Elland Road Stadium Redevelopment
Following Leeds United’s announcement regarding future stadium redevelopment, the Leeds United Supporters Club canvassed its members for their opinions on this subject. This document catalogues the members hopes and aspirations regarding any future ground renovation or redevelopment:
Revie (North) Stand:
- More than any other stand, particular care must be taken to preserve this stands atmosphere and even if possible, enhance it.
- If a new stand is to be constructed, a large single steep bank of seats stretching from front to back presenting a wall of spectators, would promote and preserve the atmosphere of this stand. A two tier stand must be avoided if at all possible, as this divides fans and is detrimental to generating an atmosphere. One huge single tier stand, like that at Dortmund’s or the new Spurs stadium, would be extremely popular.
- A roof construction that promotes acoustic amplification could be designed to maximise and enhance the atmosphere. An innovative roof design would also set this stand apart from others and give it real character, identity and a unique Leeds United appearance.
- If current regulations allow, the installation of rail-seating could be undertaken. This would cater for any possible changes to legislation which may allow for safe standing in the future.
- If the construction of a new Revie (North) Stand is to be several seasons away, Leeds United should consider some interim work to renovate the plaques and pictures within the existing concourse, as many are in a dilapidated state.
Supporters Club Facilities:
- Up to and including the 1990’s, the Supporters Club had meeting facilities at Elland Road adjacent to the old Souvenir Shop. These facilities were instrumental in the recruitment of new fans and bringing them into the Leeds United family. Since the closure of these facilities, it has long been an aspiration for the LUSC to find a new home at the stadium. We would respectfully ask Leeds United to consider incorporating a new bar / meeting room within plans for any of the replacement stands. This would need to be accessible from the outside only (like Billy’s Bar), so that all LUSC members could gain entry regardless of their ticket allocation within the stadium. In addition, these facilities could be used on non-match days, for meetings or local community use. Again, Dortmund have been cited as a good example of what supporters facilities can represent.
Parking & Public Transportation:
- Adequate and affordable home fan coach parking is required, to encourage group travel, reduce the amount of cars and ease congestion in the LS11 area. This in turn, would reduce the match day carbon footprint of Leeds United, but it must be affordable coach parking, otherwise people will return to their cars.
- Better and more affordable Park & Ride facilities would be beneficial. The Temple Newsam Park & Ride initiative was an excellent addition, only to be ruined by huge price increases within weeks of its launch.
- Prepaid parking with better access to the motorways would be beneficial. Improved public transport to and from Leeds city centre would be welcomed. The installation of prepaid ticket machines to speed up boarding might be a consideration?
- The LUSC would support any plans by Leeds City Council to improve transportation between the Elland Road Stadium and Leeds city centre (for example, a new tramway facility).
Current Toilet Facilities:
- The LUSC has previously raised the issue of poor toilet facilities within the stadium and in particular, the West and North West Stands. As Leeds United are once again a Premiership Club, we feel it’s an urgent priority that these ageing lavatories be upgraded in the short term, at least until major redevelopment can replace them. We would see the below recommendations as urgent basic requirements, particularly given recent public health issues:
- Hot & Cold running water in all sinks.
- Soap dispensers at every sink.
- Adequate hand drying facilities (with paper towel disposal points if good quality hot air blowers are not installed).
- Locking toilet doors.
- Flushing toilets.
- Securely fitted toilet seats, on all toilets.
- Mirrors in the toilets. This doesn’t just cater for vanity, it also assists those who may wear contact lenses or have other needs.
- Large capacity secure toilet roll dispensers, so that toilet roll is plentiful and cannot be stolen.
- Multi-product sanitary wear dispensing machines in all the Ladies toilets to supplement the current free product initiative.
- The upgrade / refurbishment of current disabled toilet facilities, until additional disabled toilets can be constructed.
- Active Stewarding to deter smoking in toilet areas, particularly at half time.
Future Toilet Facilities:
- Increased amount of toilet facilities, particularly for the Ladies as there is a notable imbalance between the sexes.
