Elland Road

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Elland Road
Panoramic view of a packed Elland Road stadium from the south east corner of the stadium.jpg
Panoramic view of a packed Elland Road from the South East corner of the stadium.
Full name Elland Road Football Stadium
Former names Old Peacock Ground[1]
Location Elland Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England LS11 0ES
Coordinates 53°46′40″N 1°34′20″W / 53.77778°N 1.57222°W / 53.77778; -1.57222Coordinates: 53°46′40″N 1°34′20″W / 53.77778°N 1.57222°W / 53.77778; -1.57222
Built 1897[1]
Opened 1897[1]
Renovated 1920s, 1953, 1971, 1994, 2006, 2011-2012[1]
Expanded 1905, 1920s, 1957, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1989, 1991, 1994[1]
Owner Leeds United A.F.C.
Operator Leeds United A.F.C.
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Philips Vidiwall
Capacity 37,914[2]
Field dimensions 115 yd × 74 yd (105 m × 68 m)[3]
Tenants
Leeds City: 1904–1919
Leeds United: 1919–present
Huddersfield Town: 1950 (2 games)
Hunslet Hawks: Mid-1980s
Bradford City: 1985 (3 games)

Elland Road is a football stadium in Leeds, West Yorkshire. It has been the home of Leeds United A.F.C. since the club's foundation in 1919 and it was previously occupied by Leeds City.[4]

The stadium is the 12th largest football stadium in England, and the second largest outside the Premier League.

The ground has hosted FA Cup semi-final matches as a neutral venue, and England international fixtures,[5] having been selected as one of eight Euro 96 venues.[6] Previously, Elland Road was home to Holbeck Rugby Club and although used primarily for football since the early 20th century, rugby league returned when the ground was used by the Hunslet Hawks for several seasons in the mid-1980s.[7] The stadium has hosted concerts, including performances from rock bands Queen, U2, Happy Mondays and more recently, the Kaiser Chiefs and Rod Stewart.[8][9][10][11]

Elland Road comprises four main stands – the Revie Stand, the East Stand, the South Stand and the John Charles Stand– which, together with the corners, bring the total capacity to 37,914.[12] The record attendance of 57,892 was set on 15 March 1967 in an FA Cup 5th round replay against Sunderland.[4] This was before the stadium became an all-seater venue as stipulated by the Taylor Report and the modern record is 40,287 for a Premiership match against Newcastle United on 22 December 2001.[13]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The site, at the foot of Beeston Hill beside the A643 road to Elland, was owned by Bentley's Brewery and was called the Old Peacock Ground, after the pub which faced the land, hence the nickname the Peacocks associated with both Leeds City and United. The first occupants were Holbeck Rugby Club (rugby league) who moved from Holbeck Recreation Ground after buying the Old Peacock Ground from Bentley's for £1,100.

The club erected a new stand in readiness for the 1898–99 season. The ground eventually became known simply as Elland Road. For the 1902–03 season the Association football team, Leeds Woodville of the Leeds League shared the ground with Holbeck RLFC in the 1902–03 season, but Holbeck went under in 1904 after losing a play-off against St Helens and the ground was put on the market. After a meeting at the Griffin Hotel in Boar Lane in August, a new club, Leeds City, was formed and it was agreed that the Elland Road ground would be rented for the upcoming season. The lease was signed on 13 October 1904, for a rent of £75 per year. The club had an option to buy the ground for £5,000 in March 1905, but in November, the price was reduced to £4,500.

After City's first season in the Football League, the club built a 5,000-seater covered stand on the west side at a cost of £1,050. Attendances were rising, culminating in over 22,500 people cramming into the stadium to watch a local derby with Bradford City on 30 December, bringing in £487 of gate receipts. An expansion programme continued and the club's directors ensured that the initial success was built upon, employing a "ground committee" to oversee developments. In February 1906, 3,961 square yards of land on the Churwell and Gelderd Road side of the ground was bought from the Monk's Bridge Iron Company at a cost of £420. The committee built a 4,000-seater grandstand which the Lord Mayor, Joseph Hepworth unveilled before a match against Chelsea on 17 November. The project cost £3,000 and over half a mile of steel was used. There was a training track for the players that ran the length of the stand, dressing & officials rooms and a motor garage. Drainage work was carried out on the pitch to prevent it from becoming waterlogged.

