10 Dumpiest Stadiums in World Football
Football, like life, isn't always fair.
Some teams get to play in sparkling, new, state-of-the-art football shrines. Others play in the dump. And as we'll see, that's not always a figurative statement.
And those are only two of literally dozens of offenders. For now, we've got a list of 10 dumpy stadiums from all over the world, and we're sure you'll enjoy it.
Unless, of course, we singled out your favorite team.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium opened in 1961, just before the height of the cookie-cutter stadium craze in the United States. In the past 50-plus years, RFK has been home to several professional sports teams, from the NFL's Washington Redskins to MLS club DC United.
RFK has lasted for half a century, but no one really knows how. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Redskins moved out in 1996. Soon afterwards, the stadium started to literally fall apart.
Now, DC United boasts perhaps the worst attendance figures in MLS despite being one of the league's most historically successful clubs. But can you blame the fans for staying away?
Quick, is this a football stadium or a Sam's Club?
Actually, it is a football stadium. Its name is Kenilworth Road, and it's home to Luton Town, a club that played top-flight football as recently as 1992, but now competes in Conference National, England's fifth tier.
Since the club has fallen on hard times, the stadium has deteriorated. Now, it even has a Facebook "fan" club.
The view from inside is not much better. One word: Dump.
As we wrote back in October when Otelul Galati was getting ready to play Manchester United in the Champions League:
Other than the pronunciation of the club's name, the only thing more confusing about Otelul Galati is its home stadium.
Galati (pronounced "Ge-LETS") is a town along the Danube in Romania. Otelul (pronounced "OATS-el-ool") translates to the English as "dump."
Otelul Galati play in a stadium too small to host Champions League matches. That's a problem because Otelul Galati qualified for the group stages of this year's Champions League.
Since their stadium holds only 13,500 people, Otelul have been hosting their Champions League matches in Bucharest—about three hours away by car.
We have a few more thoughts.
First, don't the fans in Romania want to be shaded from the elements? How about covering more than 25 seats?
Second, there's supposedly an LED scoreboard, but we can't imagine where it would go.
In a 2004 reader poll, The Guardian ranked Priestfield Stadium, the home of Gillingham FC, the worst ground in England.
Typical readers' comments ranged from the hilarious to the sad. Here's the hilarious:
Never fails to live down to expectations. Used to be nothing more than a couple of cowsheds knocked together, but after redevelopment, it resembles a 1970s garage forecourt. The away end has two Portakabins for toilets and the worst catering outside Selhurst Park. The walk from the train station is like walking through the Shangri-La Caravan Park just after closing time.
And here's the sad:
"[Gillingam] is the place that makes Middlesbrough look like Monte Carlo."
Having never been to Gillingham or Middlesbrough, we can only take their word.
Borisov City Stadium
BATE Borisov is a club based in Borisov, Belarus. Having won the the Belarusian Premier League in 2010, BATE earned a spot in the 2011-12 Champions League.
Sadly, the Belarusian giants have already been eliminated, but their home stadium lives on. Unlike fellow European minnows Otelul Galati, BATE have a stadium with awnings to cover their supporters.
But also unlike Otelul Galati, BATE's stadium is basically just a couple of pitiful-looking grandstands surrounded by grass (in fairness, the grass is lovely for Belarus, though). The massive grandstands hold an impressive 5,402 spectators.
Oh, and like Otelul, BATE had to play their "home" Champions League games elsewhere. Can't imagine why.
London's Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palce (and formerly Charlton Athletic and Wimbledon), opened in 1924, was renovated in 1983 and 1995 and was expanded in 1964 and 1994.
After all that, it's still a dump. You might remember one fan poking fun at Selhurst Park a few slides back (under Priestfield Stadium). One look at that picture should tell you why.
If that's not enough, there's this: Selhurst Park is so dumpy that Crystal Palace are planning to move to this other, slightly less dumpy locale in 2015.
Stade De France
The Stade de France? The outrage! Sacre Bleu!
Take a look at this: The venerable Stade was built on a dump. Literally.
That qualifies as dumpy.
And we're all really, really impressed.
Nonetheless, in the immortal words of Luke Skywalker, what a piece of junk!
Unlike the Millennium Falcon, however, Sandygate Road doesn't make point five past light speed, nor has it ever made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.
To hear the readers of The Guardian tell it, the only good things about Millmoor, the former home stadium of Rotherham United, were the pies and the drinking.
Being a Rotherham fan, I dare not criticise anybody else's ground. Ours must be one of the worst—a wooden main stand that is in desperate need of bulldozing, no legroom in any of the seats...Coming to Millmoor isn't all bad, though. You'll find a friendly reception and some decent pubs around the ground. And the pies are fantastic.
And there's more:
Having previously seen the ground in the film ID, I didn't think it would actually be that bad. It was. The only good thing was the pies. We left in a hurry, and to see Rotherham disappear in the distance was a huge relief.
Tragically, Millmoor is currently in a state of disuse and disrepair. Rotherham are looking for a new home rather than try to fix their old one.
That beautiful sight is the main stand of Blundell Park, the home ground of Grimsby Town FC. It gets extra points for the obstructed-view seating and random trash spilling onto the playing surface.
Amazingly enough, however, the main stand isn't even the most rickety-looking section of Blundell Park. That honor goes to the Findus Stand, which defies gravity and physics with its improbable angles and haphazard beam-placement.
Say what you will about Grimsby Town fans. They apparently have no fear of death.