Elland Road
Elland Road is an all-seater football stadium situated in the Beeston area of the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Elland Road has been the permanent residence of Leeds United A.F.C. since the club's foundation in 1919 and it was previously occupied by their predecessors, Leeds City. The stadium is the 12th largest football stadium in England, and the second largest ground outside the Premier League (after Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium). The ground has frequently hosted FA Cup semi-final matches as a neutral venue, as well as a number of England international fixtures, and it was also selected as one of the eight Euro 96 venues. Previously, Elland Road was home to Holbeck Rugby Club and although it has been used primarily for football since the early 20th century, rugby league has since made a return, most notably when the ground was used by the Hunslet Hawks for several seasons in the mid-1980s. Aside from sport, the stadium has hosted several concerts, including performances from rock bands Queen, U2, Happy Mondays and the Kaiser Chiefs. Elland Road currently 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 39,460. The record attendance of 57,892 was set on 15 March 1967 in an FA Cup 5th round replay against Sunderland. However, 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.

History

Early history
Prior to its construction , Elland Road was a large plot of land at the foot of Beeston Hill, situated beside the main road ( A643) to the neighbouring town of Elland. It was owned by Bentley's Brewery and was originally called the Old Peacock Ground, after the Old Peacock pub which faced the land, hence the nickname The Peacocks that would be associated with both Leeds City and United in the years to come. The first occupants were rugby league side Holbeck Rugby Club, who moved from their previous home, Holbeck Recreation Ground, and purchased the Old Peacock Ground from Bentley's for £1,100. They built a new stand for the forthcoming season and the ground soon became widely known as Elland Road. Local football side Leeds Woodville of the Leeds League shared Elland Road with Holbeck in the 1902–03 season, however, Holbeck went under in 1904 after losing a crucial play-off against St Helens RLFC and the ground was put on the market. Following a meeting at the Griffin Hotel in Boar Lane the following August, a new club, Leeds City, was formed and it was agreed that the Elland Road ground should be rented for their use in 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, although when the lease was signed fully in November, the price was reduced to £4,500. After the club's first season in the Football League, the Leeds officials built a new 5,000-seater covered stand on the west side of Elland Road at a cost of £1,050. City's attendances were steadily rising, culminating in over 22,500 people cramming into the stadium to watch the local derby with Bradford City on 30 December, bringing in £487 worth of gate receipts. The expansion programme continued and the club's directors ensured that this initial success was built upon, employing a "ground committee" to oversee the developments. In February 1906, some 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 had plans to build a 4,000-seater grandstand and these were fulfilled, with the Lord Mayor, Joseph Hepworth unveiling the structure before a match against Chelsea on 17 November. The project cost £3,000 and over half a mile of steel was used for the girders. It had a training track for the players that ran the length of the stand, dressing & officials rooms and even a motor garage. Drainage work had been carried out on the turf too, to prevent it from becoming waterlogged after excessive rain. City gradually began to experience financial hardships that would jeopardise their future and after much uncertainty as to the club's future, an offer of £1,000 plus a yearly rental of £250 for Elland Road was accepted. The ground had even been used during the Great War, when the army used the venue for drill & shooting practice, and when the war ended in 1918, the 1919–20 season commenced. City started brightly, however, an astonishing scandal arose, involving alleged illegal payments to players during the war years and the club was expelled from the Football League after only 8 games, bringing yet more concerns for Elland Road. This led some local businessmen to contemplate making use of the rich clay deposits below the topsoil of the pitch by turning Elland Road into a brickyard. Nevertheless, Yorkshire Amateurs became the tenants and the club played there for a brief spell. Keeping the ground exclusive to football in this manner theoretically saved it from extinction.