City experienced financial hardships jeopardising the club's future but after much uncertainty an offer of £1,000 and an annual rental of £250 was accepted for the ground. The ground was used during the Great War as a venue for drill and shooting practice until the 1919–20 season commenced. City started that season brightly, but scandal arose involving illegal payments to players during the war years and the club was expelled from the Football League after only eight games. This led some local businessmen to contemplate digging up the clay deposits under the pitch and turning Elland Road into a brickyard. Yorkshire Amateurs became the tenants, and that club played there for a brief spell saving the ground from development.

In 1920, Yorkshire Amateurs sold Elland Road to the newly formed Leeds United for £250.

1920–1974[edit]

During the 1920s, the South Stand terrace was covered with a wooden barrel-shaped roof and came to be known as the Scratching Shed. Another stand was built on the east side terracing called the Lowfields. Behind the goal at the north end was a terrace known as the Spion Kop, or simply Kop from a hill in South Africa on which 322 British soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Spion Kop, in January 1900, during the Boer War.

No significant changes were made regarding the structure of Elland Road during the 1930s and 1940s, although it did see some large attendances. On 27 December 1932, 56,796 spectators attended for the visit of eventual champions Arsenal – a record that would last for almost 35 years. The last game of that season saw Leeds play Middlesbrough at home in front of a 9,006 spectators. The stadium was chosen to host the all city of Leeds Rugby Football League Championship Final between Leeds and Hunslet in 1938, when a crowd of 54,112 saw Hunslet win the title. During the Second World War the ground was requisitioned by the War Office for administrative purposes.

Floodlights were first used on 9 November 1953 for a match against Hibernian when the £7,000 lights, claimed to be the most expensive in the country at the time, were switched on. The game attracted 31,500 spectators who saw two goals each from John Charles and manager Raich Carter as Leeds beat the Scottish side 4–1. It was the first of several Monday night games against teams from north of the border and in successive weeks, Dundee and Falkirk were the visitors to Elland Road.

Elland Road before the West Stand Fire of 1956.

During the early hours of Tuesday 18 September 1956, a fire gutted the West Stand and scorched large sections of the pitch. The blaze consumed the entire structure, including offices, kit, club records, physiotherapy equipment, dressing rooms, directors' rooms, the press box and the generators for the floodlighting system. The roof of the stand collapsed into the seating area before the fire brigade arrived and the total damage was estimated to be £100,000, but the club's insurance cover was inadequate. The players helped clear rubble and wreckage but the 2,500-seater stand could not be salvaged. After a board meeting, the directors decided to launch a public appeal to build a new stand with assistance from Leeds City Council. The appeal raised £60,000 and a £180,000 West Stand was opened at the start of the following season.

The new stand had of 4,000 seats mounted behind a paddock, which could hold a 6,000 standing spectators. Two years later another fire started after a Central League match against Preston North End affecting the West Stand. Fortunately, Cyril Williamson, the club secretary, and several directors were on hand and the fire was extinguished and no significant damage was caused.

The 1960s saw the arrival of Don Revie as manager and the club were promoted to the First Division. The club finished in the top four places for the next ten seasons and Elland Road hosted its first televised game – a league fixture against Everton on 20 March 1965 – and Leeds were 4–1 winners. Great advances were made on the stadium during Revie's reign and a new attendance record of 57,892 was set on 15 March 1967, in a fifth round replay of the FA Cup against Sunderland. In April 1968, the Spion Kop terracing was stripped away to make way for a new stand at a cost of £250,000. The roofed structure was built in less than six weeks and became known as the Gelderd End. When completed it left around 60 feet (18 m) of land behind the goal which was turfed and the pitch moved 30 feet (9.1 m) north.

The old floodlights at Elland Road.

Further improvements in 1970 included the coupling of the West Stand and the Kop with a £200,000 corner stand, the North-West corner. To complement the upgrade, an almost identical stand was built, linking the Lowfields stand and the Kop, which cost £200,000. In 1972, when the Leeds United Sports and Souvenir Shop opened, featuring a programme collection. In 1974 Leeds won the league for the second time and the Scratching Shed was dismantled and replaced by the South Stand at a cost of £500,000. This state of the art development comprised a standing paddock capable of holding 4,000 fans, a row of 16 executive boxes, above which was an all-seater 3,500 capacity stand. Plans to link the South Stand with the Lowfields were curtailled when Leeds ran out of money. In the same year, the floodlights were replaced by the tallest floodlights in Europe, measuring 260 feet (79 m). Initially three floodlights were erected – two at either side of the Kop and another in the South-West corner – and the other was erected four years later.

