I’ve been to many football stadiums in my time. All over Britain. All over Europe! And this is great, as, not only is it fulfilling an important pastime of mine, it’s also allowed me to travel and experience some of the greatest buildings on the planet. Well, in my opinion anyway.
So, let’s have a look at some of the stadiums I’ve been to, why they’re great, and where you can find them.
Ibrox Stadium, Celtic Park and Hampden Park – Glasgow
I’ll kick things off at home. Glasgow is home to one of the greatest football rivalries the game has ever known. The Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers. Both clubs have an absolutely massive fan base, and in order to keep these fans happy, they needed top of the line stadiums.
Ibrox Stadium was built in 1899 and has a capacity of 50,987 making it the tenth largest football stadium in Britain. Home to Rangers, the stadium is reflective of the team’s blue kit with a lovely red sandstone exterior.
Rangers’ greatest rivals Celtic are across the city in the Parkhead area of the city. Celtic fans call Celtic Park ‘Paradise’ as they watch the boys in the green and white hoops play the games. Used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Celtic Park has a capacity of 60,411 and is the 4th largest football stadium in Britain.
The Scottish National Team play their games at Hampden Park, which is a little larger than Ibrox Stadium with a capacity of 51,866. Possibly the loudest stadium in Glasgow with the famous ‘Hampden Roar’ you hear coming from the Scotland fans, who are suitably called The Tartan Army.
A great footballing city, with some of the best, and oldest stadiums in the UK. You’ll definitely have your fill of footballing history when you’re passing through Glasgow.
Old Trafford and The Etihad Stadium – Manchester
An old rivalry with a renewed intensity, Manchester is home to two of the greatest football stadiums no just in the UK, but in the world.
Old Trafford is another historical site, with many instances of the world watching on. There’s been a lot of impressive success from that stadium in the past, and even more impressive names. You can even keep your fingers cross that you might bump into one of them if you’re ever on the famous Old Trafford Tour. The stadium boasts the title of largest in Britain for club football, with 75,731 seats for watching the Red Devils.
The Etihad is different from Old Trafford, with it not having much of a history with it being relatively new, but still enjoying the many benefits of being a new, modern stadium. Originally known as The City of Manchester Stadium when erected in 2002 has a flat capacity of 60,000, but changed to The Etihad Stadium after the club’s current owners took over. The club can flaunt one of the newest and impressive stadiums in Europe, and with the team becoming strong as time goes on, this would’ve been needed regardless. They can also boast that their stadium is actually the only stadium technically in Manchester, with Old Trafford being situated in Salford. This was made into a very public joke when City signed Carlos Tevez from their great rivals, and erected a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ sign outside their stadium.
Two great stadiums, two great football teams, one great city.
Anfield and Goodison Park – Liverpool
Another great rivalry, another great city, another two fantastic stadiums. Liverpool is home to Liverpool FC (funnily enough) and Everton FC. The Reds and The Blues.
We’ll start with Anfield as it is the oldest stadium, being built in 1884. Though, what all Liverpool fans won’t want me reminding you is that Everton FC were the original inhabitants of the stadium, playing there from 1884 to 1892 when present occupiers Liverpool moved in.
Another stadium with a great history, many trophies have are proudly displayed in the fantastic trophy room, which you can see as part of the Anfield tour. Having undergone expansions in recent years, the stadium currently sits at 58,000, making it the 7th largest stadium in the UK. It’s home to one of the most famous stands in world football, The KOP, which is one of the end sections of the stadium, and by far the loudest.
In the blue end of the city, you’ll find Goodison Park – home of Everton FC. And it has been their home since they vacated Anfield. Not as large as the others mentioned here, with a capacity of 40.394, but still larger than most and certainly one of the most charming.
Despite not having won a trophy in, well, a long time, Everton fans are some of the most passionate and dedicated in the country, and this is certainly noticeable at home games. A sea of blue around the stadium, with songs ringing in your ears. The atmosphere is incredible, and one that you won’t forget.
As a footballing nation, wherever you are in Britain, you’re sure to find a football stadium full of history, fervent fans, and charm. It’s one of the country’s best attributes, and one that I hope sticks.