With memories of yet another heart breaker at the National Stadium fading and the Euro’s having a go at bridging the gap between the end of an enjoyable, yet ultimately fruitless campaign and the start of another assault on League One, the wait is almost over.
The Blades will soon be back in training, no doubt with a few fresh faces and the Pre-Season schedule is almost fully finalised.
United will once again stage a training camp in Malta, with fixtures against
two sides yet to be confirmed Zejtun Corinthians FC and Hibernians FC, after kicking off with 90 minutes against Ilkeston FC.
A trip to the newly built New York Stadium in Rotherham and a journey to the seaside town of Morecombe will also allow supporters to get a couple of new grounds in.
Find out where you can catch up with the Blades with our guide to the pre-season:[table id=1 /]
18th July 2012 – Ilkeston FC v. Sheffield United – The New Manor Ground
Newly promoted to the Evo-Stick Premier League, amongst their ranks is Laurie Wilson (son of Danny) who recently agreed to re-join the Robins following spells with Alfreton and Harrogate Town. Continuing the family theme is Joe Maguire, brother of Harry, who did spend 4 years with the Blades but made his breakthrough with Scunthorpe United.
About the Ground
The New Manor Ground opened in August 1992, when Ilkeston Town FC moved from their home for 99 years (not surprisingly called The Manor Ground) – to take up residence in a purpose-built stadium.
It is situated on the north-east edge of Ilkeston, around a mile from the town centre and is bordered by the River Erewash to the east and Erewash Canal to the south.
The ground has a capacity of 3,029, including covered accommodation for 2,000. There are 550 seats – 270 in the main stand on the Awsworth Road side, straddling the halfway line, and 280 in the Clocktower Stand.
Segregation is rarely enforced with all supporters entering the ground via turnstiles in the club car park. If segregation is necessary, visiting supporters enter via the main turnstiles in the car park to occupy southern areas of the ground, and home fans via turnstiles to the rear of the clubhouse.
The record attendance at the New Manor Ground was achieved in 1999 for the visit Rushden & Diamonds which attracted 2,538.
A fairly easy journey by car this one, with the ground just a few miles from the M1 with a total distance of around 40 miles from Bramall Lane.
In terms of parking, there is a small car park at the ground and plenty of street parking nearby.[button url=https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=218364414982782251260.0004c2a9d16cc61fe4d03 color=red size=normal target=newtab]Route Map[/button]
Getting to Ilkeston by Train is a bit more of an effort, given than Ilkeston is without a railway station in operation (a local newspaper recently took a petition to Downing Street). The nearest operating station is Langley Mill which is around 5 miles from the ground.
Official Website: http://www.ilkestonfc.co.uk
New Manor Ground
Phone: 0115 944 4428
31st July 2012 – Rotherham United v. Sheffield United – New York Stadium
Another short trip sees the Blades visit neighbours Rotherham United for one of their first fixtures in the brand new, £20million home, the New York Stadium. After a disappointing season finishing 10th in League Two, during which ex-Blade Andy Scott was sacked, the Millers will be looking for a positive start in their new surroundings in the coming season.
Adding to the interest will be ex-Blades youngster Ryan Cresswell who before injury was attracting attention from a number of clubs with some strong performances in the heart of the Millers defence.
About the Ground
The Millers first announced their intentions to construct a new stadium when they moved away from Milmoor in 2008. Whilst playing in their temporary home of Don Valley Stadium, the club purchased the former site of Guest and Chrimes foundry and obtained planning permission in November 2010.
Almost a year later and to the amusement of some people, the club officially named the stadium the “New York Stadium”, the name originating from the iconic fire hydrants that the Guest and Chrimes factory once exported to the USA.
The ground is ahead of schedule and due to be completed early July, ready for the new season. With a capacity of around 12,000, a decent crowd will be expected for the visit of the Blades.
Yet another short journey, the New York Stadium is situated within walking distance of the Railway Station and Bus Interchange.
Being a new site, there should be plenty of parking at the ground, details yet to be confirmed.