1920–1974
The advent of newly-formed Leeds United brought with it big changes for Elland Road. During the 1920s, the South Stand terrace was covered with a wooden barrel-shaped roof that stretched the length of the stand and it came to be known as the Scratching Shed. Another stand was built on the terracing that ran the entire length of the pitch down the east side of the ground, called The Lowfields. Behind the goal at the north end of the pitch stood a huge terrace known as the Spion Kop, or simply Kop for short. This name originated 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 uncharacteristically large attendances. On 27 December 1932, 56,796 people came for the visit of eventual champions Arsenal – a record that would last for almost 35 years. Ironically, the last game of that season saw Leeds play Middlesbrough at home in front of a mere 9,006 spectators. The stadium was also chosen to host the Rugby Football League Championship Final between Leeds and Hunslet in 1938, where a crowd of 54,112 saw Hunslet win the title. These figures serve to prove how far the stadium had improved since its initial opening. During the Second World War the ground was requisitioned by the War Office for administrative purposes. Floodlit football first came to Elland Road on 9 November 1953, when Hibernian provided the opposition for the big switch-on of the £7,000 lights which were said to be the most expensive in the country at the time. The game pulled in 31,500 spectators who saw two goals apiece 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. During the early hours of Tuesday 18 September 1956, a huge fire swept through and gutted the West Stand at Elland Road with such a ferocity that it 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 woefully inadequate to fund such a high sum. The players helped to clear up the rubble and wreckage during the week, but the 2,500-seater stand could not be salvaged. After a five-hour board meeting, the directors decided to launch a public appeal to build a new stand with assistance from Leeds City Council. The appeal eventually raised £60,000 and a new £180,000 West Stand was unveiled at the start of the following season. The new West Stand consisted of 4,000 seats mounted behind a paddock, which could house a further 6,000 standing. Lightning almost struck twice though two years later, when another fire started at Elland Road after a Central League match against Preston North End. Incidentally, it was the West Stand once again that was affected. Fortunately, this time Cyril Williamson, the club secretary, and several directors were on hand and they improvised by assuming the role of firemen. The fire was soon extinguished, without the use of hoses, and no significant damage was caused. The 1960s saw the arrival of Don Revie as manager and the club were soon promoted into the First Division. Following this initial success, the club consistently finished in the top four places for the next ten seasons and Elland Road hosted its first ever televised game – a league fixture against Everton on 20 March 1965 – and Leeds ran out 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. Towards the end of April in 1968, the old Spion Kop terracing was stripped away to make way for a new stand at a cost of £250,000. In no less than six weeks the roofed structure had been built and it became known as the Gelderd End. When completed it left around 60 feet (18 m) of spare land behind the goal. The committee simply ordered the land to be turfed, which meant that the pitch was moved 30 feet (9.1 m) north. Further improvements in 1970 included the coupling of the West Stand and the Kop with a £200,000 corner stand simply known as the North-West corner. To complement the new upgrade, an almost identical stand was built, linking the Lowfields and the Kop, which came in at another £200,000. Leeds stepped further into the commercial world in 1972, when the well-stocked Leeds United Sports and Souvenir Shop was opened, which would soon feature a comprehensive programme collection. In 1974, the year that Leeds won the league for the second time, the ageing yet popular Scratching Shed was dismantled and was replaced by the South Stand for £500,000. This new state of the art development comprised a standing paddock at the front capable of holding 4,000 fans, a row of 16 executive boxes, and above that an all-seater 3,500 capacity stand. There were plans to link the South Stand with the Lowfields as well, but this commission was cut short when Leeds ran out of money. In the same year, the old floodlights were replaced by the tallest floodlights in Europe, which measured a huge 260 feet (79 m). Initially only three floodlights were erected – two at either side of the Kop and another in the South-West corner – and the other was put up four years later.

1982-2000
The first game televised live from Elland Road was the rugby league Challenge Cup final replay between Hull FC & Widnes played on 19 May 1982. In the summer of that year, Leeds sold Elland Road to the council for £2.5m, with the council granting the club a 125-year lease. Ambitious plans to improve the stadium and neighbouring sporting facilities were designed in 1987 by a Newcastle upon Tyne-based firm of architects and put forward 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 that would lie adjacent to the stand. Other plans for the stadium complex also included a shopping centre, ice rink, cricket hall, cinema, nightclub, café, restaurant, waterpark, leisure centre and shops. Nevertheless, none of the designs were acted on and that particular development proposal became a thing of the past. In September 1991, the South-East corner was opened, attaching the South and Lowfields Stands together, thereby providing a full corner stand for the away support. This new section was also temporarily used as the "family stand" until the swell in membership proved too big for its 1,710 capacity, so they found a new home in the East Stand at a later date. Nowadays it is prominent because of its yellow seats, which have given rise to its nickname, the " cheese wedge". A banqueting suite attached to the rear of the west stand, complete with a conference centre, was opened in April 1992. The biggest renovation project to date began in 1992, when the Lowfields was to be replaced by a new East Stand – a mammoth 17,000-seater stand with two tiers and no restricted views. On completion in 1993, at a cost of £5.5m, it boasted 25 extra 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. This set a new record with the East Stand becoming 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 KBE and Mrs E Revie, the late Don Revie's widow. The Gelderd End was renamed after the great manager himself and the stand is now known as the Don Revie Stand. In December 1997, pictures were shown in the match day programme of £11.3 million plans to improve the West and South Stands, which would have brought capacity up to around 45,000. The new structure mirrored the East Stand but would have seated around 12,000 people. The three-tiered structure would also focus on VIP hospitality and include a 15,000-seater indoor arena on the back of the West Stand. This additional venue would have accommodated basketball, ice hockey, pop concerts and other entertainment events. However, after naming a new ice hockey team, the Leeds Lasers, to play at the arena during the half-time interval of a match, the project never got off the ground for various reasons and was quickly forgotten about. Leeds received the ownership of Elland Road once again in 1998, when the new owners Leeds Sporting PLC agreed to pay £10m to buy back the stadium from Leeds City Council.

