If you are passionate about football, you cannot fail to appreciate the Premier League, the English league: beyond the quality of the players and the strength of the teams, which – considering the rivalry of the Spanish Liga and the increasingly fierce German Bundesliga – is quite fluctuating. , the oldest championship in the world has always been characterized by an atmosphere and a side that are unique. Suffice it to think, for example, of the stadiums, which, especially after the crackdown imposed on hooligans in the 1980s, have become almost living rooms, where players play closely with fans, and these often and willingly grant surprising examples of sporting fair play.
We have learned to know some of these stadiums first in the various European competitions and then thanks to the pay-TV, which broadcast the Premier League matches every weekend. But which are the most beautiful and prestigious? Which ones, perhaps during a trip to England, a true enthusiast cannot fail to visit?
Considering the architectural beauty, the quality of the services provided, and why not, even a bit of the history of the various systems, we have compiled a list of five unmissable English stadiums: here it is.
If you have to start from a made in England stadium, you can’t help but start with Wembley, which is historically the most important stadium in the whole nation.
But the current Wembley is not what has long been famous as – according to a definition by Pele, certainly not the latest arrival – the “cathedral of football”.
That stadium, erected in 1923 and distinguished by two famous twin towers, was in fact demolished in 2003 and replaced by the new Wembley, inaugurated in 2007 for an impressive cost of about 918 million euros – according to a project by Foster + Partners and the Americans. Populus – which makes it the most expensive stadium in the world after Yankee Stadium in New York.
Capable of offering 90,000 seats, it is the second-largest stadium in Europe after the Camp Nou in Barcelona. It regularly hosts football and rugby events, but also athletics events and especially rock concerts, as was already the case for its predecessor.
An arch that flies over London
And if the two towers were the symbol of the old Wembley, here the symbolic aspect is guaranteed by the steel arch that flies over the main grandstand and which is visible from practically every raised point in London.
Among the most important events hosted so far are the Live Earth, the concert of Madonna in 2008 and Take That in 2009, and above all the Champions League finals of 2011 (with Barcelona victorious over Manchester United) and 2013 (with Bayern who defeated compatriots of Borussia Dortmund).
2. Emirates Stadium
Another very modern stadium is the Emirates, the London field where Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal has been playing for some years. Also, in this case, the construction of the new facility involved the demolition of a piece of football history of the English capital.
The stadium, which has a capacity of more than 60 thousand seats and cost about 530 million euros, has in fact taken the place of Highbury, a decò-style facility that dates back to 1913 but to which epic triumphs were linked to both gunners that of the national team of the three lions.
In this sense, the so-called “Battle of Highbury” is famous, that is the match that Italy and England played in that stadium in 1934.
The Emirates, named after the airline that grabbed the sponsorship rights, is a facility designed by HOK Sports and is the second largest in the Premier League.
A beautiful and rich stadium for Arsenal
It is a stadium owned, as is always the case in England, and precisely to build it Arsenal has engaged for many years in low sign-up campaigns, given that they had to save to pay for the stadium.
Now, however, the structure promises to recover costs through a series of synergies and related services – shops, internal restaurant, international partnerships (here Brazil, for example, plays its European friendlies) – which also go far beyond football and they did not fail to fascinate and also interest some administrators of our local teams.
3. Old Trafford
If Emirates is the second-largest stadium in the Premier, the first is Old Trafford, the prestigious Manchester venue that boasts nearly 76,000 seats and allows us to shift the focus of our analysis outside of London and in particular towards the north of the country.
The stadium is owned by Manchester United, the most successful city team (and the entire league) thanks to 20 national championships on the bulletin board and 3 Champions League.
In the city, however, there is another very beautiful stadium, which has not finished in our five just because it has been beaten on the wire by other more historic facilities: we are talking about the City of Manchester Stadium, the facility – better known as Etihad – in which Manchester City plays.
Inaugurated in 1910, the Old Trafford is built on the basis of a project by the Scottish Archibald Leitch, who is considered the father of English plants, being responsible for many structures built at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
His are, for example, Ibrox and Celtic Park in Glasgow, the aforementioned Highbury, Craven Cottage, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane in London, Villa Park in Birmingham, the beautiful Molineux in Wolverhampton and Goodison Park and Anfield in Liverpool. (a stage which we will return to shortly).
Manchester United’s dream theater
The Old Trafford is nicknamed The Theater of Dreams (the theater of dreams) thanks to a lucky definition by Bobby Charlton and also houses some famous statues at the entrance that you can see in the images.
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The three figures close to each other are those of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton himself, in front of which stands the statue of Sir Matt Busby, the historic coach of the team in the 40s, 50s and ‘ 60.
In addition, since 2012 in the perimeter of the stadium there is also the statue dedicated to Sir Alex Ferguson, coach of great successes in his 27 years at the helm of the club.
Not particularly beautiful, perhaps, from a purely architectural point of view but certainly the “hottest” and one of the most memorable English stadiums is the Anfield stadium in Liverpool.
Built-in 1884, it was, as mentioned, one of the very first projects on English soil by the Scottish Archibald Leitch, although for the first eight years it hosted the competitions not of the reds of Liverpool – a team that had yet to be founded – but of the cousin’s citizens of the Everton, the oldest and at that time prestigious team in the port city.
When, in 1892, Everton for various reasons decided to build a new stadium in Goodison Park, the owner of the Anfield field, John Houlding, who did not want to leave his facility vacant, decided to found a new team, soon christened Liverpool. FC
Since then, the history of the reds and Anfield has continued hand in hand, with the stadium that accompanied the golden periods of the early twentieth century, the 60s and especially the 70s and 80s, when the team managed 11 league titles in 20 years, as well as 4 English Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 UEFA Cups and 4 European Cups.
The Kop and You’ll Never Walk Alone stadium
Anfield, however, is known above all for its fans: the famous Kop, a curve that takes its name from a South African hill where a bloody battle was fought during the Anglo-Boer War (battle in which many Liverpool boys died) and who is famous for the choirs he sings to his team, especially the anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The song actually comes from an American musical ( Carousel ), but it became famous in England in 1963 when a group from Liverpool, Gerry, and the Pacemakers, made a successful cover.
5. St. James’ Park
We conclude with perhaps the most northerly and perhaps oldest stadium in England, at least among those of a certain prestige: the St. James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, a stadium built in 1880 and which today, after the obvious alterations that are over the years, it can seat more than 52,000 spectators.
There are many aspects that make the structure noteworthy: for example, it is the only important stadium in England to be housed in the city center, also given its very ancient origin.
For this reason, it is also one of the stadiums that presents the greatest slope of the stands (which had to develop in height without the possibility of widening the system too much), so much so that it can easily cause a sense of vertigo to the spectator – and from here also derive the nicknames of Paradiso, Castello, and Vertigine.
Newcastle’s asymmetrical stadium
Furthermore, just as an effect of this desire to expand without being able to do so in the city center, the stadium also has characteristic asymmetrical stands, which is made evident by aerial photographs and by the very particular coverage, higher in some parts and lower in others.
In addition to Newcastle’s matches and rugby events, the stadium also often hosts major concerts and has been used as a set for many films and television programs (as well as British Big Brother and auditions for the local version of X-Factor ).