Pride Park Stadium
Address: Pride Park,
Capacity: 33,597 (All-Seater)
A nice, well-balanced ground that’s perfectly fit for the modern game.
Opened in 1997, it has been the home of Derby County Football Club ever since. The Rams moved here from their historic Baseball Ground, where they had been for 102 years.
It took the name iPro Stadium for sponsorship reasons between 2013 and 2016 but has since reverted back to being known as Pride Park Stadium.
Location and Getting There
The name Pride Park comes from the industrial park that the ground is located within. It contains many different businesses including gymnasiums, car showrooms, hotels and restaurants. The River Derwent runs across the northern side of Pride Park and comes down along the east side, running near to Pride Park Stadium’s eastern side. Derby City Centre is around 1.5 miles northwest of the ground.
Because of its good location, Pride Park Stadium is accessible by car or public transport, though you might find it difficult to park for free within the industrial park.
I had to go down into Wilmorton, south of the stadium, to find parking that was fairly priced, but you may have luck elsewhere.
The closest train station is Derby Midland, around 15 minutes walk west of the stadium.
There is also a Park & Ride bus service that can take you from Derby Midland to Pride Park Stadium, dropping you off on the north side of the ground.
Outside the Stadium
The stadium's exterior has a cantilever roof that runs the whole way around, and all the stands below the roof follow a very similar-looking design.
The North Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the Smith Cooper North Stand and is the closest to Derwent Road. It is the first stand fans will come to if they get off at the aforementioned Park and Ride stop.
The turnstiles here run along the base of the stand, which has a brickwork design to it. The upper levels leading to the roof are made of metal, and there are advertising boards hung up between the gaps in the cantilever roof.
Over towards the northeast corner is a Greggs, one of the UK’s leading bakery chains. This is open during normal hours in the week and closes early at the weekend. It is not however open in the build-up to, during, or after a game at Pride Park Stadium.
The DCFC Megastore is next door, and much like the Smith Cooper North Stand there are advertising boards positioned above it.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand, known for sponsorship reasons as the MarathonBet East Stand.
It is a near exact replica of the adjacent Smith Cooper North Stand. The main difference comes with what can be found out beyond the stand itself.
There are a couple of rows of parking close by, and out beyond there is a DW Sports Store that also holds a trampoline park and several 5-a-side pitches. Food is available from the Subway or Frankie & Benny’s nearby, but Derby County will always have plenty of food trucks open for business around the stadium’s exterior to choose from as well.
There is a lot of parking in front of the DW Sports Store but this cannot be used on a matchday.
The main bulk of the South Stand continues the exterior design, with turnstiles spread across the brickwork base, but once you reach the southwest corner things look different.
The roof slants up because the adjacent West Stand is larger than the rest of the ground, and the southwest corner also protrudes out further than the rest of the South Stand. The West Stand itself is known for sponsorship reasons as the Toyota West Stand,
Entrances into the Gordon Guthrie Stand, named after Derby County’s longest-serving staff member who spent more than 60 years with the Rams, can be found here underneath the array of large white panels and the cantilever roof. The stand encompasses Pride Park's southwest corner.
The Toyota West Stand is the largest of the four main stands due to it having a higher-up roof than the rest of the stadium.
The main entrance and reception is located in the centre of the stand, which is made up of a silver façade that protrudes out, and has a large glass pane at the front. The Toyota West Stand is easily the best-looking of part of Pride Park’s exterior with a very sleek and modern design.
Out beyond the stand is the main car park. Parking here normally of course comes with a hefty price, but on the occasions when Derby County’s youth teams play at Pride Park, you can park here for free.
The northwest corner is known as the Derby College Northwest corner and has entrances to the Dave MacKay and Igor’s hospitality areas.
The club’s Main Ticket Office can be found on the exterior, and there is a coffee shop called The BackYard here. Like the Greggs bakery shop over by the northeast corner, this is not open in the build-up to matchdays.
Out beyond the Derby College Northwest corner is a statue of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor holding the Football League First Division Trophy.
