How Do I Get There?
Since the good lord has granted us a Saturday afternoon game at Elland Road, the most sensible supporters among you would opt for the ease of public transport but since some of you INSIST on driving everywhere I guess you’ll need directions.
Anyway, it’s all about the A1 (M) and M1 until you hit junction 44 which will take you on to M621. Follow the signs for Elland Road and you’ll find it. There are a handful of car parks around the ground costing £5.
For the big dawgs taking the train down then Leeds railway station is around a 35-minute walk from the ground. There are shuttle buses available opposite the Hilton Hotel on Neville Street with return fares costing £2.50.
Now, you could drive down and, yes, you could get the train but I feel it would be a complete dereliction of both my duty and my brand to overlook the glorious Megabus. Leeds is arguably the most Megabus-friendly city travelling direct from Sunderland with services running throughout the day, they only take two hours, cost a third of your train (or ALS coach) fare and drop off at the city’s main bus station.
A Love Supreme coaches set off from the Stadium of Light at 9.45am with return fares priced at £25. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
I recently did one of those Buzzfeed-style “how many pubs in Leeds have you visited” and with a score of 97 out of 117, I’d say that I am pretty well-placed to provide the lowdown on the sesh scene in West Yorkshire. I mean, who better to give you a detailed analysis of where to do your supping than someone that sounds like a borderline alcoholic?
First of all, there are a handful of bars near Elland Road such as The Peacock, Howards and The Drysalters but I can’t guarantee you won’t be met with a “home fans only, mate” upon arrival. Head into the city centre and take your pick from the literal hundreds of bars, pubs, craft ale houses, street food delicatessens and much, much more.
If you fancy a walk to the ground then stop off at The Hop underneath the railway arches close to the station. Further along is the homely Leeds Brewery pub The Midnight Bell which sits next to the The Cross Keys on Water Lane. If you fancy going proper trendy then swing by for a craft beer at Water Lane Boathouse on Canal Wharf or work your way through the menu of delectable beverages at Northern Monk Brewery on Marshall Street.
Honestly, you won’t be stuck for a decent slurp around these parts. And if you’re feeling peckish then get yourself into Bundobust on Mill Hill where you can pair craft beer with class Indian street food, it’s the absolute boy, and that’s a Cans & Megabus cast iron promise.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Such is the cosmopolitan powerhouse Leeds is, there is absolutely loads to do if you happen to fancy an evening out in this fine, fine city. Hey, do you like bands that you were convinced split up in, like, 2004? Well, get yourself down to the O2 Academy on Saturday night as Embrace are playing.
If, like me, you are much, much cooler than that then Strangeforms Festival at Brudenell Social Club will be right up your alley. There’s some proper class bands on over Saturday and Sunday with mathcore darlings Rolo Tomassi headlining this delightful evening of music - the likes of Talon, Alpha Male Tea Party and Valerian Swing are among the others also on the bill.
Fancy yourself as a bit of cultured soul, do yer? Well, the Orchestra Of Opera North are bringing some symphonic sounds to Leeds Town Hall. And if you want to go full enlightening experience then book your tickets for Dancing Bear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and enjoy a musical exploring faith, sexuality and gender identity.
If you’re bringing the family down, visit The Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock and watch history come alive at their Wars of the Roses re-enactments. There’s also falconry, jousting and even have-a-go archery all available on Sunday afternoon - how good does that sound?
What’s The Ground Like?
As you make the final descent from the M621 in Leeds, the first sight you get of this city is Elland Road looming on the horizon. This is Leeds’ beacon, the monument that so many pin so much hope, this is where the dreams can be made or nightmares realised. Where it was once the intimidating cauldron where Champions League opponents would arrive and fall, it is now somewhere Doncaster Rovers wrack up victories.
Like many things connected to Leeds United, Elland Road is a symbol of the club’s current plight. Grand, slightly dilapidated and in need of a little love. Yes, it still remains a huge deal for its supporters and some of those “Against Modern Football” whacky cats but cramming into an away where pillars and low roofs persist isn’t my idea of a good time.
If that wasn’t enough, Leeds United also think it’s an appropriate measure to make visitors shell out £37 to be tucked away in the corner of this relic. Sunderland fans are housed on one side of the John Charles Stand where you have the luxury of choosing between plastic and wooden seats.
Despite all my mockery, when the moment is right Elland Road can make a hell of a noise so let’s just hope they’re all streaming out after 60 minutes.