1982–2000[edit]

The first match televised live was the rugby league Challenge Cup final replay between Hull FC & Widnes played on 19 May 1982. In summer 1982 Leeds sold Elland Road to Leeds City Council for £2.5m, and the council granted the club a 125-year lease. Ambitious plans to improve the stadium and neighbouring sporting facilities were designed in 1987 by Newcastle upon Tyne architects and promoted by developers Baltic Consortium and W.H. White. The estimated costs were between £50 million and £75 million to re-build the Lowfields with a 7,500 all-seater stand and construct a peripheral 2,000-seater sports stadium adjacent to the stand. Other plans included a shopping centre, ice rink, cricket hall, cinema, nightclub, café, restaurant, waterpark, leisure centre and shops. None of the designs were acted on.

The old Lowfields Road stand.

In September 1991, the South-East corner was opened, joining the South and Lowfields Stands providing a full corner stand for away supporters. This section was used as the "family stand" until membership proved too big for its 1,710 capacity and a new home found in the East Stand. It is prominent because of its yellow seats, which have given its nickname, the "cheese wedge". A banqueting suite at the rear of the west stand, with a conference centre, was opened in April 1992.[14] The biggest renovation project to date began in 1992, when the Lowfields was replaced by a new East Stand – a 17,000-seater stand with two tiers and no restricted views.[15] On completion in 1993, at a cost of £5.5m, it housed 25 executive boxes, 10,000 seats in the bottom tier, part of which formed the members-only family section, and a further 7,000 seats in the upper tier. The East Stand was then the biggest cantilever stand in the world. In the close season of 1994 Elland Road became an all-seater stadium, with nearly 7,000 seats replacing the terracing in the Kop, as directed by the Taylor Report. The new-look Kop was officially opened in October by the club's president, George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood and Mrs E Revie, widow of the late Don Revie. The Gelderd End was renamed the Don Revie Stand, in honour of the club's former manager.

Elland Road hosts the UEFA Cup semi-final against Galatasaray on 20 April 2000.

On 16 November 1997 the third and deciding match of the Super League Test series between Great Britain and Australia was played at Elland Road before a crowd of 39,337.

In December 1997 £11.3 million plans to improve the West and South Stands were unveiled which would have raised capacity to around 45,000. A new structure mirroring the East Stand would have seated around 12,000 people. A three-tier structure would focus on hospitality with a 15,000-seater indoor arena at the rear of the West Stand. This venue would have accommodated basketball, ice hockey, pop concerts and other events. However, after naming an ice hockey team, the Leeds Lasers, to play at the arena, the project was shelved. Leeds received the ownership of Elland Road once again in 1998, when the new owners, Leeds Sporting Company agreed to pay £10m to buy back the stadium from Leeds City Council.

Modern redevelopment plans[edit]

On 16 August 2001 chairman Peter Ridsdale sent a letter to season ticket holders and shareholders regarding the future of the club outlining two options, to improve Elland Road or to relocate. A ballot form was included but the letter was biased in favour of relocation.[16] Less than 13% voted to stay at Elland Road and 87.6% of the 18,500 who voted were in favour of the move. On 7 September 2001, Ridsdale announced his intention to move the club to a 50,000-seat stadium at Skelton[disambiguation needed] in time for the 2004–05 season.[17] The plans never came to fruition as Ridsdale resigned in March 2003, leaving financial disarray and the PLC was soon to follow in March 2004.

Later that year, Elland Road was sold with a 25-year lease andre buy-back clause to raise funds to pay an instalment of a loan to Jack Petchey. It emerged on 27 December 2006 that the stadium had been sold to the British Virgin Islands-based Teak Trading Corporation 15 months before.[18]

In summer 2006 the South Stand was updated and closed for the first few games of the 2006–07 season while work was completed. The refurbishment included boxing in the concrete columns and alcoves; overhaul of the kitchen concourse area, a mezzanine-level office area, modernisation of the corporate facilities above and a restaurant, Billy's Bar, named after former club captain, Billy Bremner.

