Ranking the 20 Premier League Stadiums

Chris Siddell@@siddellcCorrespondent IIIJanuary 26, 2012

Ranking the 20 Premier League Stadiums

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    The Premier League is arguably the best league in the world.  To go along with the best football in the world, the Premier League also has some of the best stadiums around.

    From the Northern Newcastle, right down to the South of London, and from the East of Norwich to the West of Swansea, we rank every single stadium in the league.

    Where will you favourite stadium come in on the list, and will your home ground match up against the rest of the Premier League?  Get inside and find out.

20. Loftus Road

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    Home of Queens Park Rangers 
    Location London W12 7PA  
    Capacity 18,360
    Opened 1917

    The smallest stadium in the Premier League, Loftus Road is something of a disappointment as far as stadiums go.

    Small and cramped, with a lot of poor views in the ground, this one is a stadium to avoid.  With prices as high as £55, Loftus Road fails to deliver what you would expect from the price tag.

    You do get a feeling that you are part of the action at times, but that isn't enough to prevent Loftus Road being the worst stadium in the Premier League.

19. Craven Cottage

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    Home of Fulham  
    Location London SW6 6HH 
    Capacity 28,678
    Opened 1896

    If you are looking for a stadium with character, then look no further.  Craven Cottage is a fantastic example of an old fashioned football stadium.

    Located in Southwest London, on the bank of the Thames, 'The Cottage' is a real gem.  A beautiful brick fronted exterior welcomes fans as they approach, with the same stand having a great roof bearing the club name.

    The best part of Craven Cottage, is the actual cottage.  Look closely on the bottom left of the picture and you'll see it.  The players use the cottage as the changing rooms, a truly unique feature.

    Away from the character, the stadium can disappoint.  A small capacity (although always full) and plenty of restricted views caused by supporting pillars.  A stadium with great character, but overall not a great Premier League stadium.

18. Ewood Park

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    Home of Blackburn Rovers 
    Location Blackburn BB2 4JF 
    Capacity 31,367 
    Opened 1890 

    Ewood Park is in a select group of stadiums that have seen their resident win the Premier League title.  But the home of Blackburn is not going to win any trophies by itself.

    Three good stands, with a more modern feel to them and excellent views are spoilt by a rather obscure fourth.  Down one side of the field, you will notice a very small stand with poor access.  

    Hindered by a railway line right behind it, there is nowhere to build, so the stand is stuck there.  Access is only from either end, so fans need to walk along the front and then up to their seat.  

    That means the first few rows are frequently disturbed, and a long way from the pitch.

    Still, a nice stadium, with a good sized replay screen.  Ewood Park is certainly not the worst stadium to visit, but it isn't a Premier League high flyer.

17. Carrow Road

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    Home of Norwich City
    Location Norwich NR1 1JE 
    Capacity 27,220
    Opened 1935

    Carrow Road made a return to the Premier League this season after a few years away.  It has some new additions since then, and looks a lot smarter. 

    Still a bit of a mixed bag, with seemingly random stands that don't really match up all that well.

    An interesting little ground with a good atmosphere, but far from being one of the best in the Premier League.

16. Goodison Park

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    Home of Everton 
    Location Liverpool L4 4EL 
    Capacity 40,569
    Opened 1892

    Goodison Park is another stadium to have a lot of character.  Sitting in Stanley Park, a short walk away from Anfield, Goodison Park is a good old-fashioned ground.

    Like Craven Cottage, it also has a little unique feature in one corner.  A church sits on the outside, although you can't see it from the interior any longer.

    Some restricted viewing around the ground spoils the stadium somewhat, but that isn't its biggest problem. 

    Goodison has started to look its age and is in need of a good refurbishment.  With the club looking to move away, the stadium has been left as it is, meaning it has lost touch with many other stadiums.

    Still an impressive sight, especially when you approach, if you want to get that old-fashioned feeling from a football ground, then Goodison is your place.  Other than that, it isn't that great.

15. The Hawthorns

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    Home of West Bromwich Albion
    Location Birmingham B71 4LF 
    Capacity 26,500
    Opened 1900

    The Hawthorns is one of three Premier League stadiums in the Birmingham area.  Situated to the North of the city The Hawthorns has been completely redeveloped in recent years.  

    The work was fully completed in 2001 and has seen the stadium become real Premier League quality.

    The stadium is fully enclosed and has some corner seating.  But it still retains the character and feeling of an older ground.  

    The most impressive of the stands is the large East Stand, it's a real shame the Halford Road Stand can't be developed to the same size.

    A good stadium with a good amount of character and good views from everywhere.

14. The DW Stadium

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    Home of Wigan
    Location Wigan WN5 0UZ 
    Capacity 25,023
    Opened 1999

    The DW Stadium is not yet 15 years old, but is already on its second name.  Formerly 'The JJB,' it is shared between Wigan Athletic football club, and the Wigam Warrior rugby league side.