Brian Clough was born in Middlesbrough on 21st March 1935. A prolific striker with Middlesbrough and Sunderland, his career was cut short at 29 through injury and he moved into management. He would become Derby County manager in 1967 after leaving Hartlepools United, taking charge of a team that had been rooted in the Second Division for years. He would guide them to the Second Division Title in 1969, and three years later guided Derby to the First Division Title in 1972.
Hugely admired and considered one of the greatest English managers of all time, Clough passed away on 20th September 2004 at the age of 69.
Peter Taylor was born in Nottingham on 2nd July 1928. After a playing career as a goalkeeper that included spells with Coventry City and Middlesbrough, he began his managerial career at Burton Albion in the early 1960s. In 1965, he would walk about on Burton Albion to become Brian Clough's assistant at Hartlepools United.
What the move began was a long partnership between Clough and Taylor which involved time at Hartlepool, Derby County, briefly Brighton and Hove Albion, and Nottingham Forest. Taylor would also return on his own to Derby County as manager between 1982 and 1984.
He passed away on 4th October 1990 at the age of 62.
The statue of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor has been at Pride Park since August 2010.
Inside the Stadium
The Smith Cooper North Stand is made up of two tiers, with the upper tier much larger than the lower tier.
Despite the roof slanting upwards as it nears the northwest corner, the very back row remains at a constant height all the way along the stand. The letters DERBY are spelt out in block white writing along the upper tier. The two front rows and the two back rows are also made up of yellow seating as opposed to the more common black seating that you find inside here.
The cantilever roof at the top of the stand means that there are no supporting pillars coming down and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear.
The two-tiered format continues around the conjoining northeast corner and the MarathonBet East Stand, though this is much larger than the Smith Cooper North Stand since it runs along the length of the pitch. The letters THE RAMS are spelt out in white along the upper tier, and at the back of the stand is the club’s press box.
The two back rows and the two front rows of this stand are once again made up of yellow seating, and your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof at the top.
The South Stand and Southeast corner are exact carbon copies of the Smith Cooper North Stand and the Northeast corner.
Both continue the two-tiered design, with the letters DERBY spelt out in white along the upper tier and yellow seating making up the front two and back two rows.
Your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside here as well because of the cantilever roof at the top.
The Toyota Stand is the tallest of the four main stands.
It is still made up of two tiers but each one is split into two sections, with a row of executive boxes, known as the Toyota Suites, separating the upper tier from the lower tier. The club’s Premier Member seating is located at the front of the upper tier, and right at the very back is the mezzanine that holds the matchday camera.
Derby County’s dugouts, changing rooms and tunnel are also in the Toyota West Stand.
Once again, the very front rows and very back rows of the Toyota West Stand are coloured yellow rather than black, and your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside because of the cantilever roof on top.
The Gordon Guthrie Southwest corner has the same layout as the Toyota West Stand, with the pedigree suite dividing the two tiers.
At the other side however in the Derby College Northwest corner, most of the stand is taken up by the Dave MacKay and Igor’s hospitality suites. There are only a few blocks of seating available down by the pitch.
Your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside these sections.
Away fans are housed in the Southeast corner.
Depending on the allocation, a few blocks of either tier can be used or the entire corner can be taken up by travelling supporters. Derby County use sheets and stewards to segregate this section from the home fans in both the adjacent South Stand and MarathonBet East Stand.
Views from the away section of the stadium are perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Brunswick Inn (1 Railway Terrace, DE1 2RU) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-Harvester Pride Park (Roundhouse Road, DE24 8JE) (Sometimes Away Supporters Only)
-The Navigation Inn (805 London Road, DE24 8UU) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Station Inn (Midland Road, DE1 2SN) (Located near Derby Station)
*Pride Park's location limits the amount of pubs within close range of it. Heading more towards Central Derby can be the recommendation for finding a drink.
The balance of Pride Park Stadium is what makes it so good for football.
The northern, eastern and southern sides of the ground form a continuous two-tiered band that gives you a great view of the action no matter where you are sat, and the west side of the stadium offers an equally good view of the game with plenty of hospitality suites available for executives.
With plenty of different ways to get here and plenty of food available even before you make your way inside, this is a top class football ground.