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Hillsborough, Sheffield Wednesday
v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Division One 
Saturday 1st February 2003, 3pm
By Tim Rigby

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

There was no special reason for going to this ground, but being one of the better and bigger grounds in the first division it was a good one to pick.

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

Getting to Sheffield was fairly easy, here's a tip for anyone using the rail network. Plan in advance, and buy local tickets, it's a lot cheaper. For example Wolverhampton to Sheffield is 29 return. However Wolverhampton to Derby is 12.20, and Derby to Sheffield is 7.40, 10 saved.

Once in the city, it was just a case of working out the stand system in the Transport Interchange, (which took a while), before being told to go to the far side to catch a football special, which was 1 up to Hillsborough. That took me to outside the ground, no problems at all. It may only be 2 miles to the stadium, however, with all the hills it takes a lot longer than you would expect, if you are going to go this way, I would recommend the latest bus you should get is the 2:20pm departure, as it took us the best part of an hour to get there. 

A word of warning to drivers, park in the City Centre, and catch the bus. Judging by the traffic jams, outside the ground before and after. I wouldn't even bother driving there. 

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

Before the game had a walk around the city, it's a nice place, with lots of great architecture, they have managed to fit in all the modern shops of a High Street today, and keep a lot of the old buildings still standing, looking nice, but I got the feeling I missed a lot of it, people have told me how great a place Sheffield is, and coming away, I couldn't really say that. 

As for eating, played it safe and ate in McDonalds, cant go wrong there. Although did walk past a chippy near Hallam University, that had some nice aromas coming out of it, when we play United in April, I might go in there.

 

Didn't see any trouble before or after, Wolves fans mixed in the city, with both United and Wednesday shirts, and around the ground, it all seemed fairly pleasant and peaceful, which made for a nice change. 

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

The bus dropped us off outside the Kop, so it was a case of walking to the other end, which in itself there was no problems. The outside of the ground isn't that impressive, its big, particularly walking under the South Stand. Then getting into the West stand, its one of those old small entrances, at least that's what you think, until you get inside, and then you realise its one of the more larger areas of the ground! Inside it is very cramped, the gangways aren't particularly the widest in the world, and the seats are closer together than Coventry. 

> The ground itself, is huge, a great cavernous old style stadium. There were a few posts in the way, however they didn't cause many problems, although if you were sitting in the lower tier, I imagine they would restrict more of your view. If your ticket says 'post in view' don't worry too much, as it isn't that bad. 

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

The game was fairly dire. We didn't play brilliant, and Sheffield were worse! 4-0 to Wolves was a massive lie to how we played, and very harsh on Wednesday. But on this form they are going down, the big difference between the two teams was that we believed in ourselves and they didn't. All their hard work came to nothing, in reality we were never threatened. 

What would help is a bit of atmosphere, maybe it was the size of the ground in relation to the crowd, but other than the band there was hardly any noise from the Wednesday fans, and we were unusually quite. Perhaps if the away fans were placed in the lower tier of the Leppings Lane end of the ground rather than hidden up at the top it would help, but its such a waste having a big nice ground like that, and it being half empty, Sheffield is a massive city, and should be able to attract a crowd of 30,000+ whatever the level of football played.

The toilets were old, and facilities dated, however they did meet requirements and were better planned out than a lot of modern stadiums. As for stewards, I hardly saw any throughout the game, nor police, although as always there was a heavy presence outside the ground, but they weren't overbearing. Afterwards when trying to find the club shop, one steward went above and beyond duty and was particularly helpful, walking me halfway around the ground to find it. 

6. Comment on getting away from the ground 

As above, went to the club shop first and came out to find that either the football specials didn't run after the game, or I had missed them all! Did get a normal bus though, and arrived back in the city around about 6:00pm. The traffic immediately outside the ground was horrendous, and in the end I found it easier to walk about 10 minutes up the A61 Penistone Road towards the City, and once the traffic has dispersed a bit catch a bus there. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out.

It was a good day out, and one I would recommend to anyone, however this being my first visit for a while to an older ground, I now fully appreciate modern stadiums and their comfort. Its just a shame they cant balance today's comfort, and facilities with yesterdays character. Some grounds these days you have to read the names in the seats to find out where you are!

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