It’s that time of the year again, the most popular league in all of football is starting back up again and with it, comes twenty stadiums being brought into the limelight during the season. Some are old, some are new but all are different, which makes ranking the 2022/23 Premier League admittedly a lot of fun!
20. Vitality Stadium – AFC Bournemouth
At 11,364, Vitality is the smallest stadium in the Premier League by a considerable distance, Bournemouth has kept their home since 1910 at a small size despite the riches of spending six of the last seven seasons in the top flight. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the stadium, it’s simply too small to have any higher on this list.
T19. King Power Stadium – Leicester City & St Mary’s Stadium – Southampton
The King Power Stadium was completed in 2002, and St. Mary’s was completed in 2000. Both stadiums look very similar with their bowl-esque on-tier design with the only notable differences being the red and blue colour schemes. It says more about the era of stadium design than it does to the clubs today. Both stadiums are, unfortunately, uninspiring and generic looking, and ultimately, I feel they both deserved a tie for nineteenth.
17. Selhurst Park – Crystal Palace
Selhurst Park is home to one of the loudest atmospheres in England, but the stadium itself is really showing its age. It’s not necessary that it’s old, a lot of stadiums in England can be traced back to the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century. There’s a lot of competition on this list, and with it still having pillars, the strange-looking Whitehorse Lane Stand with its small capacity of 2,219 and overall ageing look, the stadium is looking for a renovation which would almost definitely see it climb the list.
16. London Stadium – West Ham United
Arguably the most controversial stadium in the league given that the people of Great Britain, the stadium is a converted athletic stadium and despite their best efforts, the athletic element of the stadium can still be seen. The stadium doesn’t quite wrap around the pitch right with all the stands being a considerable distance from the pitch, which takes away from the match day experience. The design of the stands feels ’safe’ and uninspiring, which is most likely a side effect of the stadium initially being opened for the Olympics. West Ham has already put work in to make the stadium more football appropriate, but at this stage, it’s hard to get too excited about the London Stadium, which isn’t even the best stadium in London.
15. Craven Cottage – Fulham
Complete with an actual cottage and right on the River Thames, Craven Cottage is a quintessential old fashion English football stadium. Recently, the riverside stand underwent renovation and as such stands out significantly in contrast to its other older stands, and despite work still being done, limited seating will be allowed in the redeveloped stand. The new stand is very different looking to the rest of the stadium, and although it may grow on me, I still personally need to get used to it.
14. Emirates Stadium – Arsenal
The fourth London Stadium in a row, and arguably the most controversial ranking so far, the Emirates was completed in 2006, and as such, is a victim of its mid-2000s design. To be frank, despite its size, it’s very boring. The stadium is a big generic-looking bowl and if it wasn’t for one white Cannon designed into a stand and the inclusion of the old Highbury clock, you wouldn’t have any reason to know this was the home of Arsenal from the inside. The outside is a bit better much of Arsenal’s history is on display and the glass-looking exterior is easy on the eyes, which ultimately makes the interior uninspiring design more frustrating. Too new to be as beloved as other stadiums, too old to have a bold unique design, Emirates Stadium might just simply be a product of its time.
13. Elland Road – Leeds United
This feels harsh, I don’t dislike this stadium, I just simply prefer the twelve above it. Elland Road is a fun shaped 37,792 capacity stadium, and is actually twenty-two years (1897) older than Leeds United (1919) and is iconic in English football. Today, it has a strikingly blue design with the exception of a small yellow section, the two-tiered East Stand stands out for its sheer size and may be joined by another larger stand, should the club go through with plans to expand the stadium to roughly 50,000.
12. City Ground – Nottingham Forrest
It’s great to have two-time European champions, Nottingham Forrest, back on the big stage for the time since 1999. Part of that is seeing the City Ground again, which just like Craven Cottage, is situated right on a river. Of all its stands, perhaps the most unusual is the Bridgford End stand – which from its left starts off being two tiers and then at its right curves down to be one tier and inline with the smaller Peter Taylor Stand. With plenty of Forrest identifiers and displays as well, this stadium, despite its aged look, has a charm that’s great to see back in the top flight.
11. Amex Stadium – Brighton & Hove Albion
Located on England’s south coast, the Amex was built and completed in 2011, and featured uniquely sized stands that work well together. A feature throughout is the use of Seagulls embedded into the stadium’s colour scheme, which along with the dark blue seats, creates the design of Seagulls (a bird synonymous with Brighton and the club’s nickname) flying over the sea. The stadium has a capacity of 31,800, and despite being a football stadium, is arguably best known for being the venue of possibly Rugby Union’s biggest ever upset – when Japan defeated South Africa 34-32.
10. Molineux Stadium – Wolverhampton Wanderers
One of the most unique-looking stadiums in the league, Molineux has undergone a lot of renovation as of late and is unrecognizable compared to the start of the 2010s. Much of the uniqueness comes from Wolves’ gold and black colour scheme, which isn’t used by any other team in the league, and is very apparent with the aesthetic of the stands – there’s no mistaking what team calls this stadium home. Its main drawback is that the Steve Bull stand could be closer to the pitch, which would enhance the match-day experience for fans who sit there.
