Sheffield is the perfect city for those who love a bit of football heritage. Not only is the industrial city home to two massive football clubs but also to the world’s oldest football club. On top of that, Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane was the world’s first football stadium that staged a professional football match.
The English industrial city of Sheffield has two big football clubs: Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. There are not many cultural or historical differences that set both clubs apart, but Wednesday is the more popular club with a larger fanbase. United, on the other hand, has been more successful in recent years and plays Premier League football now and then. A surprising ninth-place finish in 2019/20 was one of the recent highlights as they startled everyone with their unique tactics and overlapping centre-backs. The next season, however, clubs figured them out and The Blades, the club’s nickname that refers to the city’s famed steel industry, were relegated. The club returns to the top flight in 2023/24.
Bramall Lane is not the most beautiful ground in the world, but it is the first football stadium where professional football was played. In 1862, Sheffield F.C. – officially recognised as the world’s oldest football club – played against Hallam on Bramall Lane. Seven years before that, the Lane was a cricket ground. It became Sheffield United’s home ground in 1889 when the club was founded.
The Tony Currie Stand immediately catches the eye with its red and black facade. Sheffield United’s logo and the sentence ‘Forged in Steel’ shine on the corner of the Tony Currie Stand and The Kop, the stand where the most boisterous supporters take place. The inside is nice, but not that unique. The seats are in red and white club colours, The Kop is a great one-tiered stand and there is a clock above the John Street Stand, similar to the one you would see in Norwich City’s Carrow Road.
In front of the Tony Currie Stand, you will also see two beautiful statues of club legends. The first one is of Joe Shaw, who graced the pitch 714 times for The Blades. The other one is of Derek Dooley MBE. He played for Sheffield Wednesday but was Sheffield United’s chairman between 1974 and 2006.
10 Norfolk Row
One of Bramall Lane’s biggest advantages is its proximity to the city centre. Here you will find 10 Norfolk Row, where Sheffield United was founded on a Friday evening in March 1889. The next day an advertisement already appeared in the local newspaper to invite players to sign up for testimonials. Next to the door of what is now a nail salon, you can find a plaque to honour this historic moment.
Sheffield Town Hall
When Sheffield United’s players have something to celebrate, like a promotion, they will tour on an open bus through the city. Their final destination is the Sheffield Town Hall. The square in front of the city hall will be filled with enthusiastic supporters who cheer for the players and manager. If you are lucky to catch Sheffield on a sunny day, consider enjoying the weather in the Peace Gardens next to the town hall.
The Railway Hotel
The Railway Hotel is next to Bramall Lane and used to be the house of the Bramall family, after whom the road and the stadium are named. Nowadays, it is your typical British pub which is run by a true Blades fan. It is immensely popular among supporters. One of the outside walls has a large mural of a female cartoon character who wears a Sheffield United jersey. The walls inside are also filled with memorabilia of the club.
The world’s oldest football club: Sheffield F.C.
Want to see some history? Then you must visit the pitch of Sheffield F.C., the world’s oldest football club. The club was founded on the 24th of October 1857! Nowadays, they play their home games on the Tuffnells Home of Football Ground in the town of Dronfield, just outside of Sheffield. In 2004, the club received a FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honour awarded by FIFA to those who have made a significant contribution to football. Only the illustrious Real Madrid can also call themselves a proud owner of this award.
Juan Sebastián Verón and Sheffield United
You might wonder what connects the former Argentinian footballer Juan Sebastián Verón and Sheffield United. The midfielder, who has 73 caps for Argentina, played for Manchester United, Inter Milan and Lazio among others. But never for Sheffield United. However, as a small boy, Verón only had one dream: To play for Sheffield United because his uncle Pedro Verde also played for them between 1978 and 1981. Unfortunately, his dream never came to fruition, but one peek at Verón’s resume might suggest that he does not mind.
Tickets can be purchased on the club's official website. Please note that it is more difficult to get tickets when the club plays Premier League football, however, the stadium is not often sold out. Be aware that you can only buy one ticket per customer number, which you receive when you create an account.
How to get there
Bramall Lane is close to the city centre. Within 16 minutes, you will arrive at the stadium on foot from the train station Sheffield Station / Hallam University.