Premier League is by far the biggest soccer league globally, with die-hard fans who marshal the fort-like stadiums as loyal troops would. Here’s a look at the home grounds of the Premier League clubs.
ARSENAL – EMIRATES STADIUM
Home to the Gunners, the Emirates Stadium is the fourth largest football stadium in England with a capacity of 60,704. Huge debts and low attendance figures in 1997 forced Arsenal to explore the possibility of a bigger stadium. However, they could not rebuild their existing Highbury stadium as it required demolition of neighbouring houses. After considering various options, including Wembley Stadium, the club bought a site in Ashburton Grove in 2000 and began relocation in 2002. Funding for the stadium was secured in 2004. Emirates bought the naming rights for the stadium in a 15-year deal that was estimated at £100 million and also included a 7-year shirt sponsorship. In 2009, naming rights were extended till 2028 while in 2018, the shirt sponsorship deal was extended till 2023-24 season. This is the largest sponsor deal signed by Arsenal. The white cannon logo of Arsenal emblazoned across the seats, the murals of Arsenal legends painted on the exterior embracing the stadium, and the ‘Spirit of Highbury’ are a sight to behold for every Gooner whose heart beats to the thump of ‘GO GUNNERS’.
Also Read - THE CURIOUS CASE OF ARSENAL
ASTON VILLA – VILLA PARK
Situated in the ‘Steel City’ of England, Villa Park has been the home of ‘The Lions’ since 1897. This stadium, with a seating capacity of 42,729, has seen varied uses through its history, from kitchen gardens to amusement parks to bowling greens and finally to one of the best football grounds in the country. The Trinity Road Stand was the pride of the stadium with its stained-glass windows, Italian mosaics and sweeping staircase. It also included ‘The Oak Room’, the first restaurant at a British Football ground. Sadly, the Trinity Road Stand was demolished in 2000 to increase the capacity of the stadium. The Holte Stand is now the heart of the stadium and the chants of ‘Allez. Allez, Allez’ which reverberate across the stadium originate from the fans in blue and claret lodged in there. Villa Park has never had a naming rights sponsor in its 120-year-old history.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION – AMEX STADIUM
Originally named Falmer Stadium, the home of Brighton & Hove Albion opened up in 2011 with a capacity of 30,750. Situated in the Falmer Village of Sussex, it took more than a decade for the club to play its first game there since the site was proposed to be transformed into a stadium. Before shifting to Falmer Stadium, the Seagulls played at the Goldstone Ground for 95 years and the Withdean Stadium for 2 years. American Express, one of the largest employers of the local area of Brighton acquired the naming rights of the stadium in 2010. The financial services company also assumed the shirt sponsorship rights in 2013 and also the naming rights of Brighton’s training ground.
BURNLEY – TURF MOOR
Turf Moor has been the home ground of Burnley F.C. since 1883, making it the second longest continuously used ground in English professional football. Situated in Lancashire, the stadium has a capacity of 21,944. Burnley Cricket Club, the original occupants of the stadium invited the football club to move from their Calder Vale premises in 1885. Turf Moor became the first football ground to be visited by a Royal when Prince Albert attended a match in 1886. The James Hargreaves Stand is the pride of the stadium and has been licensed to be used for marriage services and other banqueting events.
CHELSEA– STAMFORD BRIDGE
Stamford Bridge or ‘The Bridge’ as it is commonly referred to is the home of five-time league champions Chelsea. Situated in the Southwestern parts of London, the stadium has a capacity of 40,853 and is expected to reach 60,000 by 2023-24. Initially, the stadium was offered to Fulham F.C. by the Mears brothers. When Fulham turned it down due to financial reasons, the Mears formed their own football club, Chelsea, to occupy the ground as rivals to Fulham. In January last year, Chelsea unveiled a mural on the outside wall of the West Stand as part of their ‘Say No to Anti-Semitism’ campaign.
Also Read - CHELSEA DISMISSES LAMPARD AS TUCHEL ARRIVES
CRYSTAL PALACE – SELHURST PARK
Located in the suburbs of London, Selhurst Park is home to the Eagles. Opened in 1924, the stadium has a capacity of 25,456. Part of the stadium is occupied by Sainsbury’s, the second largest chain of supermarkets in UK. Initially, the stadium was constructed with only one stand, the present Main Stand and the ground remained undeveloped till 1969, when Palace were promoted to division one for the first time.
EVERTON – GOODISON PARK
Located in Liverpool, Goodison Park has been the home ground of the Toffees since its inception in 1892. It has a seating capacity of 39,414 and has hosted more top-tier football games than any other stadium in England. The presence of St Luke’s Church only yards from the corner flag is a unique feature of Goodison Park.
FULHAM– CRAVEN COTTAGE
Craven Cottage is the home of Fulham, London’s oldest football club playing professionally. With a capacity of 19,359, it has been the club’s home since 1896. Craven Cottage was originally a royal hunting lodge and has a long history dating back more than 300 years.
