Hillsborough: Sheffield Wednesday

Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6 1SW, England
By Mick Knapton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Though Hillsborough has been the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club since it opened in 1899, it is probably still remembered for all of the wrong reasons. The ground was the location for what remains the worst sporting disaster in British history, the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives during an FA Cup match between the Merseyside club and Nottingham Forrest. The disaster completely changed the landscape of modern football, seeing all-seater stadiums introduced as standard across the Football League.

Though the tragedy must never be forgotten and the victims of it always in our minds, the stadium has plenty of history that we must also discuss. It has been used to host not only FA Cup semi-finals, for example, but also World Cup matches in 1966 and European Championship matches in 1996. The club have also had planning permission accepted to increase the capacity to nearly 45,000 in order for it to be used in future international tournaments, should England win the right to host one in the future.

Stats

Hillsborough Stats
Year Opened1899
Capacity39,732
Average Attendance26,831
Record Attendance72,841 (Sheffield Wed v Man City (1934))
Pitch Size106 x 69 (7314)
Former NameOwlerton Stadium
OwnerSheffield Wednesday F.C. Ltd
Clubs HostedSheffield Wednesday
First FixtureSheffield Wednesday v Chesterfield (02/09/1899)
Sheffield Wednesday Stats
Year Founded1867
NicknameThe Owls
Club MascotBarney the Owl
RivalsSheffield United, Leeds United, Barnsley, Rotherham United
Previous StadiumsHighfield, Myrtle Road, Heeley, Hunter's Bar, Sheaf House, Bramall Lane, Olive Grove
KitBlue & White (Home) / Maroon & Orange (Away)
Training GroundSheffield Wednesday FC Training Ground
Shirt SponsorChansiri
Team OwnerDejphon Chansiri
Record GoalscorerAndrew Wilson (217)
Record AppearancesAndrew Wilson (560)

Hillsborough Photos

Hillsborough Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By en:user:Dan1980 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hillsborough is the very epitome of an ‘English style’ football stadium, with four distinct stands on each side of the pitch. They have made one concession to modern stadium design, however - the addition of seating in the corner between the West and North Stands.

  • The North Stand - This stand runs along the side of the pitch and is a single-tiered section that can accommodate just under 10,000 people. Outside of this stand is the club’s ticket office and the official shop.
  • The Spion Kop - Known merely as The Kop to most Wednesday fans, this stand houses the most vocal of the club’s supporters. It is technically two-tiered but these aren’t seperated, giving it the appearance of being one large tier.
  • The South Stand - This stand is two-tiered, with the upper tier commonly called The Grandstand. It is the largest section of the stadium, with a combined capacity of over 11,000. It houses both the Director’s Box and the Family Enclosure.
  • The West Stand - Better known to most as The Leppings Lane End, this section of the ground was where the Hillsborough disaster took place. It is now a single-tier, all-seater stand with a a capacity of a little over 6,500.

Sheffield Wednesday Ticket Prices

Sheffield Wednesday have different prices for their tickets depending on whether you want to sit in the Kop, The North Stand, The South Stand or The Grandstand. Within each section of the ground there are then different price categories depending on the level of opposition that The Owls are up against, just to make life ultra confusing. These range from Category G through to Category A. Here are the cheapest and most expensive ticket prices for adults and concessions in each section of the ground:

  • The Kop: £20-£42 / £15-£32
  • The North Stand & The Grandstand: £20-£45 / £15-£35
  • The South Stand: £20-£49 / £15-£39

How To Get Sheffield Wednesday Tickets

Like most top clubs, Sheffield Wednesday have a good website that you can buy tickets through. Alternatively you can call the club’s box office on their dedicated telephone line or you can pop in and see them at the ground itself.

Getting To Hillsborough

Swap Start/End

Sheffield is a city that is constantly under-going transformation and its location as the base for two major universities means that its transport options are excellent. Hillsborough is a little outside of the centre of the city, yet getting to it is still reasonably simple. Here are some of the more traditional methods you might wish to use:

Train - Sheffield Railway Station is easily reachable from most mainline stations in the UK. It is about three miles from the ground itself, but there is a tram that runs from nearby to the stadium.

Should you wish to take the tram you’ll need to exit the station and follow the signs for the excitingly named South Yorkshire Supertram. you’ll take the yellow route towards Middlewood Road and get off at Leppings Lane. The stadium will be the massive building right in front of you.

