Every devoted football fan has his or her favourite stadiums. But which stadiums are the most significant in the history of English football? Here are five historic stadiums that were instrumental in developing the sport into what it is today.
Since its inception in 1863, football has evolved into one of the most famous sports in the world. Its popularity has spilled over into the online gaming realm and has even inspired football-themed slot games at online casinos in the UK. But before this came to be, the excitement of the game was confined to the terraces.
Home to Preston North End football club, Deepdale Stadium is widely regarded as the oldest continuously used football stadium in the world. However, that accolade is contested by some. For instance, Bramall Lane Stadium in Sheffield was constructed in 1855, 20 years earlier than Deepdale. Only, Bramall Lane was originally a cricket ground and not a football stadium, so Deepdale is still considered to hold the title. Regardless, both stadiums are two of the oldest on the planet. They also demonstrate that, although modern football’s origins came from London, it was England’s industrial north that created the very first football stadiums. New stands have now replaced Deepdale’s four original stands. Its capacity is currently 24,500, which is less than half of the site’s original capacity. Back in the day of its standing terraces, Deepdale could accommodate 53,000 fans.
Old Trafford Stadium
Manchester United are known all over the world, so it comes as no surprise to find Old Trafford amongst this list of significant stadiums in English football history. Built-in 1910, Old Trafford has seen many unbelievable moments in football over the years. The site itself suffered extensive bomb damage in World War II, which led to it becoming closed for some time. A decade later, the Munich air tragedy struck, so it’s remarkable that Man United have picked themselves up to become the giants of football that they are today. With a current capacity of 75,731, Old Trafford has hosted significant events like Euro 1996 and the 2003 Champions League final.
Highfield Road Stadium
Football fans are still nostalgic about Highfield Road Stadium, which was demolished in 2006 and replaced with a rather ugly housing estate. Home to Coventry City FC, Highfield Road was built in 1889 and had a capacity of 23,489. It made a significant contribution to English football in 1981 by becoming the very first stadium to convert from standing terraces to an all-seater stadium. However, the all-seater concept didn’t go down well with fans. Hooligans ripped out hundreds of the seats to use as missiles, just a few months after the installation of the seats. Times have changed though. After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, all-seater football stadiums became compulsory for all major United Kingdom clubs.
White City Stadium
Built-in 1906, with an incredible capacity of 150,000, White City Stadium in London was twice the size of Old Trafford and the largest stadium in the world for many years. Characteristic of the work ethic of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, White City was constructed in only ten months. It was initially built to host the 1908 Olympic Games. It went on to host sporting events like cycling, athletics, swimming and, of course, football. However, its diverse range of uses was a contributing factor to this mighty stadium’s decline. It was less and less used, and when Wembley stadium opened, it was the final nail in White City’s coffin. The stadium finally became demolished in 1986. Although there are no physical traces of the building left, its legacy is still strong. The world’s first modern multi-purpose, multi-seater stadium is a template that has been used ever since in building football stadiums around the world.
With a capacity of 82,000, the new Wembley Stadium in London opened in 2007. It stands on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which became demolished in 2003. Both stadiums have seen the dramatic wins and losses of England over the years. The original stadium, which opened in 1923 is, of course, most famous for hosting the World Cup in 1966. As every English footie fan knows, that was the only year England won the World Cup, when they defeated their bitter enemies West Germany 4-2. The game has been remembered ever since and is one of the most significant sporting events in the history of English football.