This Saturday Premier League football returns to Elland Road, but for the fans it wil be different
17 Sep 2020 08:55 pm, by YorkshireSquare
On Saturday afternoon, Elland Road Stadium, home, will host its first Premier League game since Saturday 8th May 2004. But in these strange times it will be a different match day experience to usual. Waking with butterflies in the stomach, unable to sleep, impatient for what is to come. There is always a nervous anxiety on a home match day, an excitement simmering and building throughout the day. The morning drags, its existence seems pointless, futile, for everything that you care about, the reason you woke rose this morning is yet to come.
It’s nearly time, you go to the wardrobe and choose your battle dress. This seasons brand new crisp white offering with those Premier league patches on the arms? Dazzling yellow Strongbow to celebrate our return to the top flight? Or retro, Thistle Hotels with a football in a Yorkshire Rose? Three stripes it, with a scarf of white, blue and yellow draped around your shoulders. From all across the city fans embark their chariots; the 1, the 51, the R2 from Sovereign Street. From the north, south, east and west and further afield the crowds descend on Beeston.
With headphones in, The Square Ball podcast on the bus winds through the city, filling with more and more yellow, white and blue with every stop. Disembarking at the Drysalters or Whistlestop, a swift pint (or two) with friends old and new. The noise rises as the gaggle grows, suddenly the chants break out; “Marching On Together, We're gonna see you win, Na na na na na na, We are so proud, We shout it out loud we love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!”
Quarter to three, it’s time. The walk down Beeston Hill, the walk-up Elland Road, the crowds growing and growing as you get closer and closer. The police horses trot by as the smell from the burger vans waft past, the scarf vendors and fanzine sellers jostle for your hard earned as you round Billy Bremner and walk down Lowfields Road. In through the turnstiles, stopping for a Balti pie on the way, along the concourse then out into the arena. Stopping at the top of the steps, you take it all in, home at last!
The noise builds, the chants ring round the ground until that moment just before kick-off, then silence… The whistle blows and a thunderous roar erupts around the stadium, here we go, “Come on Leeds!” On days like this there is no better place, no louder place to be than Elland Road. But this season it is different, circumstances mean we can’t be there. After sixteen years of waiting I’m sure none of us would have imagined our return to the top flight would be like this but we will make new rituals, have new rituals, we will be there is spirit cheering the lads on on on.