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You could be forgiven for thinking that the doorway to UK sport hinges on London and Manchester. But don’t worry, all is not lost, there is another contender. Sometimes battered and bruised, and often forgotten, but you’re in the 4th biggest city in the country: Leeds, sport city.

Football
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leven years ago you could have gone to see Leeds play Champions League football. You’ll have to make do with the Championship for now at least, but one thing is for sure, there’ll be no one refusing to warm up, and absolutely no snoods. Leeds always seem to find themselves fighting for a play-off position, so in that sense, every game is equally important. Dan Moylan, editor of The Square Ball fanzine, said: “I’d recommend the last home game of the season at Elland Road, which always enjoys a big turnout and a great atmosphere, or if there’s a home cup draw against a major Premier League team I’d recommend that – big games under the floodlights are special.” Going to see games against the Premier League relegates would certainly provide enhanced entertainment and atmosphere for a neutral. So this year look out for fixtures against Blackpool, West Ham, and Birmingham City. Elland Road is located in Beeston, South Leeds. The best way to get there on match day is by using the match day bus. It’s £2.50 for a return, and it picks up and drops off outside Silks Gentlemens Lounge, just under the Railway station. Alternatively, the Number 1 bus can be caught in Headingley or on Park Row, which will take you down to Beeston.

England v USA 2010 - One of the many games the Lions should have won

Sadly, you are unlikely to get an adult ticket for less than £30, maybe 29 if you’re lucky, and they can be anywhere up to £40. The cheaper ticket prices for league games are in the North Stand. You’ll save a bit more by buying a restricted view ticket. This means you’ll have a concrete pillar in front of your face, but in the North stand everyone stands up and rarely sticks to their seating positions anyway. To really save money, going to an early round Cup game is your cheapest option. Look out for lower league sides, but be warned, attendance will be poor.

As well as the Lady boys of Bangkok, Millennium Square is also a great place to go and watch sport. Every two years England take part in a major competition, and why not go and get your heart broken along with hundreds of others while watching a probably dire performance on the big screen. Entry is free and beer isn’t two expensive; £3.50 for a large plastic bottle of larger. But before you think you can just go to the Cuthbert Broderick and watch the game, they put a big screen up so you can’t see. But when the summer sun is shining there really is no better feeling.

“Please keep off the pitch” Leeds United promotion 2010.

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tudents living in Headingley should count themselves very lucky that there is an international Cricke ground on their doorstep. Headingley took a sporting and financial battering when it was recently announced that it would not host any test matches in 2013 or 2015, but don’t let that put you off. The best fixture you can see is a T20 Roses derby between Yorkshire and Lancashire. This will provide by far the tastiest atmosphere and a rivalry like no other. Twenty20 is a form of the game that is much more about big hitting and high scoring, also, it only lasts an evening rather than what can seem like weeks. International tickets can be around £45, but domestic fixturescan be as low as £15. In some cases you can even take your own alcohol in to the ground (max 4 cans pp) but check in advance so you don’t waste precious beer. Fancy Dress is a common theme, and booze and banter will always flow freely. Just before a Roses clash, it’s worth looking out for the RAF parachuting into the stadium in a rotating spiral, it’s quite spectacular. Dan Moylan said: “I can thoroughly recommend an afternoon on the Western Terrace watching test cricket at Headingley. It is something to behold, although you probably won’t remember much about it come the morning after!”

RAF Falcons display before T20 Roses derby

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League
If that wasn’t enough, then Elland Road has also been chosen to stage the Rugby Four Nations Final on Saturday 19th November, tickets for which can be as low as £20. Headingley has also been chosen as the venue for the 2012 World Club Challenge, which could be last to hosted in the UK! On a slightly lower level, you could go and see the Hunslet Hawks at the John Charles stadium in Leeds. The Hawks narrowly missed out to playing in Super League, and adult tickets are £16.

he Leeds Rhino’s were recently hailed the most successful rugby league club in history, with five Super League titles and 11 Challenge Cups. The Rhino’s play at Headingley stadium, and ticket prices are arond £25. The beauty of League being a Northern sport is that there are so many teams in close quarters - half of Super League is in Yorkshire. Dan Moylan said: “For a truly northern experience, I’d urge you to go and watch the Leeds Rhinos against Bradford Bulls up at Headingley.”

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Union
take on Leeds Metropolitan to be crowned Champions of Leeds, as well as bragging rights for the year. This is usually an October fixture, tickets for the event are priced at £7 and can be purchased from the SU at either university. Leeds Corinthians are an amateur Union side based in Middleton, South Leeds, and are free to watch.

eeds Carnegie, formerly the Leeds Tykes, are often overshadowed by the success of the Rhinos. But for as little as £10, especially if you’re from the Union regions of the South, you can go and see some quality rugby at the Headingley stadium. Another popular Union event is the Leeds Varsity game. Played every year at Headingley, the University of Leeds

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he arrival of the Oreo onto our supermarket shelves was clear evidence of our ever strengthening “special relationship”.

American Football

people that watch us regularly, and you get to know people.” “You get to experience the hits and the sounds and the passion of it all more directly. What you get in the British sport that you don’t really get in the Pro sport is the camaraderie and the togetherness, it can be up to 40 or 50 guys all working towards one goal and you’re only as strong as your weakest link, It’s a real team sport.” If Adam could recomend any fixture to watch, it would be local rivals Doncaster Mustangs, “it’s always a good hard hitt i n g game, the battle for Yorkshire.” The Rams also encourage potential players to get in touch, adding, “90% of this sport is about attitude, we’ve got guys who are ten stone and guys who are 25 stone, guys who are 6, 10 and guys who are 5, 6, because there are so many different roles on an Americ a n foot-

Another trans-Atlantic import, American Football, is growing in popularity. Believe it or not, there are three teams based in Leeds: Leeds Celtics (University of Leeds), Leeds Carnegie (Leeds Met), and the Yorkshire Rams. The Rams play in Division 1 North, of the British American Football League. Adam Lilley, General Manager of The Rams said: “Altogether in the country there’s about 50 adult teams, around 70 Uni v ers i t y teams, a n d roughly 30 or 40 youth teams.” The Yorkshire Rams

play f i v e h o m e games a season at the Leeds Corinthians ground in Middleton, and best of all, they’re free to watch. “We offer something different, something you wouldn’t usually see. It’s quite a friendly atmosphere, there’s a few

ball team.”

Rams v Mustangs - Stacey Galloway Photography

Dan Moylan said: “I was lucky enough to witness my football team become champions of England. That’s something that’ll stay with me forever and I hope that one day I can witness it again. Legend has it that 200,000 people turned out for the civic reception that was held for the team after clinching the title, and I’ll always remember being among the throng on the Headrow, singing songs to my heroes.” Sport can make you laugh, cheer, hug complete strangers, tear your hair out, and cry like you haven’t since Mufasa died, and Leeds is the perfect place to witness it all.