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Is Elland Road a forgotten Ground?

Elland Road football stadium the football ground home to Leeds United

Elland Road football stadium the football ground home to Leeds United

I have watched Leeds United twice this season and sat in two opposite ends of the stadium. So here goes the Chris Marsden Online review of the home of Leeds United – Elland Road.

I remember when Leeds United were a top Premiership team, a contender in Europe and a stadium that rocked every week. Although the crowds have dwindled the passion amongst fans still remains and too many that’s why they are still a big club and worthy of investment.

Elland Road is what you call a cantilevers stadium meaning that the main stand stands proud and dwarf those around it. The upper tier within the cantilevers stand does not get used that much these days following the demise of the club though some were sat within the stand during both games.

The main cantilever stand at Elland Road, the football stadium which is the home of Leeds United

The main cantilever stand at Elland Road, the football stadium which is the home of Leeds United

The ground seats in excess of 44,000 people though Leeds United today usually have an attendance just over 20,000 spectators.

The ground itself is vibrant, especially as you approach the ground from the neighbouring motorway. The modern facade of the main stand dwarfs over the M621 that runs alongside it. The rest of the ground has to be said shows its age, the ground is no shiny, glitzy stadia like that of the Emirates. The appearance – especially once close up is probably not a number one priority for the club as efforts are focused on keeping the club going than looking fancy – the pot holes outside around the ground are shocking

The ground itself is certainly not poor, far from it. I’d say that the age adds to the beauty. The ground oozes character and history – something newer modern grounds lack. There was certainly nothing out of place – weather damaged, dirty or disappointing when I visited. All catering and hospitality facilities were spot on although very expensive and the wooden seats in the west stand were certainly more comfortable than the plastic ones in the east stand. Of course new development was evident to see, the facade of the main stand, new club shops etc – they are of course going to be in a different architectural style to that of a ground build many, many moons ago.

Pillars in a stand is a bug bare of mine especially when you pay £36.00 for a ticket. But what do you expect when the ground and more accurately the stand you sit in is of certain age?

Getting to the ground is no problem. Located to the south of the city along the M621 enables easy access from the motor way and the ground is a short bus ride from the city centre. Travelling by bus was certainly no chore, buses were plentiful and supporters were not waiting an age for a bus once the match had finished. Additional buses were also laid on to nearby Morley as well.

In respect to catering they were plenty of outlets throughout the ground. As a captive audience prices were expensive though efforts were made to promote packages (chocolate bar, drink and a pack of crisps). Patrons had a selection of refreshments though be warned beer is served extremely cold.

From a stadium used in Euro 1996 and housing one of the largest fan bases in England Elland Road is home to a sleeping giant. I hope the ground now owned by Leeds City Council can be used for more than Leeds United games so that Leeds don’t get into a situation like Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers who make an annual loss on their home. Once off the field battles are won I’m sure Leeds United and Elland Road will be back in the top tier of English football and Elland Road will be restored as a leading football ground.

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Do you want to dress like James Bond?

Chances are you’ve seen Skyfall but have you wondered where did he get that jacket, which brand shoes are they or who makes that? Well after a little research I can now tell you what James Bond has in his wardrobe and what he wore in Skyfall.

That Leather Jacket
The jacket is part of Levi’s Vintage clothing line and will be produced in limited quantities, only 30 pieces have be allocated to North America according to http://www.underfinishedman.com

The 1930’s James Bond Skyfall distressed leather jackets are made out of sheep skin and are produced in Italy. The jackets have a worn look to them and feature adjustable waist tabs and two front slash pockets. If you want to look like James Bond, it’s going to cost you; the jackets are priced at $900 each. Funny really because I was told in the Levi’s shop on Bond street London that the people who select the clothes for films actually picked it up in an end of season shop complex in the home counties.

James Bond's Levis Leather Jacket

Suits
Very crisp and very sharp, the match of Ford and Bond strikes for the second time. No matter what the scene or what the danger the perfectly fitting suit is a winner all round.
Tom Ford suit and shirt ideal for Bond in Skyfall

Shirts
Tom Ford shirt, with a tab collar, where the points are fastened together by a strip of material underneath the tie knot. First popular in the Twenties and favoured by the Duke of Windsor, the tab enjoyed its last revival in the Sixties before collar stiffeners became the norm for formal shirts. They say Selfridges in London is worth a look. But at £320 per shirt they doesn’t come cheap

Barbour Beacon Heritage Sports Jacket
Bond’s Barbour Beacon Heritage Sports Jacket – the result of a collaboration between the British brand and Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida. Made from 6oz sylkoil wax and featuring a removable hood and Barbour signature tartan lining, the jacket is sure to have you covered whether you’re being roughed up by the weather in town or by Javier Bardem in the Scottish Highlands. Probably about £400
Barbour jacket suits Bond on the set of Skyfall

The Watch
That’s right Omega supports Bond once again with this limited edition OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8507! The OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean

OMEGA watch ideal for Bond

 

To be truthful I could go on and on about what Bond wears though the best coverage I found was on James Bond Lifestyle – so why reinvent the wheel, take a look for yourselves

Chrismarsdenonlne the home of Chris Marsden who has specific interest in football stadiums, football stadia, and mens fashion brands.