LEEDS UNITED – ELLAND ROAD
Elland Road has been the home of Leeds United since their formation in 1919. The 37,792-capacity stadium is located on a site originally owned by Bentley’s Brewery. Their pub was called the Old Peacock, hence the club’s nickname. Statues of the club’s legendary captain Billy Bremner and most successful manager Don Revrie are built outside the ground as well.
Also Read - THE IMPORTANCE OF MARCELO BIELSA
LEICESTER CITY – KING POWER STADIUM
Formerly known as the Walkers Stadium, the King Power Stadium has been home of the Foxes since 2002. Located in Leicester, the stadium has a capacity of 32,261. Success in the late 1990s saw full house crowds in Filbert, the club’s earlier stadium citing a need for relocation. Thai travel retail group King Power bought the stadium in 2013. The terms of the agreement were not revealed.
LIVERPOOL – ANFIELD
Situated in Liverpool, Anfield was originally used by Everton. However, after a dispute with Anfield owner, John Goulding, Everton moved to Goodison Park and Goulding formed his own club, Liverpool, to play at Anfield. The stadium, which has been the home of the Reds since 1892 has a capacity of 54,074. The stairs leading down to the field feature the famous sign ‘THIS IS ANFIELD’ which the Liverpool players have a ritual of touching for good luck. The stadium also pays tribute to the two of the club’s most successful managers, Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly, by naming the gates accordingly.
MANCHESTER CITY– ETIHAD STADIUM
Manchester City have been the ‘Cityzens’ of the Etihad Stadium since 2002. Originally used for CWG 2002, the stadium is now the tenth largest football stadium in the UK with a capacity of 55,017. It has been called the Etihad Stadium since 2011 when the club signed a deal with the UAE Carrier which also encompasses kit sponsorship for ten years.
MANCHESTER UNITED– OLD TRAFFORD
The largest club football stadium in England with a capacity of 74,140, the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ has been the home of the Red Devils since 1910. Given United’s success in early 1900s, they decided to move to a stadium that reciprocated the standard of their skill. The Red Café, the club museum and the trophy room are housed in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand named after their venerated manager. Regarded as one of the best stadiums in the world, it is wrapped in red on match days with the chants of Manchester United as music to the ears.
Also Read - THE GLAZERS AND MANCHESTER UNITED – AN OVERVIEW
NEWCASTLE UNITED – ST JAMES’ PARK
St James’ Park has been the home of the Magpies since they were founded in 1892. With a seating capacity of 52,305, it is the eighth largest football stadium in England. Newcastle Rangers were the first team to play here in 1880. In 2011, the stadium came to be known as Sports Direct Arena temporarily to invite sponsorship opportunities. In 2012, loan company Wonga.com became Newcastle United’s main commercial sponsor and bought the naming rights, However, they wanted the stadium’s name to be restored as St James’ Park as part of the deal.
SHEFFIELD UNITED – BRAMALL LANE
Home to the Blades, Bramall Lane is the oldest football stadium in the world still to be holding professional football matches. It is also famous for hosting the first football tournament and the first floodlit football match. Situated in Yorkshire, it first opened as a cricket ground in 1855. In 1873, construction began to convert it into a specialist football ground.
SOUTHAMPTON – ST MARY’S STADIUM
With a capacity of 32,384, St Mary’s Stadium has been the home of the Saints since 2001. The cramped location of The Dell, their earlier stadium, forced the club to move to this stadium. The stadium is in the shape of a bowl. The club wanted to name the ground after their sponsors, but fan pressure influenced to use a non-commercial title. Moreover, Flybe.com, their sponsor, refused to purchase the naming rights.
TOTTENHAM – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM
Replacing the club’s previous stadium, White Hart Lane, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium became the home of Spurs in 2019. The stadium is an asymmetric bowl with a capacity of 62,303. Situated at the same site as White Hart Lane in North London, it is nearly twice the size of its predecessor. This stadium is also the only stadium outside North America to be designed especially for NFL games. Since it is relatively new, the stadium does not have a naming rights sponsor for now.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION – THE HAWTHORNS
The Hawthorns, named after the hawthorn bushes that covered the area in which it is located, has been the home of West Bromwich Albion since 1900. This 26,688-capacity stadium is their 6th ground, highlighting the club’s success during its early days as it outgrew 5 different grounds.
WEST HAM UNITED – LONDON STADIUM
West Ham United were based at Boleyn Ground for more than a century until 2016. After 2016, the club moved to London Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium which was primarily built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The 60,000-capacity stadium was controversially acquired by the Hammers in a 99-year lease deal as Spurs too had been bidding for the same venue.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS – MOLINEUX
Molineux Stadium has been the local hunting ground of Wolves since 1889. The name of this 32,050-capacity stadium originates from a local merchant who built the Molineux House on the same site in 1744. Though the club plan to make developments to their stadium, their investments have mainly been focused on the playing side.