    The stadium itself is well-built without being impressive, and does not have a lot of space for concession stalls.  The stands are relatively steep by Premier League standards, meaning the views are pretty good.

    One thing that is different about the DW compared to other new stadiums is that it is four separate stands, with no corner seating.  

    For those who are familiar with the weather in Northern England, that is not a great thing.  The DW Stadium is a nice stadium, but certainly not one of the best.

13. The Britania Stadium

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    Home of Stoke City
    Location Stoke ST4 4EG 
    Capacity 28,383
    Opened 1997

    The Britania Stadium is one of three stadiums in the Premier League to have opening in 1997.  Of the three, it is the least impressive.  From afar, it looks to be a brilliant stadium, but it does disappoint once you get closer.

    It does provide a decent fan experience. If Stoke are on top, a great atmosphere, but there are some things missing.  Seats, plenty of seats are missing.  

    Just one corner of the Britania is filled in, the rest are left wide open to the elements, meaning it can get cold and windy if you're in the wrong place.

    A decent stadium with good views, but certainly could be a lot better.

12. Villa Park

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    Home of Aston Villa 
    Location Birmingham B6 6HE 
    Capacity 42,785 
    Opened 1897 

    Villa Park is one of the older grounds in the Premier League.  A brilliant stadium, with an amazing brick façade at the Holte End, Villa Park was regularly host to FA Cup semifinals up until the 2000s.

    Since then, the stadium has been overtaken by other, more modern grounds when ranking them.  

    Some great views inside as you would expect, but despite relatively recent renovations, you also get those poorer ones associated with older grounds.  

    If standing terraces are brought back into the Premier League, then Villa Park will take a step back towards its former glory.  As an all-seater stadium, though, even the brick façade can't see it climb into the top five.

11. Liberty Stadium

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    Home of Swansea City
    Location Swansea (Wales) SA1 2FA 
    Capacity 20,500
    Opened 2005

    The Liberty Stadium is the only Premier League stadium outside of England.  Based in the Welsh city of Swansea, the stadium is almost the newest in the Premier League, having opened one year before the Emirates.

    The stadium is very well built, and very tidy looking, but lacks the wow factor held by many bigger stadiums.

    The most interesting factor is the perspex roof over much of the ground, making it a lot brighter on the inside than most other Premier League stadiums.

    A nice stadium, but it doesn't stand out as one of the best in the Premier League.

10. Stamford Bridge

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    Home of Chelsea 
    Location London SW6 1HS 
    Capacity 41,841
    Opened 1905

    Stamford Bridge is home to Chelsea, one of the richest clubs in the Premier League.  The stadium is an old stadium, but still packs a punch.

    Great views from all areas and a comfortable experience for all fans is the norm at Chelsea.  Not what you would expect from such an old stadium.  Like Villa Park, Stamford Bridge has changed a lot since the start of the Premier League.

    Now, with large double- and even triple-tier stands, it could easily be mistaken for a more modern ground once inside.

9. SportsDirect.com Arena

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    Home of Newcastle United
    Location Newcastle NE1 4ST  
    Capacity 52,143
    Opened 1892

    The SportsDirect.com Arena, more commonly known as St. James' Park is the most lop sided stadium in the Premier League.

    Two huge stands see some away fans up in the top corner up to a quarter of a mile away from the action.  Yet the other two, that back onto a road and listed buildings, respectively, are a lot smaller in size. 

    The two new stands are very impressive from the inside and out, with the Gallowgate End also impressing.  But the aging East Stand drags the stadium down a little. 

    Definitely a top stadium, but perhaps one to avoid if you suffer from vertigo.

8. White Hart Lane

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    Home of Tottenham Hotspur 
    Location London N17 OAP 
    Capacity 36,274
    Opened 1900

    White Hart Lane is the North London home of Tottenham Hotspur.  A tight and cosy stadium with a fantastic atmosphere.

    Another stadium that has had some major renovations in the past couple of decades, White Hart Lane can now class itself as one of the best stadiums in the Premier League.

    Other than two supporting pillars in the East Stand, the views from everywhere else are amazing, and you feel like you're on top of the action.  A characteristic missing from most new stadiums.

    But White Hart Lane is far from a dinosaur.  Two huge screens are built into the roof at either end, and the fully enclosed stadium looks fantastic from the inside.  A somewhat mix and match approach on the exterior is not followed inside.  

    Each stand complements its neighbours, with the corners flowing to and from each stand.  A real gem of a stadium, it will be a shame if (or when) Tottenham move.

