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Gillingham - Priestfield Stadium

In 2004, Gillingham – and presumably the town's stadium – gained the dubious distinction of being labelled "the biggest dump in English football" by a survey commissioned by The Observer newspaper.

NAME: Priestfield Stadium

Capacity: 11,582

Record Attendance: 23,002 v QPR in January 1948

Distance from Elland Road: 223 miles

Year ground opened: 1893

United's last visit: August 10, 2004

Beating Luton's Kenilworth Road and Rotherham's Millmoor to the first rung of a humiliating ladder, the review of a location which, in the words of one fan, "never fails to live down to expectations" was unbridled and scathing.

The ground was described as resembling a 1970s garage forecourt, but the club's defence was that the criticism reflected the state of the town as a whole, rather than their home.

The argument is a valid one, and Leeds United will grace less attractive arenas before their first season in League One is out.

Aside from the Brian Moore Stand – named after the late ITV commentator and lifelong Gillingham supporter – the stadium is surrounded by three permanent structures, including the Medway Stand with two tiers.

In keeping with so many modern grounds, Gillingham's home is now officially known as the KRBS Priestfield Stadium following a sponsorship deal struck with Kent Reliance Building Society in March. The agreement is thought to be worth 120,000 to the Kent club.

Much of the work to improve the stadium has been financed since Paul Scally became chairman of the club in 1995, but the Brian Moore Stand has never reached completion despite plans to house 3,200 spectators there, and temporary seating continues to occupy one end of the ground.

The delay – one which may in time become permanent – has been caused by a combination of financial issues and discussions over the possibility of relocating Gillingham to a newly-constructed stadium.

Up to 1,500 Leeds United fans will be held in the Brian Moore Stand, which is uncovered and among the least welcoming of venues during the winter.

Their chances of benefiting from more favourable weather will be aided by the fact that Leeds are due to visit Kent on September 29.

The journey is another gruelling run for United's supporters, and a round trip of more than 440 miles from Leeds and back.

To complicate matters, train journeys from Leeds City Station involve two changes and an underground ride between London Kings Cross and London Victoria, a four-hour battle door-to-door.

Priestfield is one of eight League One stadiums which lies more than 200 miles away from Elland Road, an indication of how far and wide Leeds' fans will have to travel next season.

 
 
 

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