Modern redevelopment plans
On 16 August 2001, the club's chairman, Peter Ridsdale, sent a letter to all season ticket holders and shareholders regarding the future of Elland Road. In summary, he outlined two options with regard to the future of the club's home, claiming that the club needed a better stadium in order to "remain competitive at the top of the Premiership". The choice was to either try and improve Elland Road or to relocate to a new state of the art stadium elsewhere. The letter enclosed a ballot so that the recipient could vote for their preferred choice, however, the letter was heavily biased in favour of a relocation making readers think anything but relocation would be a heavy financial burden on the club. Unsurprisingly, just under 13% of the electorate voted to stay at Elland Road, with 87.6% of the 18,500 club shareholders and ticket holders who voted being in favour of the move. Ridsadale commented "I am overwhelmed by the amount of people who are in favour of this move. I thought it would be a lot closer than that". Nonetheless, the plans never came to fruition as Ridsdale, the figurehad of the PLC, resigned in March 2003, leaving his 'dream' in financial tatters and the PLC was soon to follow in March 2004. Later that year, Elland Road was sold on a 25-year lease deal with a buy-back clause to raise the required funds to pay the latest instalment of a loan to Aston Villa shareholder and former Watford chairman Jack Petchey. It emerged on 27 December 2006 that the stadium had been sold to the British Virgin Islands-based Teak Trading Corporation Ltd. some 15 months before. Its is now owned by Leeds United Football Club Limited. The most recent redevelopment at Elland Road came in the summer of 2006, when the South Stand was updated and closed for the first few games of the 2006–07 season while work was completed. The refurbishment included new sidings to box in the concrete columns and alcoves to give the stand a more modern exterior; an overhaul of the kitchen concourse area, a new mezzanine-level office area, a total modernisation of the corporate facilities above and a new restaurant called Billy's Bar, named after former captain Billy Bremner, which is open to the public seven days a week. More recently, there have been plans for a development scheme at Elland Road which would include two hotels, a shopping centre and a health club. These ideas featured in the programme for the match against Huddersfield Town on 8 December 2007. There would be a budget hotel and a four star hotel which would be constructed on the site of the club's current souvenir shop. Possible developments adjacent to the stadium could also include an arena, casino, police headquarters, cafés, bars and parking for 2,700 cars. These ideas were furthered on 27 October 2008 when the club released its plans for redevelopment behind the East Stand. This will contain a 350-room hotel at the South East Corner of the stadium, a covered arcade containing shops, bars, and restaurants; extended and improved facilities for business conferences & events, a new megastore, office block and a nightclub. On 6 November 2008 it was announced that the city council would not be building the proposed Leeds Arena on land adjacent to the ground that is owned by the council, but instead would be built on city centre ground. This decision was not taken badly by the club as the reason for city-centre placement was due mainly to the economic success of the project. On 16 December 2009 the host cities and stadia to be used if England win the right to host the 2018 World Cup were revealed. Leeds was chosen and should the bid be successful, Leeds United will completely rebuild the John Charles and Don Revie stands of the Elland Road stadium, leading to an increased capacity of over 50,000. On 28 December 2009 Leeds United chairman Ken Bates spoke on Yorkshire Radio about plans to increase the capacity of the South Stand by 2-3,000. This would be achieved by removing the executive boxes and replacing them with seating. There are also plans to install new boxes in the East Stand but precise details have not been released thus far.

Current layout

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 (although among Leeds fans it is still always called the kop) and was a standing terrace, until it was renamed in the close season of 1994 in honour of the club's most successful manager, and former player, Don Revie. The new-look Kop was officially opened in October by the club's president, George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood KBE and Mrs E Revie, the late Don Revie's widow. The new design included the introduction of 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. It is where the videos and photos that are taken of everyone entering the ground are monitored and any security operations are synchronised. All images and video footage are obtained by the many security cameras that are located all around the ground.

East Stand
Capacity: 17,000 The East Stand runs the length of the east side of the pitch and is the most recent stand in the stadium. The two-tiered structure was built in the 1992–93 season to replace the ageing 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 when the work on this new stand was finished. It 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 the two tiers are 25 executive boxes and a large concourse complete with merchandise outlets, food shops, betting booths and a sit-down restaurant.

