is fairly easy to find, it's quite a bit out of Sheffield city centre, unlike Bramall Lane however there are plenty of signposts as you approach it.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
We jumped out the car on the main road in front of the stadium, and walked towards the away end (Leppings Lane), despite our Leeds shirts being on full show, there were no problems with the home fans. As we entered the ground, I saw some fans being turned away as they didn't have their membership cards as well as their tickets, they were told to bring both, however I still felt it was slightly harsh to turn them away.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The ground is quite big from the outside, and is one of the more traditional stadiums in English football, we walked through the turnstiles in the Leppings Lane (away end) and we entered another outside area/pen. This was quite surreal and emotional as this was the very area where Liverpool fans had passed through on that fateful day in 1989. I noticed that a Liverpool scarf was tied to a pillar, which was a poignant note.
We walked up the stairs to our seats and despite the outside of the away end looking very old, the inside was slightly more modern. Our seats were in the upper tier of the stand next to an empty corner occupied by police, and fairly close to the Wednesday fans. The view was partly obstructed by a number of pillars. The rest of the ground seemed massive from the inside, and it was nice to see such an old fashioned ground similar Elland Road.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
The game itself was as you'd expect a local derby to be, tackles flying in etc. The Leeds fans as ever made a constant noise, however credit to the home support who also sang fairly loudly, however helped by the presence of a drummer (shouldn't allow them into the ground if you ask me). Wednesday scored toward the end of the first half, which quitened the away support slightly. 10 minutes or so into the second half, things turned unsavoury with coins, bottles and even some seats being thrown at a group of Wednesday fans who had been baiting the away support. Several riot police were brought in to seperate the fans and as this going on, Leeds scored a late equaliser which stimulated more scenes in the away end. A few Leeds fans ran onto the pitch, one even hit the Wednesday keeper, more missiles were thrown toward the home end, and in truth the police and stewards were overwhelmed. It took a while for order to be restored.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
We were let out the ground almost straight away after the game and there was a heavy police presence outside to greet us. I didn't get any hassle from the home fans as I walked back to the car.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Some of the scenes were unsavoury to say the least. However it was a great atmosphere and at the end of the day no-one was seriously hurt. It was a more memorable away trip, however one I thoroughly enjoyed, and won't be forgetting in a hurry.
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