Bus - There are a host of buses that run from Sheffield centre to Hillsborough. Flat Street Bus Terminal is just a quick walk from the train station and bus numbers 53, 77 and 80 all run from there to the ground. You can also get buses 74, 74a, 85, 86, and 57 from various parts of the city out to where the stadium is located.

Car - From the North, South and East you’ll want to take the M1 and exit at Junction 36. Follow the A61 to Sheffield and follow the signs to the ground. From the West you’ll take the A57 for Sheffield, taking the left fork, or A6101, when you get towards the city centre. At the junction with the A61 go left towards Barnsley and keep going until you see the stadium.

By Air - Sheffield doesn’t have its own airport but, to be honest, it doesn’t need one. Manchester Airport, Leeds-Bradford Airport and Nottingham’s East Midlands Airport are all about an hour away from the city. If you’re too impatient for that kind of journey then look for flight’s to Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster - that’s just half an hour away.

Taxi - A journey from the city’s railway station to the ground should take a little over ten minutes and cost something in the region of £7. If you get stuck in traffic, which is a distinct possibility on a match day, then expect it to take longer and cost you more.

Parking Near Hillsborough

You might be able to park on a street or two not far from the ground, but plenty of the roads in the immediate vicinity are permit only, so watch out for that. There are a number of unofficial car parks along the A41, but if you’re looking for a more official place to leave your car for a while then you might want to consider Meadowhall Shopping Centre. That’s about a half an hour tram ride away from the stadium.

Useful Resources

Hillsborough Hotels

There are no shortage of hotel options in Sheffield, from small Bed & Breakfasts through to large, well-known chains. Here are some of our favourites:

The Garrison Hotel - £60+

Hillsborough Barracks, Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB
The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted the word ‘barracks’ in the address of this hotel. That is because it is actually the former military guardhouse and the building is full of the sort of character you’d expect from such a place. It’s Grade II listed and offers a restaurant, gardens and meeting rooms - all in a location just under a mile from the stadium. More details.

Hampton By Hilton Sheffield - £70+

West Bar Green, Sheffield, S1 2DA
You know what you’re getting from Hilton hotels, though the Hampton variation offers something a touch different from the norm. Even so this place still boasts a restaurant, a bar, a 24-hour fitness centre and self-parking. There’s also Wi-Fi available and a free continental breakfast included in your room rate. Distance-wise you’re looking at a journey of just over two miles to the ground. More details.

Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel and Spa - £90+

119 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 2JE
Located directly next to Sheffield’s beautiful and much-loved Peace Gardens and about two and a half miles from Hillsborough is this excellent Mercure hotel. You’ll get access to the full-service spa, indoor pool and health club as well as the business centre, restaurant and bar. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Hillsborough

As a student city it’s fair to say that Sheffield has more than a couple of places for you to enjoy a pre-match pint. Whether you are after an older, more characterful place to sup a pint with the locals or a young, thriving bar to have a post-match party in, Sheffield has got you covered.

Champs Sports Bar & Grill

255 Ecclesall Rd, Sheffield, S11 8NX (0114 266 6333)
Located on Eccleshall Road, an area well-known for its numerous drinking holes, is Champs Sports Bar & Grill. The clue of what you’ll get here is in the title, really, with loads of food options, as much sport as you can possibly hope to watch and plenty of drinks to choose from, too.

The Rawson Spring

501 Langsett Rd, Sheffield, S6 2LN (0114 285 6200)
This JD Wetherspoon’s establishment is two tram stops away from Hillsborough and offers all of the things you’d expect from such a place. Plenty of cheap food and good drinks with live sport shown on televisions throughout the pub.

The New Barrack Tavern

601 Penistone Rd, Sheffield, S6 2GA (0114 234 9148)
A real ale pub that also doubles up as a live music venue and a comedy club, The New Barrack Tavern often boasts an excellent atmosphere in the build-up to the match. There are actually several different sections to this pub, including a tap room that shows sport on the TV.