South Stand
Capacity: 5,000 (including South-East & South-West corners) The South Stand is situated behind the goal at the south end of the ground. It 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, as well as a new big screen for the 2009–10 season. The South-East Corner seats 1,710 fans and is usually used to house the away fans but, if the demand is sufficient, the away fans are given either this corner and part of the South Stand, the entire South Stand or in extreme cases both the South-East Corner and the South Stand. In the summer of 2006 the stand underwent redevelopment, forcing the club to close it to fans for the first few games of the 2006–07 season. The refurbishment included new sidings to box in the concrete columns and alcoves to give the stand a more modern exterior; an overhall of the kitchen concourse area; a new mezzanine-level office area; a total modernisation of the corporate facilities above and a new restaurant called Billy's Bar, named after former captain Billy Bremner, which is open to the public seven days a week. There is also a statue in honour of the club legend located outside the south east corner of the stadium, which was erected in 1998, following his death on 7 December 1997. The club's superstore is situated outside this corner too.

John Charles Stand
Capacity: 11,000 The John Charles Stand runs the length of the west side of the pitch. This stand was known as simply The West Stand until the fans demanded a tribute to former player and club legend John Charles, following his passing on 21 February 2004. Although, among fans the stand is still referred to as the west stand, rather than it's official name. It is currently the oldest stand at Elland Road, having been built in 1957 after the previous stand burnt down. The corporate seats are located here and there is a commentary gantry and walkway for TV personnel who may be asked to film here on a match day. The radio and press also have facilities in this stand so they can commentate directly to the public and make notes for match reports. The West Stand also houses the tunnel and the Directors Box, where both the home and away team directors may sit to enjoy the match, along with the club doctor. There are many suites incorporated within the stand and a banqueting suite, complete with a conference centre, is attached to the rear, having been opened in April 1992. In 2012 worked is to begin in buiting the new stand for the world cup in 2018 which see's the oldest stand in Elland Road knocked down so the new stand can be buit from the ground up. The capacity for the old stand is between 10,000 & 11,000 but the New Elland Road stand will be a capacity stand for 17,000+

The pitch
The pitch measures approximately 115 yards (105 m) long by 74 yards (68 m) wide, with a few metres run-off space on each side. There is also an under-soil heating system installed beneath the surface, consisting of 59 miles (95 km) of piping. 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 Leeds can draw on their 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.

Future
In August 2001, while Leeds were still among the strongest playing sides in England, then chairman Peter Ridsdale unveiled plans for the club to relocate to a new 50,000-seat stadium in the Skelton area of the city. The following month, the club's 28,250 season ticket holders were asked to vote for or against 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 their decline in fortunes on the field. The city of Leeds, on behalf of the Leeds City Region, submitted its 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. 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.

Other uses

Football
Elland Road has been chosen to host FA Cup semi-final matches as a neutral venue on nine occasions, with the first being a tie between Barnsley and Everton on 26 March 1910 and the last coming on 9 April 1995 in a game between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. The ground has also been the venue of choice for a number of England international fixtures in the past, the most recent of which was a friendly match against Italy on 27 March 2002 while the new Wembley was being built. When England were picked to host Euro 96, the most recent international tournament held in 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. 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. Leeds offered their services and they played their 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 in the close season. Bradford City were the next unfortunate victims, suffering the same fate on 11 May 1985. A flash fire consumed one side of Valley Parade during a match against Lincoln City and they played three games at Elland Road. Two months after the Bradford City Fire Disaster, 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. In addition, when non-League side Farsley Celtic reached the First Round of the FA Cup in 1974, the game was played at Elland Road. Their opposition was Division Three side Tranmere Rovers and a crowd of 10,337 saw the League club win 2–0. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson once said that Elland Road was "the most intimidating venue in Europe".

Film
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.

Rugby League
Hunslet Hawks, a local rugby league side, shared the stadium for some time in the mid-1980s after their ground at the nearby greyhound stadium had been demolished. The 1982 Challenge Cup Final Replay between Widnes and Hull FC was also played there. The sport was also played at international level at Elland Road, with a Great Britain v New Zealand rugby league test match being staged there on 9 November 1985. It also hosted the Tri-Nations final in 2004, when a capacity crowd saw Australia thrash Great Britain 44–4 and again in 2005, in a match where 26,534 people watched New Zealand beat Australia 24–0. The 2009 Rugby League Four Nations final between England and Australia will also be played there. Local side Leeds Rhinos have played several matches at Elland Road too. In the 1988 Yorkshire Cup final they beat Castleford RLFC 33–12 and in more recent years they have won the World Club Challenge twice. On 4 February 2005, they beat Australian side Canterbury Bulldogs 39–32 in front of 37,028 spectators 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. 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. The Manly Sea Eagles claimed their first WCC win by defeating Leeds 28–20 in front of 32,569 spectators. The stadium also 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
Elland Road is one of the venues i

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