Wembley Stadium – a stadium review. It’s big, it’s proud but tricks missed and that’s why it’s not perfect!

There aren’t many that would disagree that Wembley stadium is one of the biggest and finest football stadiums in the world. The home of English football has seen countless international matches, domestic and European finals, concerts and even American football matches however after visiting it a couple of times now ticks have been missed and to be honest I would have done things differently – mull this article over and tell me what you think?

First, like many I was very sad to see the old Wembley Stadium and the Twin towers being demolished, looking back at the old Wembley stadium it was very tired and needed serious tender loving care. I know the purpose of the towers would have been decretive but they were the icon of ‘Wembley Stadium’ and that of the home of football. Yes, the arc is bold and fresh but as a traditionalist I truly feel that the twin towers were something that should have retained. It’s like a moral step backwards, the decommissioning of Concorde and hopefully something we won’t rue to miss.

Having never visited the old Wembley stadium no one can tell me that access from the ground to the tube (Wembley Park) was worse than what I experienced walking down Millennium Way when England play Republic of Ireland especially now as Wembley stadiums capacity has been increased. There were simply far too many people walking down the road. I think it took me over one hour to walk two kilometres – joke!

Moreover, when travelling by bus the roads to the official car park are just too narrow and poky – just not fit for such an important national venue. It’s hard to believe that this was not sorted out prior to the redevelopment of the stadium. When travelling for the Montenegro game we all had to jump off the bus and run to the stadium due to the volume of traffic to the ground.

The first time I visited Wembley stadium I sat on the lower tier with no challenges what so ever to get to my seat. But ever since I’ve sat in the gods’ right up on tier 5 – entering through blocks L and M. Reaching such a vantage point was by one escalator travelling upwards whilst steps were the principle routine down. There were unnecessary cues and gatherings en route as you’d expect going up I just can’t get my head round why the use of spiral ramps similar to that of the San Siro and Edihad are not used. Access up and down is far easier and quicker especially in times of emergency.

My final grip about the stadium is centred on the shops and refreshment outlets dotted around the inside of the ground. It takes the whole of half time to get served, a classic case of either operating too slow or having too few outlets to feed the demand even though many of the England games were no means a sell out. Outside wasn’t much joy either £4.00 for a portion of chips or £20 to park your car in a neighbouring car park.

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Chrismarsdenonlne the home of Chris Marsden who has specific interest in football stadiums, football stadia, and mens fashion brands.

Chris Marsden’s Skyfall Review

He’s back, celebrating his fiftieth year. Skyfall is slick, it’s neat and it is very, very British and said to be the best Bond movie ever. For me finally the movie that explains the previous two which features Daniel Craig as the secret agent with license to kill. Skyfall introduces some of the characters that we all love and know with Bond. Maybe we forget that the Daniel Craig three are all suppose to be set before that of the infamous first Bond, Dr No.

For me Javier Bardem was not that chilling as a Bond villain even though his character was incredible tapped. The villain had to be one of MI6’s own. All the major conflicts and scenarios have been covered in the previous 21 Bonds films, what else is there to cover apart from the war on terror? I’m sure Daniel Craig will cover this in his next two films.

It was merely a question of time when computers and the grey side of the internet was to influence a Bond movie, shades of Die Hard 4 for me, a nut case having the power to pull the strings of world destruction at his finger tips and as I left the cinema one fellow viewer likened the finally to Home Alone.  I do see where he was coming from though I think he was missing the point really.

Chris Marsden Skyfall review

Skyfall poster

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The Bourne Legacy is no Legacy

If you’re a purist like me you would have never have dreamt that there would be yet another Bourne movie to grace the big screen. Like me you’d have scratched your head and thought how on earth are they going to do this? Would Matt Damon come back after jumping of a bridge after being mysteriously shot as he entered the Hudson river? Probably not, even this would be too farfetched. The only possible and plausible story would be that of a prequel and a youngster, maybe an unknown taking the lead.

I was shocked as it all became clear after reading the films tag line ‘you didn’t think there was only going to be one did you’ – it was explained! After thinking about it, of course there was going to be more than one super hot shot assassin that could do everything.

chris marsden blog bourne-legacy-advertising poster

Bourne Legacy poster

The movie was slow to get going, yes – the scene did need to be set and the story told how Aaron Cross is a more advance version of an efficient every day looking assassin. But for me the story has been spoilt and it’s as if the writers have opened up pandoras box of having yet more Bourne films just like the James Bond franchise where new more advance agents are on the quest to fulfil their remit and the CIA’s hidden agenda.

