A Rough Guide To... Sheffield
Article by Jacob Daniel
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2013
Everyone you need (and don't need) to know ahead of Friday's opening day trip to the steel city.
A ROUGH GUIDE TO... SHEFFIELD
HOW MUCH WILL THIS SET ME BACK?
Adults - £19.50
Old Folk (60+) - £15
Student (with NUS) - £15
Under 21 - £15
Kids (Under 16) - £9.50
NB - It is recommended that Notts fans planning to travel to Bramall Lane buy their tickets in advance if possible, considering the sheer incompetence of the United ticket office staff, which led to lengthy queues ahead of last season's encounter and a number of fans missing kick-off.
HOW DOES ONE GET TO SHEFFIELD?
NCM's trusty old steed Google Maps suggests that a Friday evening drive to Bramall Lane shouldn't be too arduous of a task, taking around about one hour. Take the M1 north to Junction 29 and then the A617 towards Chesterfield. At the roundabouts, take the A61 towards Sheffield, which should eventually lead you pretty much to the doorstep of the Blades.
Nottingham station is currently closed whilst it is rebuilt as a spaceship-tram docking station following their torturous journey from Beeston, so getting the train anywhere is currently about as much fun as navigating across the Antarctic with a dodgy compass. It is still an option for those who enjoy replacement bus services, although be warned that there is a serious chance that you may end up in in the life-sapping vortex that is East Midlands Parkway station. Or even worse, Derby. You'll need to take a replacement bus service to either of those, or Alfreton, with the latter probably being the best option, with Sheffield then just a thirty minute ride on the Northern Rail service. There are plenty of available services travelling to Sheffield, from both Derby and Alfreton, but coming back trains depart at just 10pm and 11:37pm, the former via Derby and the latter via East Midlands Parkway and arriving back into Nottingham at 01:24am. All of this heartbreak, despair and disaster will cost you £10.80 for a standard off-peak day return.
TELL ME ABOUT THE CITY OF THE SHEFFIELD
It's never as much fun writing this section about somewhere like Sheffield, which actually has things going for it, as opposed to lecturing you on the history of Birkenhead. But i'm going to do it anyway. One of the country's largest urban areas, the city of Sheffield has a population of over 500,000 - making it the third largest English district by population.
Famed for the steel industry that gave the city it's nickname, Sheffield was once part of the heartland of the industrial north, but has now moved on as a more metropolitan city with a vast student population and a whole array of slightly snobby bars and restaurants, if that's you're thing. Anyone who is randomly looking for a little bit of culture ahead of Friday's match could take the Sheffield walk of fame, shamelessly stolen from Hollywood only with nowhere near as much glamour. The city also has two farm animal collections that are open to the public, apparently.
Famous sons of Sheffield include a whole host of musicians and bands, such as the Arctic Monkeys, Human League, Pulp and Def Leppard, as well as Olympic gold medallist in the realm of the jack-of-all-trades, Jessica Ennis-Hill. The city is twinned with such fine metropolises as Anshan in China, Bochum in Germany, Donetsk in Ukraine and Pittsburgh in the USA.
WHAT'S BRAMALL LANE LIKE?
One of the an ever-diminishing species, the 'proper football ground', Bramall Lane is one of the finest arenas that League One has to offer. In some ways like a large Meadow Lane or Deepdale, the ground can serve up a superb atmosphere on the right occasion. Notts fans will be housed in the lower section of the newly named Jessica Ennis stand, opposite the imposing Kop stand and also below home supporters. If people fancy learning the lessons of last year, don't celebrate a goal by encroaching onto the innocent looking area of concrete infront of the seats or you will be beaten over the head by a steward with a clipboard and then ejected from the ground - and no one wants that.
WHERE CAN I GET A PINT?
You really shouldn't need any help finding a place to drink in Sheffield, with the city offering something for every kind of stereotyped drinking group - from bearded real ale nerds to angry youths demanding a pint of Carling. The Sheffield Tap at Sheffield station is a favourite of the former group, serving up a whole host of different beers and ales - it's also particularly easy to find, being within the station itself. Most pubs near to Bramall Lane are for home fans only, something that is likely to be particularly strict for an opening day local-derby-of-sorts, but the Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street does tend to be a favourite of away fans, offering something for everyone including food, whilst being located just a fifteen minute stroll from the ground.