Plans for development at Elland Road to include hotels, a shopping centre and health club were featured in the programme for the match against Huddersfield Town on 8 December 2007. There would be hotels on the site of the shop. Possible adjacent developments could include an arena, casino, police headquarters, cafés, bars and parking for 2,700 cars.[19] These ideas were furthered on 27 October 2008 when the club released plans for redevelopment behind the East Stand containing a 350-room hotel, a covered arcade containing shops, bars, and restaurants; extended and improved facilities for business conferences and events, a megastore, office block and nightclub.[19] On 6 November 2008 the city council announced it would not be building the proposed Leeds Arena on council owned land adjacent to the ground.[20]

On 16 December 2009 the host cities and stadia to be used if England won the right to host the 2018 World Cup were revealed. Leeds was chosen and had the bid have been successful the John Charles and Don Revie stands would have been rebuilt, leading to increased capacity of over 50,000 however this never happened due to England not hosting the 2018 World Cup.[21][22]

On 28 December 2009 chairman Ken Bates spoke about plans to increase the capacity of the South Stand in the future by around 2–3,000. This would be achieved by removing the executive boxes and replacing them with seating however as of September 2013 these plans have still not taken place and it seems very unlikely that they will now take place.

In March 2011 the East Stand Development began phase one of a five phase redevelopment project which included an extension to the East Stand Upper's main concourse along with the addition of 25 executive boxes and a modern upgrade to the external appearance of the stand; whilst this created extra corporate facilities and more room on the concourse, it in-turn reduced the East Stand Upper's capacity by around 2,500 seats, thus leaving the overall capacity of the ground to stand at just under 38,000 seats.[23] An arcade, hotel and megastore were planned to be built as part of the four further phases, however this now remains in doubt following the sale of the club to GFH Capital who then sold the club to Massimo Cellino.

Layout[edit]

Revie Stand[edit]

Revie Stand

Capacity: 7,000 (including North-East & North-West corners)

The Revie Stand is situated at the north end of the ground. It was previously known as the Gelderd End or the Kop and was originally a standing terrace, It was renamed in 1994 in honour of the club's most successful manager and former player, Don Revie. The Revie Stand was officially opened in October by the club's president, George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood and Mrs E Revie, the widow of Don Revie. The design has 7,000 seats as stipulated by the Taylor Report, making Elland Road an all-seater stadium. There is a "ground control box" situated in the north-west corner which is the most advanced in Europe.[14] Videos and photographs taken of everyone entering the ground are monitored and security operations are synchronised. Images and video footage are obtained by the security cameras located around the ground.

East Stand[edit]

East Stand

Capacity: 15,100

The East Stand is the most recent stand in the stadium. The two-tiered structure was built in the 1992–93 season to replace the Lowfields stand and was opened during the 1993–94 season at a cost of £5.5 million. On completion it was the largest cantilever stand in the world, holding 10,000 spectators in the lower tier and a further 7,000 in the upper tier. The family area was moved from the South Stand and originally spanned the full lower tier, however this was altered by Ken Bates and there are now two sections, one at either end of the lower tier for club members and season ticket holders attending matches with juveniles. Sandwiched in between are 25 executive boxes and a large concourse with merchandise outlets, food shops, betting booths and a restaurant. Due to the redevelopment the capacity of the East Stand was reduced and the words Leeds United AFC were taken off the seats.[14][24]

South Stand[edit]

South Stand

Capacity: 5,000 (including South-East & South-West corners)

The South Stand was built in 1974 at a cost of £500,000 to replace the Scratching Shed, which had been there since the 1920s. It comprises two small tiers intersected with a row of 32 executive boxes and an executive restaurant. There are a few seats in the South-West Corner, and a large video screen for the 2009–10 season.[25] The South-East Corner seats 1,710 fans and was used to house the away fans until they were moved to the West Stand. In summer 2006 the stand was redeveloped and closed for the first few games of the 2006–07 season. The refurbishment included boxing in the concrete columns and alcoves to give the stand a more modern exterior; an overhaul of the kitchen concourse area; a mezzanine-level office area; a total modernisation of the corporate facilities above and a restaurant called Billy's Bar, named after former captain Billy Bremner.[14][26] There is a statue in honour of Bremner at the south east corner of the stadium erected in 1998, after his death on 7 December 1997. The club's superstore is situated nearby.

