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Thursday, August 12, 2010

R's on the Road To.......... Sheffield United.

This Saturday sees the R's hit the road for the first time this season and visit a place very familiar and close to Neil Warnock's heart, Sheffield United.


Having seen the R's get off to the best possible start in the league and then follow it up with a disappointing performance in the cup when crashing out to Port Vale in midweek, can we bounce back and continue to impress in the league against a Blades side that has drawn 1-1 at Cardiff and followed that result up with a 2-0 defeat at Hartlepool in the Carling Cup. This could be an intriguing encounter that in previous visits has screamed out 1-1 draw to all those who enjoy a bet.
Here are a few things to help you along the way before Saturday's game.

The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 32,702.


Sheffield United were formed in 1889 as a Football and Bandy club at the Adelphi Hotel, which is now the site of snooker’s famous Crucible Theatre, by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg, as a way of keeping the Sheffield United Cricket Club together during the winter close season, following the departure of Sheffield Wednesday to their new ground at Olive Grove and generating income revenues from Bramall Lane over the winter. Clegg was also the President of Sheffield Wednesday FC. As football became more popular the football team supplanted the cricket team, such that in 1975 cricket was no longer played at Bramall Lane.
Bramall Lane is the oldest major ground in the world having hosted it’s first game in 1862 between Hallam and Sheffield. Bramall Lane also hosted the world’s first ever floodlit game on 14th October 1878. The lights were powered by two separate generators.
In recent times Bramall Lane has seen improvements to the ground and after completion in 2006 the capacity had risen to 32,702.
Further improvements have been earmarked for the future with 3,000 seated being added to the back of The Kop Stand and the pillars being removed and a new roof having a giant screen as part of the roof (similar to the one at White Hart Lane). The second phase would see the Valad Stand (formerly the Arnold Laver Stand) also being extended and upon completion of both stands the capacity would increase to 40,000. These plans were part of the clubs bid to become one of the stadiums for England’s 2018/2022 World Cup bid, but having lost out to bitter rivals Sheffield Wedsnesday these plans have been put on hold until the club is able to regain and maintain Premier League status.
The R’s faithful will be housed in the lower tier of the Halliwells Stand, with up to 3,000 away fans being able to take their place here. The facilities are fairly decent, the concourses provide a narrow but long stretch of space for you to enjoy a pre match beverage with your friends.

The History between the teams.

At Sheffield United (24)

Sheffield United 7
Draw 13

The last time the R’s were victorious in this fixture, home and away, was at Bramall Lane in February 2006 in what was a thrilling encounter.
Marc Nygaard gave Rangers a 6 minute lead before Ade Akinbiyi levelled on 22 and Marc Bircham’s own goal seven minutes later gave United a 2-1 lead at half time. Shortly after the restart The Blades were awarded a penalty after Ian Evatt upended Chris Morgan. Paul Ifill’s poor penalty was saved by Paul Jones in the R’s goal and soon the impetus shifted in Rangers favour. The own goal tallies were even when Chris Morgan headed into his own net on 56 minutes and levelled the game, making the final half hour an interesting contest. The winner came on 74 minutes when Lee Cook delivered a diagonal ball into the path of Paul Furlong and the Rangers striker hit the back of the net. Rangers could’ve increased their lead minutes later when Lee Cook’s shot was too hot for Paddy Kenny to handle and the ball dropped to Furlong, with all the goal to aim at Furlong crashed his effort off the bar. After a tense finale Rangers managed to hang on to their first League success at Bramall Lane since 1993.


How to get there.

By Car:- The postcode for Bramall Lane is S2 4SU
I have found that the easiest way to get to Bramall Lane is to leave the M1 at junction 29 and follow the A617 into Chesterfield. As you enter Chesterfield you’ll come to a big roundabout, take the 4th exit onto the A61, by doing this you will also drive by Chesterfield’s new ground which is currently under construction. After ten miles on the A61 you’ll reach the bottom of the London Road, look for the A621 which is a left turn and this will bring you onto Bramall Lane.
It’s all street parking around this area so I would advise an early arrival if possible, if not then it’s just pot luck.

By Train:- The ground is a 10-15 minute walk from Sheffield’s mainline train station. As you come out of the station, walk left along the main road. Where the road splits take the right fork which is Shoreham Street and continue down this road to the ground.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

Pubs which have been recommended for the visit The Globe (by the train station, 15 minute walk) or the Howard.

The City Centre offers all the usual eating outlets that you would expect of. There are plenty of food shops along the London Road to choose from should you wish to eat before going inside the ground


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