- There should be both Entry doors and Exit doors to create a one-way system for any new toilet facilities. These entry and exit points should consist of double doors, to ease congestion and cater for the larger fan.
- If possible, toilet exit doors should push outwards to avoid the need for handles and also to prevent entry to the toilets through the exit doors. Toilet entry doors should also be constructed so that they only opened inwards, again to avoid the need for handles and to maintain the one-way system.
- An increased amount of disabled toilets, that are designed and equipped to a higher and more modern standard.
- All catering facilities could be upgraded to attract a larger volume of custom. Leeds United themed refreshment areas / bars with some seating and additional vending machines would be very popular.
- A better choice of food and drink, which could incorporate high quality Yorkshire food and beers, would be most welcome (the Amex Stadium’s model for using local produce could be followed).
- Both cash and card facilities for payment are desired by our members.
- Multi-pump beer delivery systems (Spurs example) needs to be adopted to speed up delivery and reduce customer queue size.
- Comprehensive training for match day catering staff should to be introduced, to ensure delivery speed and customer satisfaction. This swift delivery would also ensure that the catering revenue potential is maximised.
- Good hygienic procedures and practices in the cleaning of beer delivery pipes inside the stadium.
- Increased capabilities for Stewards when dealing with turnstile entry failures (currently a common occurrence).
- When new stands are designed, larger turnstile entry points should be considered to reflect and accommodate the growing population size.
- When replacement stands are constructed, leg room and seat width should be increased to reflect the growing height and width of the adult population. All new seating installations should be at least if not greater than the legroom currently offered in the West Stand. New seating should certainly offer better legroom than that in the East Stand Lower, which is notoriously poor and most apparent along the back row (Row V).
Concourses & Gangways
- There should be increased spacing on landings and wider concourses to enable the easy circulation of fans and aid any possible evacuation scenarios.
- Gangways and staircases need to be wide enough for people to pass safely, with grab rails to assist the elderly or less able bodied supporter.
- Provision should be made for seating within the concourses, to aid supporters who find standing difficult. To ensure that space is not lost within the concourse, tip up seats (similar to those within the stadium) could be used for this purpose and located against available wall space.
- Adequate spacing is needed around the outside of the Stadium. The current gap between the Revie (North) Stand and the fencing directly opposite is extremely poor, particularly post-match when fans are exiting the stadium en masse.
- The disabled fan areas need to be better sited, with suitable cover to shield them from the elements (particularly those who are in wheelchairs).
- Disabled areas should have easy access, be spacious and have modern specialised toilet facilities.
- There should be better and more plentiful disabled parking in close proximity to the stadium.
Facilities Outside the Stadium
- Additional or expanded Fan-Zone areas would be popular, if catering facilities and bars were to be improved. A further development could be to create Family-Fan-Zones? These might offer activities for children (penalty shoot outs etc.) with possible ex-player, or squad / U23 members (not playing on the day) appearances?
- A second Pavilion facility to accommodate more fans pre-match would be welcomed. Expanding corporate demands are causing capacity restrictions at the current Pavilion for ordinary fans and should the stadium capacity be increased to the proposed fifty thousand, this problem will only be exacerbated.
- Flags were erected at the stadium for the Euro 96 tournament which gave the stadium a grand and imposing impression. Would it be possible to reinstate those in the future?
- Working with the Leeds City Council, is there scope for creating one or more walkways when approaching the ground on foot, to give a Wembley Way / Emirates impression?
- The Leeds United street art is very popular in the city and our members wondered if this could be expanded to areas around the ground, with murals depicting significant moments and important people from the club’s past?
Norman Hunter (South) Stand:
- In the short term and to increase capacity, LUFC could remove the out of date corporate boxes and return the upper tier to its former state, with a full complement of seats. To a degree, this would alleviate the current 20,000 Gold Members Season Ticket waiting list and fill what is already, a very popular stand. Corporate box holders could be relocated to either the East Stand (capacity allowing) or corporate facilities within a new John Charles (West) Stand, following its construction.