John Charles Stand[edit]

John Charles Stand

Capacity: 11,000

The John Charles Stand is on the west side of the pitch and was known as the West Stand until the fans demanded a tribute to former player, John Charles, following his death on 21 February 2004. It is currently the oldest stand at Elland Road, having been built in 1957 after the previous stand burnt down, ironically forcing Charles' sale as the club needed the funds to pay for a new stand. The corporate seats are located here and there is a commentary gantry and walkway for TV personnel. The radio and press have facilities in this stand. The West Stand houses the tunnel and the directors' box, where home and away team directors view the match, along with the club doctor. There are many suites incorporated within the stand and a banqueting suite and conference centre are attached to the rear, having been opened in April 1992. As of September 2011 parts of the West Stand and the South West corner became the new home for away fans following a £300,000 refurbishment. Future plans would see the John Charles stand redeveloped to hold a 2 floored, 3 tiered 3500 square metre site. This redevelopment of the West Stand would see a new upper tier introduced along with executive boxes as part of the ambitions of turning Elland Road into a stadium further capable of hosting world class matches and events; however it now seems unlikely that any redevelopment of the west stand will take place due to change of club ownership.

The pitch[edit]

The pitch measures approximately 115 yards (105 m) long by 74 yards (68 m) wide, with run-off space on each side.[27] There is an under-soil heating system installed beneath the surface, consisting of 59 miles (95 km) of piping.[26] This, together with a good drainage system, means that only heavy fog, a blizzard, or flooding would force the club to cancel a match. There are wells sunk approximately 70 feet (21 m) beneath the West Stand and the North Stand and a pumping system is situated under the South Stand, meaning that the club can draw on its own supply of water, should the need arise. However, the first time the club used it, the pitch turned black as the water was too cold.[14]

A panorama of Elland Road looking towards the East Stand

Future[edit]

The redeveloped East Stand in 2013.

In August 2001, when Leeds were among the strongest teams in England, chairman Peter Ridsdale unveiled plans for the club to relocate to a 50,000-seat stadium in Skelton.[28] The following month, the club's 33,250 season ticket holders were asked to vote on the proposed relocation. 87.6% of them voted in favour of relocation, but the plans were abandoned within two years following the onset of the club's financial crisis and decline in fortunes on the field.[29]

The city of Leeds, on behalf of the Leeds City Region, submitted an application to be a Host City for the 2018 World Cup at Wembley on 26 November 2009. The club was represented by Peter Lorimer. This bid was successful on 16 December 2009.

Due to the specific stadium requirements imposed by FIFA, it is likely that the redevelopment of the Kop (North Stand) will become two-tiered to approximately the same height as the current East Stand whilst the West Stand will be completely rebuilt with an envisaged final capacity of 51,240.[30][31]

The redevelopment of the East Stand for which Leeds already have planning permission will play a significant part in providing the facilities required by FIFA to stage matches in the World Cup.

Despite the English Football Association's unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup, the first phase of the East Stand redevelopment plan began in May 2011. This includes the adding of an 'executive' tier sandwiched between the lower and upper tier of the East Stand which holds boxes such as the Gary Speed Suite. The East Stand façade was also given a makeover.

Future plans for the redevelopment of the ground had also included a hotel [32] and casino.[33] The casino plans were dealt a blow when Leeds City Council granted a 'provisional statement' for a large casino licence to a rival scheme in the city centre Victoria Gate development and the hotel plans also seem unlikely to happen due to change in club ownership.

Other uses[edit]

Football[edit]

Elland Road has hosted FA Cup semi-final matches as a neutral venue on nine occasions, the first being a tie between Barnsley and Everton on 26 March 1910 and the last on 9 April 1995 in a game between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Other FA Cup semi finals to have taken place at Elland Road had included Arsenal v Hull City in 1930, Birmingham v Sunderland in 1931, West Bromwich Albion v Bolton Wanderers in 1935, Charlton Athletic v Newcastle United in 1947, Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers in 1952, Leicester City v Sheffield United in 1961 and West Ham United v Everton in 1980. In addition when Sheffield Wednesday faced Sheffield United in the 1993 FA Cup Semi Final the venue was originally planned to be Elland Road but was switched to Wembley Stadium following protests from both clubs and their supporters that the stadium was too small to host such a fixture, the risk of crowd trouble were the fixture to be played at Elland Road and due to London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal having their semi final at Wembley it was perceived the London clubs would receive an unfair advantage for the FA Cup final.[34]