7. Molineux

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    Home of Wolverhampton Wanderers
    Location Wolverhampton (nr Birmingham) WV1 4QR
    Capacity 24,000 (31,700 next season)
    Opened 1889

    Molineux is instantly recognisable by its bright golden seats and slight oval shape.  Another old stadium, but Molineux has been completely rebuilt in the past 30 years.  Even now, the building work is still going on.

    As a result of the long development, Molineux is one of the best built stadiums in the Premier League.  The stands are smart inside and out and allow for a good matchday experience.  The only drawback being the distance from the field.

    Should Molineux get through the next few phases of development that are planned, the stadium will move very quickly up the rankings, but for now, it's just a mid-table stadium.

6. Anfield

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    Home of Liverpool
    Location Liverpool L4 0TH 
    Capacity 45,362
    Opened 1884

    Anfield sits on the other side of Stanley Park to Goodison Park, you can even see it from some of the higher seats at Everton.  It is among the most famous football stadiums in the world, and has the history to match.

    A wonderful stadium to visit, it should be near the top of any Premier League fan's list of places to visit.  Not the most spectacular from the outside, its lack of stature is more than compensated by the famous Shankly Gates.

    The inside will provide those with long legs a bit of a headache, with limited leg room.  But the atmosphere will soon take your mind off that.  The legendary Kop stand has lost very little of its famous noise in the transition from standing to seated, and it rarely fails to impress.

    The corners are not fantastic, it is clear the stadium is an old-fashioned one that has been redeveloped.  That is most evident in the Main Stand, where you still have support pillars restricting views.

    It's a great stadium and one of the best around.

5. Reebok Stadium

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    Home of Bolton Wanderers
    Location Bolton BL7 6JW 
    Capacity 28,723
    Opened 1997

    The Reebok Stadium in Bolton may not be one of the biggest stadiums around, but it is one of the best.

    Architecturally brilliant, this stadium has everything.  A conference centre, indoor arena, perfect views and a good atmosphere when full.  

    The floodlights all join together and provide a spectacular shell for the stadium.  Had it not been for its small size, this would easily be regarded as one of the worlds top stadiums.

    Size does matter, though, but it isn't everything, and a match day at the Reebok is one of the better stadium experiences in the Premier League.

4. Old Trafford

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    Home of Manchester United
    Location Manchester M16 0RA 
    Capacity 76,100
    Opened 1910

    Old Trafford is the biggest stadium in the Premier League by some distance, and possibly the most impressive.

    It's difficult to conceive just how big the stadium is, until you get inside that is.  The relatively minuscule South Stand would look impressive almost anywhere else, but at Old Trafford it is dwarfed.

    Another older stadium that has been converted into an all-seater, but this is the best conversion in the Premier League.  Fantastic corner areas and some great, almost aerial views from some areas make this one of the best stadiums around.

3. Etihad Stadium

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    Home of Manchester City 
    Location Manchester M11 3FF 
    Capacity 48,000
    Opened 2002

    The Etihad Stadium, formerly known as the City of Manchester Stadium was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.  A year later, Manchester City moved in after a few alterations.

    The stadium now sits proudly at the centre of Sportcity, with an array of sporting facilities surrounding the site.  Add to that the exciting new Etihad Campus development, this will be the top sporting site in the UK, after the Olympic Park in London.

    The stadium itself provides all the comfort you would expect from a stadium that is just 10 years old, and it has no restricted views at all.

    One criticism is always likely to be the distance from the pitch, but had Manchester City not taken out a few seats along with the running track, it would be a lot further to the action.

    A really nice stadium, well worth a visit.

2. The Stadium of Light

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    Home of Sunderland 
    Location Sunderland SR5 1SU 
    Capacity  48,700
    Opened  1997

    The Stadium of Light is one of the finest stadiums in the country.  Purpose built by former club Chairman Bob Murray, the stadium quickly became a big landmark in the Northeast.

    As with all purpose built stadiums the view from any seat is perfect, and the seating provides ample space for fans to be comfortable.  

    Access in and out of the stadium is excellent, and there are plenty of concession stands inside.  If you're limiting the stadiums you do visit, then this is one you should definitely go and see.

1. The Emirates

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    Home of Arsenal
    Location London N5 1BU
    Capacity 60,432 
    Opened 2006 

    Built as a replacement to the much smaller Highbury, the Emirates lacks the character its neighbouring stadium had.

    In almost every other aspect, it is better.

    Arguably the most comfortable seating in the Premier League, a great atmosphere when things get going, and a good match day experience.

    Arsenal have done extremely well here, not only is the inside of the stadium immaculate, the outside is a far cry from Highbury.  Big open spaces around the ground and plenty of turnstiles make the Emirates a lot easier to get into than Highbury.

    Add the huge superstore built in and you have the top stadium in the Premier League.  Whilst there is no replacing sentiment and character, the Emirates is the best modern stadium in the Premier League.


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