Facilities

Hillsborough hasn’t undergone any major reconstruction in recent years, so the concourses and ‘behind-the-scenes’ areas of the ground are found wanting when compared to some of the newer stadiums. It is still full of character, though, and you’ll find all of the usual places to buy food and drink, should you be hungry or thirsty before or during the game.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.00
  • Cup of tea: 2.20
  • Beer: 3.60

Hospitality

Outside of the Kop at Hillsborough Stadium - By Gareth Simpson from Burbank, USA (Hillsborough) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Unsurprisingly for a club with the rich history of Sheffield Wednesday, there are excellent hospitality packages available at Hillsborough. Most of the lounges and executive areas have been upgraded in the not too distant past, too, so the facilities are excellent. Here are some of the choices available to you:

  • Director’s Box VIP Lounge - The absolutely best of the best is on offer here. You’ll enjoy a luxury four-course menu, complimentary bar and refreshments at half-time and full-time, reserved parking and the chance to watch the Man of the Match presentation after the game. you’ll also get padded seating in the Director’s Box area.
  • South Stand Executive Box - Here you’ll get a private box, a three-course meal, padded balcony seats for up to ten guests, £75 worth of complimentary drinks, four car parking spaces and a free match day programme per guest.
  • Dooley’s Restaurant - A three-course pre-match meal, cash bar and padded seating in The South Stand await you here. You’ll also get to listen in on pre and post-match analysis from an Owls legend.

Private Hire

Given that the club refers to the stadium as ‘South Yorkshire’s Premier Conference and Events Venue’, it’s a reasonably safe bet that your private hire needs will be met with aplomb at Hillsborough. The club’s crack team of events personnel promise that pretty much any event or exhibition can be handled with ease, should that be something that you’re looking for them to do.

Perhaps you’re looking for somewhere to host a sales meeting or a training session. Maybe, like with Sheffield’s too big Universities - Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University - you’re looking for somewhere to put on your exams. It’s possible that you’re a massive Owls fan and want to get married at the ground that you consider to be Mecca. All of these events and more are catered for easily enough at the stadium that is home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

Stadium Tours & Museum

With a walk up the tunnel that will take you pitch side and allow you to sit in the manager’s seat in the dug-out, the Hillsborough Stadium tour is bound to thrill and excite any keen Sheffield Wednesday fan. You’ll also get to see some of the executive boxes and corporate suites, take a wander around some of the stands and also get a glimpse inside the home and away team’s dressing rooms.

Unlike most clubs that limit tours to non-match days, Sheffield Wednesday actually specifically host theirs on match days in order to enhance your match going experience. The tours cost £10 per adult and £5 for Under-18s, but they’re limited to 25 people per tour so make sure you book in advance.

About Sheffield Wednesday

By Daniel Bagshaw (Dan1980) (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club was formed in 1867 as The Wednesday, making it the third oldest club in the Football League and one of the oldest in world football in general. They were the first ever champions of The Football Alliance, a predecessor of The Football League. They were also one of the founding members of the Premier League when it was formed in 1992. Despite the fact that the club has spent most of its existence playing in the top-flight, it hasn’t actually been in it since its relegation from Premier League in 2000.

With four top-flight League titles, three FA Cup wins and a single League Cup victory, Sheffield Wednesday are not without some claims to success during their existence. They’ve never won a European trophy but they have competed in European competition on numerous occasions. The club has played at Hillsborough since 1899 and the ground is located in the Sheffield superb of Owlerton, lending the club its nickname of The Owls.

Hillsborough History

The West Stand (Leppings Lane end) - By Lewis Waddingham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Though the ground is synonymous with the Hillsborough disaster that occurred on the 15th of April 1989, it has a rich history that should also be spoken about. You can read about it in more detail elsewhere on this site. There are some interesting stories about Hillsborough's history. For example, when the stadium was originally built in 1899 The South Stand was the same one that had stood at Olive Grove, the club’s previous ground. It was reconstructed brick-by-brick when the new stadium was built in Owlerton.

Hillsborough was used as the location for numerous international matches for both the World Cup in 1966 and the European Championship in 1996. West Germany beat Switzerland by five goals to inline the first group stage game of the world cup held there, before returning in the quarter-final to beat Uruguay 4-0. Denmark enjoyed a mixed experience at Hillsborough in Euro ’96, losing 3-0 to Croatia in their second group stage match before beating Turkey by the same scoreline just three days later.

Future Developments

Hillsborough was one of the venues that the Football Association planned to use should it have won the bid to host either the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup. As such, numerous development proposals were put forward to, and accepted by, Sheffield City council. At the time of writing, however, none of those proposals have been carried out owing to the fact that England failed in their bid.

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