The ground has hosted two England international fixtures. On 8 June 1995, England drew 3–3 with Sweden. This was the first England home international played away from Wembley in 22 years, and the first time since 1946 that a new ground had hosted an England international game. The second game was a friendly match against Italy on 27 March 2002 while the new Wembley was being built.[5] When England were picked to host Euro 96, the most recent international tournament held in the country, Elland Road was selected as one of the eight venues. It staged Group B of the qualifying rounds, which included Spain, Romania, France and Bulgaria and hosted three matches of the tournament which included Spain v Bulgaria on 9 June 1996, France v Spain on 15 June 1996 and Romania v Spain on 18 June 1996.[6]

Two of Leeds' West Yorkshire rivals have also used Elland Road as their temporary "home". The first club to benefit from the facilities was Huddersfield Town, when a fire struck their ground on 3 April 1950.[35] Leeds offered its services and Huddersfield played the last two games of the 1949–50 season there before returning to Leeds Road the next season, following extensive work to revamp the burnt main stand. Bradford City used Elland Road for three matches after 11 May 1985 when a fire consumed a stand at Valley Parade during a match against Lincoln City.[36] Two months after the Bradford City stadium fire, the 1966 World Cup Final teams from England and West Germany met in a rematch at Elland Road and raised £46,000 for the Fire Disaster Fund, with England winning the game, 6–4.[37]

When non-League team, Farsley Celtic, reached the first round of the FA Cup in 1974, the game was played at Elland Road. Farsley's opposition was Division Three side Tranmere Rovers and a crowd of 10,337 saw the League club win, 2–0.[38]

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson once said that Elland Road was "the most intimidating venue in Europe".[39]

Rugby League[edit]

Hunslet Hawks, a local rugby league club, shared the stadium in the mid-1980s after the ground at the greyhound stadium in Parkside had been demolished.[7] The 1982 Challenge Cup Final Replay between Widnes and Hull FC was played there. Rugby League was played at international level when a Great Britain v New Zealand test match was staged on 9 November 1985. The stadium hosted the Tri-Nations final in 2004, when a capacity crowd saw Australia beat Great Britain, 44–4,[40] and again in 2005,[41] in a match where 26,534 people watched New Zealand beat Australia 24–0.[42] The 2009 Rugby League Four Nations final between England and Australia was played there with a 16–46 win for Australia. On 19 November 2011 the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations final between England and Australia was also played at the stadium resulting in a 8–30 win for Australia.

Leeds Rhinos have played several matches at Elland Road. In the 1988 Yorkshire Cup final they beat Castleford RLFC, 33–12, and won the World Club Challenge twice. On 4 February 2005, they beat Australian side Canterbury Bulldogs, 39–32, in front of 37,028 spectators[43] and on 29 February 2008, they were 11–4 winners over Melbourne Storm in the 2008 World Club Challenge in front of a crowd of 33,204.[44] The ground played host to the 2009 World Club Challenge, the third time in five years that the ground has held the game, on 1 March 2009.[45] The Manly Sea Eagles won its first WCC title by defeating Leeds, 28–20, in front of 32,569 spectators. The stadium hosted the World Club Challenge on 28 February 2010, when Leeds Rhinos lost to Melbourne Storm, 10–18, in front of 27,697 fans.

Rugby Union[edit]

Elland Road is one of the venues that was selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and will host 2 pool matches including Scotland v Americas 2 and Italy v Canada.

In addition a rugby union match between the South Africa national rugby union team and the North of England rugby union team was played at Elland Road in 1992 with an audience of 14,000.[46][47][48]

Other Sports[edit]

American football made a brief appearance at the ground when the Leeds Cougars, members of the British American Football League, switched from their old ground at Bramley to play at Elland Road in May 1986.[49] The following year they had to relocate because improvements to the stadium were required. The ground hosted a Gaelic football match between Dublin and Mayo, organised by the Yorkshire County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association, in 1987.[50]

There was a greyhound stadium to the south-west of Elland Road which opened on 16 July 1927. It was owned by the Greyhound Racing Association and they eventually sold it to the Totalisators and Greyhound Holdings (T.G.H) who were bought out by Ladbrokes in 1974.

In 1979 the track kennels were closed followed by the track itself on March 1st 1982.[51]

There was also a speedway track known as Fullerton Park, which operated between the two world wars, attracted audiences in the range of 10,000–20,000 people.[52] Fullerton Park also held greyhound racing from 1927–1938.