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9. Goodison Park – Everton
A stadium on borrowed time, Goodison Park has been the home of Everton since 1892, but the club is currently in the process of replacing its old home which has more top-flight games than any other English team. The stadium had many features associated with old stadiums; unique stands, view-blocking pillars, and being surrounded almost entirely by housing. The stadium is famous for being one of the loudest in England, and this is hopefully something that can be replicated in Everton’s new stadium.
8. Etihad Stadium – Manchester City
The current Premier League champions moved into (known at the time as) The City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, and in that time a lot has changed. The stadium capacity has increased from 47,000 to 55,000, and the word ”CITY” can be clearly seen opposite the main stand amongst a sea of sky-blue seats. The outside of the stadium has spiral features which used to hold cables to the roof, and help make the exterior stand out. The Etihad is a great modern stadium, I just wish they didn’t have sponsorship worked into the seat design as they did with ”CITY”, I know they’re not the only club to do so but you’d think they wouldn’t need the money.
7. Stamford Bridge – Chelsea
Famous for being connected to a hotel and one of the greatest unbeaten runs in English football history (86 games between 2004-2008), Stamford Bridge may be on the small side at 40,000, but it makes up for it in intimidation and design. The dark Chelsea blue is very striking and its three-tiered East Stand is impressive in size and look, and the smaller ends at either goal can provide intimate settings for fans which help fans create a loud atmosphere for big games. While nothing is concrete, the club has been vocal about wanting to either move to a new stadium or extensively renovate Stamford Bridge, something that, once again, can be explored with new ownership coming in.
6. Villa Park – Aston Villa
Home of the 1982 European Champions, Villa Park is perhaps best known for its iconic exterior. The brick facade at the Holte end looks great in its simplicity, and was designed after the now knocked down Trinity Road stand that was built in 1922, allowing the stadium to blend the new with the old. Inside the stadium makes great use of Villa’s claret and blue colour scheme and like most English stadiums, the stands have character. While the Holte end has a large lower tier and small upper tier, the opposite situated North Stand has a small lower tier and large upper tier. With Burnley having been relegated and West Ham’s Upton Park long gone, Villa Park is the only stadium in the league to use the claret and blue colour, and the league is all the better for it!
5. St James’ Park – Newcastle United
From a distance, this is a very imposing and massive-looking stadium, it’s almost hard to believe that the capacity is only 52,354. The two huge stands the Milburn Stand, and Leazes End have glass roofs overhead which allows plenty of natural sunlight to flow through the stadium. The colour scheme of using different shades of black works very well to define the stadium, as black doesn’t feature heavily when it comes to stadium design in England. The smaller Gallowgate stand is often where you’ll find the Magpies’ loudest fans and after a game, fans can explore the nearby Chinatown, along with Newcastle’s famous nightlife.
4. Brentford Community Stadium – Brentford
The newest stadium in the premier league, the stadium may be small but it’s honestly beautiful. The glass and grey brick-like exterior make the stadium look modern but not in any sort of gimmicky way, rather it blends in with buildings around the stadium. As for the stands, there is a large overbearing stand from which the seats curve down before rising again to create somewhat of a horseshoe shape which is very well done. The colour scheme is predominantly red with other colours dotted around in a design that isn’t seen with any other stadium in the league. If this stadium was perhaps doubled in size (it’s 17,000), it would have had a great shot of being number one!
3. Old Trafford – Manchester United
The theatre of dreams. Under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, Old Trafford was home to the most dominant team in the Premier League’s first twenty years with thirteen titles won between 1993-2013. It’s been very rocky for United since then, but Old Trafford is still Old Trafford. Its size is immense, with its capacity of 74,310 making it the largest club stadium in England. The predominantly red seats stand out and are great to view visually, and the larger three stands combined with a smaller main stand help to make the stadium look more intimidating. The stadium has been notably cited recently for needing renovation, with the hope for the match-going crowd can be implemented sooner rather than later.
2. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Tottenham Hotspur
Opened in 2019, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a perfect example of how to build a new football stadium. A 62,000 asymmetric bowl, the exterior is a mix of white/grey panels complete with blue tinted glass which in the case of blue and white are Tottenham colours. As for the inside, despite being a bowl, there is a noticeable distinction between the four stands. The stand-out stand is the South stand, which was inspired by Borussia Dortmund’s ‘yellow wall’ and has the largest single tier in England with the ability to host 17,500 fans. The stadium itself was designed to amplify fan noise as much as possible and with the intention of retaining the atmosphere as much as possible in order to help Spurs on match days!
1. Anfield – Liverpool
Perhaps the most iconic stadium in England, Anfield has gone through a renovation in recent years with its main stand being upgraded, and further upgrading also planned. But in the meantime, the stadium is as beautiful as ever. The exterior is surrounded by Liverpool FC history, with its Paisley and Shankly’s gates being particular stand. Inside, its most famous feature is the KOP stand, arguably home to some of the most passionate fans in all of Britain, and the main source of Anfield’s famous European/big game atmosphere!
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