Bramall Lane is the home of Sheffield United and it’s open for stadium tours. Here are a few reasons to take a Bramall Lane stadium tour;
- You’re a Sheffield United fan
- Oldest professional stadium in the world
- Former Sheffield Wednesday stadium
- Visit Sheffield United Museum
- Tours held on match days therefore you feel the atmosphere and see the players
Stadium tours are only held before matches and tickets are limited. For this reason you must organise your ticket in advance. Furthermore, stadium tour tickets are only available on the official Sheffield United website.
Bramall Lane Stadium Parking
Firstly, if you’re visiting Bramall Lane on an evening or Sunday you can find free street parking around the stadium. Alternatively, there are several paid parking options which open on match days. I chose this car park which is £5 for unlimited parking and a short walk from not only the stadium but also the city center. As a result you can also visit the city of Sheffield. Alternatively, if you arrive by train, Sheffield Railway Station is around 1km away.
Bramall Lane Stadium
Bramall Lane is in the center of Sheffield. It’s identifiable from the blades pointing towards the sky. Sheffield is of course, the city of steel. Moreover, The Blades is the nickname of Sheffield United. Lastly, the capacity is 32,125 spectators.
Bramall Lane Stadium Facts
Bramall Lane is the oldest stadium in the world which still hosts professional football matches. It opened in 1855, originally as a cricket ground. However, it wasn’t until 1862 that it hosted its first football match. This match incidentally, was the worlds first charity match between Sheffield FC and Hallam. Here are a few more Bramall Lane facts;
- First stadium to host a football cup final – Youdan Cup in 1867
- First game under floodlights – Sheffield FC vs Hallam in 1878
- England played Scotland outside Glasgow or London – 1883
- Fixed crossbar used for first time – 1883
- Sheffield United founded – 1889
- Ashes Test Match host – 1903
- FA Cup final host – 1912
Bramall Lane is one of only 2 venues to host both an FA Cup final as well as an Ashes test match. The other venue is the Oval in London.
John Street Stand – Archibald Leitch
The John Street Stand was designed by famous Scottish architect, Archibald Leitch. As a matter of fact, this was his first project in England. He went on to design other famous stadiums in the country including, Old Trafford, Goodison Park, Anfield, Craven Cottage, Stamford Bridge and of course, that of Sheffield rivals, Hillsborough stadium.
Player Meet and Greet / Players Entrance
Bramall Lane stadium tours are available on match days and start 2 hours before kick off. For this reason, you’ll see both home and away team players arriving. As Sheffield United are a Premier League team you may see some very famous faces. I was lucky enough to take photos with goalkeeper, Simon Moore as well as Phil Jagielka.
The Bramall Lane stadium tour begins with a walk through the players tunnel and onto the pitch. It’s a strange feeling as you know the players will be walking through here shortly after you. Additionally, a photo under the Sheffield United – Forged in Steel logo is a must.
At pitch side you can sit in the dugout where all the famous managers and players sit. Famous Sheffield United managers include, Chris Wilder, Nigel Clough, Gary Speed, Neil Warnock, Dave Bassett and Howard Kendall. Finally, I highly recommend you take your photo in the iconic Sheffield United seats.
Pitch Side on Match Day
A bonus to taking a Bramall Lane stadium tour on match day is you will see famous faces. I saw club legend, Brian Deane who was preparing to commentate on the match. In addition, former Arsenal striker Alan Smith was pitch side.
Of course, the best seats at Bramall Lane are in the VIP section. Not only are these padded but they also offer the best views of the pitch. As a matter of fact, you will sit here for much of the tour as the guide explains the history of the Blades and Bramall Lane. Finally, Game of Thrones star and local hero, Sean Bean regularly visits the VIP section.
Player Warm Up
You get a true experience as you sit in the VIP seats because you can watch the players warming up from there. Crystal Palace were the visitors when I visited therefore Wilfried Zaha was in attendance.
Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson is the oldest manager to have managed in the Premier League. Unfortunately for him, his team lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane on the day I visited.
Sheffield United Museum
You’re in the oldest professional football ground in the world. In addition, you’re in the home city of the oldest football club in the world. For these reasons, the Sheffield United museum is full of rich history dating back to 1855. Much has happened in these years!
The Youdan Cup was the worlds first football competition. It was held in Sheffield in 1867. The winners were Hallam FC and the final was held at Bramall Lane. An interesting fact is the cup was lost and didn’t resurface again until 1997. It was then bought back for a mere £1600. Another cup you can learn about in the museum is the Khaki Cup.
1925 FA Cup
You have to go back almost 100 years to the last time Sheffield United won a major trophy. They beat Cardiff City 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Memorabilia from this famous day is on display in the Sheffield United museum.
Joe Shaw Statue
Joe Shaw played for Sheffield United in the post war years from 1945 to 1966. He made 714 appearances for the Blades, a club record.
Derek Dooley Statue
The Derek Dooley history is interesting. He was in fact a very successful Sheffield Wednesday player, so why is his statue outside Bramall Lane? He scored 62 goals in 61 games for them. However, due to a leg infection his leg was amputated and his playing career over. He then became Sheffield Wednesday manager before his sacking after 3 years. Afterwards, he became chairman of the Sheffield United board and hence his statue outside Bramall Lane. Should the Derek Dooley statue be outside Hillsborough?
Blades Memorial Garden
The Blades Memorial Garden is an interesting concept. Fans who have passed away have their names inscribed on the bricks with a message.
Enjoy your Bramall Lane Stadium Tour
Remember, to reserve your place on the tour, you must book in advance on the official Sheffield United website. Alternatively, if you visit to watch a match, for a small fee you can enter the museum. This is a unique tour of the oldest professional football stadium in the world therefore the history is rich, enjoy!
Why not visit Hillsborough Stadium, home of local rivals, Sheffield Wednesday.