Elland Road was to host a Twenty20 cricket game on 31 July 2009. The game was to be competed between a Leeds United International XI and the Lashings World XI,[53] however was cancelled when a suitable artificial pitch could not be found.[54]

Film[edit]

Older parts of the stadium were used in the 2009 film The Damned United, which was centred around the 44-day reign of Brian Clough (played by Michael Sheen) at the club in 1974. Some shots of the 1974 Elland Road were shot at other locations to make the film look more in keeping with that era.[55]

In December 2010, the stadium was used as a backdrop in an episode of the ITV drama series A Touch Of Frost, creating huge interest in the area with the local chamber of commerce suggesting a hotel could be built on the site to deal with the expected hoards of sightseers.

Elland Road was used as a substitute for the old Wembley Stadium for scenes in the 2010 film The King's Speech,[56] which was nominated for 12 Oscars, 3 of which were for its stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.[57]

Concerts[edit]

The Kaiser Chiefs stage in front of the South Stand for their concert on 24 May 2008.

The ground has been used as a concert venue on a number of occasions, the first on 29 May 1982, when Queen played in front of a packed audience as part of their Hot Space Tour, supported by Heart, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts and The Teardrop Explodes.[58] Another rock concert took place on 1 July 1987 when Irish rock band U2 played to a packed house as part of the Joshua Tree Tour, supported by World Party, The Fall, The Mission and The Pretenders,[9] Lead singer Bono said during the gig of kids in Dublin City talking with stars in their eyes about Leeds United, "I didn't myself but, ... you know".[59] The alternative band Happy Mondays, supported by The Farm, Stereo MCs, and The La's, played a gig at the stadium on 1 June 1991, which was later released as a live album.[10] Leeds-based band the Kaiser Chiefs played a homecoming gig at the stadium on 24 May 2008, with support from The Enemy, Kate Nash, Friendly Fires and Young Knives.[60] On Friday 3 June 2011 Rod Stewart played a concert at the stadium.[61]

Religious events[edit]

In 1987 15,000 Jehovah's Witnesses held a three-day convention at Elland Road stadium.[50] Elland Road hosted the annual Jehovah's Witness conventions[62] until 2013 when they moved to the new Leeds Arena.[63]

Transport[edit]

The nearest railway station is Cottingley, although fans travelling will be more likely to arrive at Leeds Station, which is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the stadium.[64] This is around a 35-minute walk, but taxis and buses run from outside the station to the ground. Visitors travelling by car can park in the ground's nearby car parks or make use of limited space in surrounding streets. On match days there are special bus services direct to and from the stadium, usually departing from Sovereign Street near Leeds Station as well as regular local bus services.

Leeds City Council have raised plans for a railway station on the Wakefield Line serving Elland Road but there are no time frames since capacity issues on the Wakefield Line and funding for a new station would need addressing.[19]

Attendance[edit]

Leeds City[edit]

During Leeds City's brief history, attendances were among the worst in the league. The club competed in the league for 15 years, from the 1905–06 season until its expulsion in the 1919–20 season. The club was poorly financed throughout that period. Association football was a new concept in the area, which as traditionally a rugby league region. Nonetheless, the club were, until the 2009 relegation of Luton Town,the highest-placed team not currently in the league in the all time average attendance figures for the Football League & Premier League. In total, 1,944,365 people attended Elland Road for all the matches played by the club, giving an average figure of 10,234.[65]

Leeds United[edit]

Leeds United was formed shortly after City's dissolution and entered the league in the 1920–21 season. By this time, football had established itself and in its first season the average attendance was over 16,000. As of the 2005–06 season, 42,339,944 have attended all of Leeds United's matches combined, which gives an average of 25,689. This figure is the 10th highest average in England.[65] The table gives a summary of the attendance figures of all Leeds United's league games in every season since the turn of the century.

Season League Lowest Highest Average
2000–01 Premiership 35,552 40,055 38,974
2001–02 38,237 40,287 39,784
2002–03 35,537 40,205 39,121
2003–04 30,544 40,153 36,666
2004–05 Championship 24,585 34,496 29,207
2005–06 18,353 27,843 22,354
2006–07 16,268 31,269 21,613
2007–08 League One 19,095 38,256 26,546
2008–09 18,847 37,036 23,813
2009–10 17,635 38,234 24,817
2010–11 Championship 20,747 33,622 27,299
2011–12 19,469 33,366 23,379
2012–13 11,447 33,816 21,572

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
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External links[edit]