- If safe standing legislation were to be introduced at some point in the future, the remodelling of the South Stand Lower with Rail-Seating would cater for this change and would be extremely popular.
- Is it possible to create more turnstiles in the lower section of the Norman Hunter (South) Stand, as all the turnstiles are at one end? Fans in the FA1 section, regularly bottleneck when trying to pass through the bar area (FA4/5).
John Charles (West) Stand:
- To obtain some symmetry, a cantilever stand to mirror that of the Jack Charlton (East) Stand would be preferred. However, this would need to offer much improved legroom to that offered in the lower tier of the Jack Charlton Stand.
- A new South West Stand could be planned for, to link both the new John Charles (West) Stand and the Norman Hunter (South) Stand, at some later date if the current Scoreboard is ever to be repositioned?
Visiting Away Fans
- Away fans could continue to be accommodated in the new John Charles (West) Stand if this satisfies Policing requirements. A possible alternative to their current location, might be to accommodate away fans directly above in a new upper tier (like away fans are at Newcastle), where the seating doesn’t necessarily have a premium view.
- There is a strong desire amongst LUSC members to prevent away fans from being allocated areas behind the goal, as we feel there is an atmospheric advantage to be gained from Leeds United fans occupying these popular areas. If away fans could be allocated an area in a new John Charles Upper tier, this would preserve this strategic advantage.
- After the construction of any new replacement stand, would it be possible to replicate Season Tickets allocations as close as possible to their original position, so that family / friends groups are not broken up? This is of particular concern in the John Charles (West) Stand, where many people have sat together for decades.
- There are concerns from our members about major price increases following any new stand construction. We would ask that any price increases be kept to a minimum, and if needed, implemented incrementally over several seasons?
Public Address / Scoreboard / Advertising Hoardings
- Serious consideration needs to be made with regard to the design of flashing adverts, which may have the potential to trigger seizures or epileptic fits amongst those at the ground or watching on television.
- A better match day public address system throughout the stadium is necessary, as the current system is badly distorted and almost inaudible.
- Our existing scoreboard is currently not visible from many areas within the stadium and it occupies an area that could be used to create a South West Stand at some later date. Could two roof-mounted scoreboards be installed, one at either end of the ground similar to those at Tottenham Hotspur’s old White Hart Lane stadium?
Heritage, Museum & Statues
- A new Leeds United Museum should be incorporated within future development plans. This could chart not only the history of the football club, but also the history of the Leeds United Supporters Club. This would be a valuable addition for any future stadium tours.
- The repositioning of the Don Revie statue to a more fitting and prominent position should be considered. For example, could it be incorporated into the new John Charles (West) Stand design, overlooking what is currently the car park?
- Billy Bremner’s Statue has become increasingly overwhelmed with scarves and other items tied to the structure. It has become so prolific now, that it’s difficult to see the statue underneath because of all the regalia. While the fans desire to leave personal items is understandable, a more dignified and reverential practice would be to leave such items at Bremner’s feet. To change the culture of items being tied to the statue, an increased plinth height elevating the statue beyond reach could be installed to prevent the statue being subjected to this adornment, or possible vandalism by opposing clubs fans?
- Leeds United are rapidly running out of stands to dedicate to our legendary former players. Is there an opportunity to create an “Avenue of Legends,” which could contain further statues or art work depicting our former greats. This could be situated within the “Memorial Gardens” that Leeds United have eluded to in the recent past?
- WiFi throughout the stadium.
- Improved 4G / 5G mobile capacity as this is currently extremely poor within the stadium.
- Smoking areas to be better located so that smoke does not drift back into the stands.
- Phased reconstruction or renovation work on stands, to minimise season ticket holder displacement.
- To promote ease of access, the provision of lifts or escalators to all levels should be part of any future redevelopment design. In addition, improved ease of access has been requested in the North West and North East corners.
- Where possible, the elimination of restricted views should be implemented.
- For safety and security reasons, internal mass migration between stands needs to be prevented. This currently occurs between the Revie (North) Stand and the North West Stand, causing overcrowding in the NW concourse areas.