Most of the world’s biggest football clubs have already moved to flashy new stadiums or, at least, are planning to do so in the coming years. While these new grounds might offer incredible views and fantastic facilities, one common criticism, especially with clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal, is that the new stadiums lack atmosphere. From that perspective there is no substitute for an old football stadium and the UK has some of the oldest football stadiums in the world. So what are the ten oldest?
Ten oldest football stadiums in the UK
- Anfield, Liverpool (Built; 1884)
One of the most iconic venues in English football, Anfield has seen almost all of the greatest players in the game play on its famous turf at least once in their careers. Built in 1884, Anfield’s presence on Merseyside is a key part of Liverpool’s identity and the character of “The Kop” makes for one of the fiercest atmospheres anywhere in world football. A truly legendary stadium built for one of the giants in world football.
- Turf Moor, Burnley (Built: 1883)
Ninth on our list of the oldest football stadiums and one of many terraced stadiums built in the Victorian football boom, Turf Moor still retains many of its originals charms from the 1800s. Built originally to support a nearby cricket club, the ground evolved into one of Lancashire’s busiest stadiums which grew with Burnley FC over the years. It also bares a unique record of being the first British stadium to host a royal visit when Prince Albert watched a friendly between Burnley and Bolton in 1888.
- Ewood Park, Blackburn (Built: 1882)
Ewood Park has seen several redesigns since it was first erected as Ewood Bridge back in 1882 but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a popular landmark in the North-West of England. It was relatively dormant for the first few years of its lifespan but the arrival of Blackburn Rovers in 1890 cemented its place as a permanent fixture in English football. Despite having been completely reconstructed in 1992, the same pitch is still featured as those who played in the 1890s and their Premier League triumph of the 1994/95 season will ensure that Ewood Park has a place in English football history.
- Deepdale, Preston (Built: 1878)
Some historians claim Deepdale to be the oldest active stadium in the world having been built to host Preston North End – one of the first professional teams in English football. The stadium has been active ever since with little change over its 150-year lifespan. Its terraced seating makes for a cosy atmosphere which is always filled with buzzing locals still eager to support PNE’s never-ending big to finally make it to the Premier League
- Rodney Parade, Newport (Built: 1877)
One of the oldest multi-functional sporting venues in Europe, it’s surprising to think that Rodney Parade hasn’t got a bigger reputation. The stadium is best known for hosting the Pro14 Rugby side Newport Dragons however it also happens to be the regular home ground of Newport County FC. The Welsh stadium may not boast many of the cutting-edge features of many other stadiums but with a calendar comprising of football, rugby union and even squash, you will hard-pressed to find a more active stadium.
- Stamford Bridge, Chelsea (Built:1877)
Originally designed as an oval to host both football and athletics, Stamford Bridge has been transformed over its entire lifespan. The arrival of Chelsea FC in 1905 and the stadium has continued to expand along with the club’s profile. As the club grew into a prominent English giant, the ground was expanded to its current 42,500 capacity in the early 1990s. With further plans in the pipeline to expand it further into a 60,000 stadium by the end of the 2020s, Stamford Bridge looks set to retains its rich history for a long time to come and is fifth on our list of the UK’s oldest football stadiums.
- Tannadice Park, Dundee (Built: 1870)
The oldest stadium in Scotland, Tannadice Park has always maintained a low profile which is rich in character. The original pitch was erected in Dundee in 1870 before the city expanded around the Tay Firth as part of the Industrial Revolution. Its narrow stands have never exceeded a capacity of 30,000 and maintains a simple yet vibrant charm that many newer stadiums lack today.
- Field Mill, Mansfield (Built:1861)
Originally built next to a local mill, Field Mill has become one of the oldest football stadiums in England having hosted its first official match in 1861. Situated in the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield, the stadium is a popular venue with many local fans. It has bizarre notoriety as it once illegally held a pop concert organized by then-owner Keith Haslam exceeding its capacity limit of 10,000 fans. Since then, the local council has restricted Field Mill’s use to strictly sporting contests for several decades with the ruling expiring in 2032.
- Bramall Lane, Sheffield (Built: 1855)
There are few stadiums anywhere in England that have the same history and feel as Bramall Lane. Despite several redeveloped stands over its lifespan, the home of Sheffield United is always heaving with passionate supporters keen to cheer on their fans in their version of “The Kop”. Bramall Lane has a vivacious history with several landmark moments having hosted the first football final, the first floodlit match and just one of two stadiums (with the Kennington Oval) to host an England match for football, rugby and cricket.
- The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham (Built:1801)
Originally developed as a venue for horse racing, The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham is one of the oldest football stadiums, or sporting venues in general, anywhere in Europe. It didn’t start hosting football until 1864 but it has maintained its quaint charm and atmosphere throughout its 200-year existence. With Wales still occasionally using the venue for international matches, the venue in North Wales is now considered to be the oldest stadium in the world capable of hosting an international competition.
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