Many would argue this is a good thing, giving Bond a run for his money but unlike four Die Hard movies and three or four Missions that were supposed to be impossible Bond is in a league of his own, the motto here quite whilst you’re ahead. There’s only going to be three true Jason Bourne thrillers.

The movie is very good – excellent in it’s own right and standing on its own two feet but trying to pass it off as a Bourne film is just like the third and fourth terminator and the re make of the Italian Job – it just doesn’t work.

The home of Swedish football – it’s a pumped up Ajax Arena?

A cramed pack opening at the new home of Swedish football - The Friends Arena, Football Stadium, Stockholm - Chris Marsden

Chris Marsden’s stadium review on the new home of Sweden national football – the Friends Arena.

The first thing I thought when I heard that Sweden was to host England as their inarguable match to open their new state of the art stadium was – why England? Surely Spain, being World and European Champions, then why not Brazil and what about a neighbouring Scandinavia country; it does not make sense?

Located in the Solna region of Stockholm the new 50’100 all seated home of the Swedish national football team now rests. Sponsored by Swedbank (until 2013), the multipurpose venue modelled heavily on the Amsterdam arena with a blend of the Allianaz Arena (Munich) in terms a of a light weight lattice style shell that can change colour to reflect those of that perform their consists of 20’000 seats on the lower tier, 10’000 on the middle tier and a further 20’000 on the upper tier. The three tiered stadiums capacity can be further increased to 65’000 for concerts. Construction on Sweden’s own super stadium commenced in December 2009 to a cost of 300 million Euros which every local I spoke with moaned about being too expensive, (they should see the bill for the new Wembley stadium) was open by a concert consisting of a brace of Sweden’s very own premium artists.

The lattice constructed shell is reminiscent of the Allianz Arena in Munich and like the home of Bayern Munich the colour of the stadium can be changed to reflect those that perform their.

Welcome to the Friends Arena, Stockholm, Football Stadium - Chris Marsden

Welcome to the Friends Arena, Stockholm, Football Stadium – Chris Marsden

The origins of the name stems from the initial stadium name Swedbank Arena which was subsequently change to promote a not for profit organisation that campaigns against bullying. The non smoking and alcohol free stadium has four giant screens situated above the pitch and boasts 724 toilets in conjunction its own wifi network and plenty of fast food outlets around the concourse of the stadium which is the entry level to the ground.

The multipurpose venue houses four huge screens suspended above the pitch, a roof that can be closed given two hours notice and within 20 minute if it’s raining (unlike the one in Warsaw, Poland).

The Friends arena is the new home to the Swedish national football team relieving the old Rasunda stadium of the duty prior to it being demolished. From 2013 it will also be the new home to Stockholm based football team AIK. Hopefully the transportation to and from the ground will then be sorted as the mission for both sets of supported was all pretty stupid for the opening of a new national stadium. Those like me ended up walking a further 5 miles or so to Solna Centrum station. As a result signage needs to be drastically improved and throughout my walk I did not come across a designated car park in the heavily residential region of the capital.

So back to my first thoughts – only the English would travel to the opening of a new stadium. Premier and English football is celebrated in Scandinavia unlike other European leagues. Ireland by far the most extravagant national followers would have lead to a pointless and purely ceremonial match which did little to test and prepare either nation in the run up to the world cup in Brazil. In essence England was a safe bet.

Inside the Friends Arena Football Stadium - Chris Marsden

Inside the Friends Arena Football Stadium – Chris Marsden

Chrismarsdenonlne the home of Chris Marsden who has specific interest in football stadiums, football stadia, and mens fashion brands.

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Driving passed Poland’s National Stadium

Getting close up and personal with Poland’s national stadium was definitely an experience to savor after watching Poland’s second game against Russia in the city’s fan camp joined by what seemed like in excess of over 1 million people and then getting lost with a crazy local taxi driver aloud a close up drive past an amazing futuristic stadium that has landed along the river in the capital. People say it looks like a flying saucer and they are definitely not wrong.

Driving past the National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland

e Driving past the National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland

It’s stunning – amazing a giant lattice encapsulating the huge 50’000 capacity stadium (up to 72,900 during concerts and other events) in the colours of the nation’s national flag which many and I agree does look like a crown – fitting a national stadium that looks like a crown. Others including the official Euro 2012 programme describe the facade of the stadium like a waving Polish national flag which in a way embraces the history of the site of the stadium that of the former 10th-Anniversary Stadium.

As we all know this stadium played host to the opening game of Euro 2012 which was one of the six that the stadium hosted during the tournament including the tournament’s first semi final. My conclusion, a stadium definitely worthy of national stadium status!

Did you know –
The stadium took three years to construct between 2008 and November 2011?