Official Website: http://www.themillers.co.uk
Fans Forums: Rotherham United Mad
Rotherham United FC
Barbot Hall Industrial Estate
Phone: 0844 4140733
2nd August 2012 – Hallam FC v. Sheffield United XI – Sandygate Road
The Blades have agreed to send an XI up to the familiar surroundings of Hallam FC’s Sandygate Road Ground, the oldest ground in the world.
Originally scheduled for the same night as the Blades visit to Rotherham, this fixture has now been moved to Thursday 2nd August 2012.
About the Ground
Sandygate Road will be a familiar site to many Blades and is a very short journey for many, located opposite the Plough Inn at Crosspool.
Lying 800 feet above sea level, Sandygate Road is officially the oldest football ground in the World and home of Hallam FC since 1860, making them the second oldest football club in the World to Sheffield FC.
The ground made the silver screen in 1996, when our mate Jimmy Muir (Sean Bean) had a kick around, being scouted by Tony Currie for the film When Saturday Comes.
Refurbishments to the clubhouse are ongoing, but other than those, the sloping pitch and it’s surroundings will have a familiar look to those having visited in previous years.
With an official capacity of around 700, the main stand has seating for around 250, a small covered terrace and space for standing beside the pitch should attendance dictate.
At around 3 miles by car from Bramall Lane, this one isn’t going to cause any concern for local Blades.
There’s parking on the streets nearby and public transport from the city centre in the form of buses.
Official Website: http://www.hallamfc.co.uk
Phone: 0114 230 9484
4th August 2012 – Morecambe FC v. Sheffield United – The Globe Arena
By far the furthest away of the domestic friendlies, a trip to Morecambe and The Globe Arena allows Blades to take in a new ground beside the sea.
The League Two side were promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history in 2007, beating Exeter City in the Conference Play Off Final. Things were looking up on the pitch and a couple of months later the club announced plans to move from their home of 89 years Christie Park into a new stadium.
About the Ground
Opening in August 2010, The Globe Arena cost around £12million to complete and is dominated by the Peter McGuigan stand (named after the current club chairman).
With a capacity of 6,476 (around 2,100 seated), the away fans are normally seated in the East Terrace, which is a 1,400 capacity covered terrace behind one of the goals. Though early information suggests we may be given a couple of blocks in the main (Peter McGuigan) stand for this friendly.
The closest bar that admits away fans is the Regents Leisure Holiday Park which is a few minutes walk along Westgate, though others are available with around 15mins walk.
It’s unclear whether or not parking will be available for away fans at the ground, though street parking is available nearby.[button url=https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=218364414982782251260.0004c2b06220e0ae2d62c color=red size=normal target=newtab]Route Map[/button]
Morecambe Train Station is around 25 minutes walk from the ground and buses are available nearby that stop just outside the ground.
Official Website: http://www.morecambefc.com
Fans Forums: Shrimps Voices
Phone: 01524 411797
8th August 2012 – Matlock Town v. Sheffield United – Causeway Lane
A regular trip whilst under the stewardship of Neil Warnock, it’s been five years since we last visited Causeway Lane. The Blades will send an XI which is most likely to be a mixture of first teamers and academy players.
The Gladiators currently play in the Evo-Stick Northern Premier League and have a couple of players who spent part of their early career at Sheffield United in Lee Featherstone and Chris Bettney.
About the Ground
Causeway Lane is close to the centre of Matlock opposite Hall Leys Park and features a cricket oval towards the eastern end of the ground (which is where a high percentage of shots usually end up).
The ground holds just under 600 seats, most of which are in two adjacent stands which are fitted together, though not quite flush! These are set back a good few yards from the pitch with many fans choosing to stand against the wall pitchside instead. A small social club usually sells beer and is close to the dug outs.
There is usually street parking on the road outside the ground, though unless you arrive early, this gets busy and soon full. More parking is available in the car parks further into Matlock.[button url=https://www.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=218364414982782251260.0004c2b0c1360ef69614f color=red size=normal target=newtab]Route Map[/button]
Official Website: http://www.matlocktownfc.co.uk
Fans Forums: http://www.phpbbserver.com/matlocktownfc/
Matlock Town FC
Phone: 01629 55362