The 10 Worst Pitches in World Football History

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2014

The 10 Worst Pitches in World Football History

0 of 10

    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Gareth Bale was a two-goal hero for Wales in Andorra on Tuesday, but the Real Madrid star was very dissatisfied with the artificial 3G pitch.

    The Daily Mail reported Bale's opinion that it was "by far the worst pitch" he has ever played on, adding that it was unpredictable and bobbly.

    In honour of Andorra's faux turf, here are 10 of the worst playing surfaces of the past and present... 

New England Revolution's Gillette Stadium

1 of 10

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Major League Soccer has come on leaps and bounds in terms of quality and popularity, but four of its clubs still play home games on artificial turf.

    Most players dislike it and the likes of Thierry Henry will seldom feature in a game on the plastic stuff.

    In a player survey conducted by Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl in 2013, New England Revolution's Gillette Stadium was "overwhelmingly" voted as the worst in the league. 

    The home of the New England Patriots used grass up until 2006, when it was replaced by FieldTurf, a 3G equivalent. 

Vancouver Whitecaps' BC Place

2 of 10

    USA TODAY Sports

    Another of the aforementioned MLS stadia with fake fields is BC Place, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

    The surface—coincidentally located in the False Creek area of Vancouver—is FIFA 2-star "Polytan LigaTurf 240 RS+," but it has evoked plenty of criticism from players and managers. 

    One player in Grant Wahl's survey said "Vancouver feels like concrete underneath." Meanwhile, Bruce Arena—a man who sounds like a bad venue—told NBC that artificial fields are "disasters" and that Vancouver's is "the worst." 

Stamford Bridge (circa 2003)

3 of 10

    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    In the 2002-03 season, the pitch at Stamford Bridge became so bad that barely a strand of grass could be found on it. 

    The low point was a league game against Charlton, before which the groundsmen laid a six-inch base of sand. The Addicks complained to the Premier League that the "beach" had so little grass it was technically artificial.

    According to The Guardian, the Blues were fined £5,000 and made to pay £2-3,000 in costs.   

Blackpool's Bloomfield Road

4 of 10

    Blackpool's Bloomfield Road is renowned for its resemblance to a ploughed field in the second half of games during the winter months. Just take a look at the state of it in the video above

    When Hull visited Blackpool on New Year's Day 2013, manager Steve Bruce was less than complimentary:

    The pitch was terrible, an absolute quagmire.

    People pay good money to watch good football and Blackpool try to play an attractive game but the pitch is so slow and horrible, it's a mess.

    It was difficult to move the ball and impossible to run with it.

    This season, of course, Tangerines fans are thankful that they actually have enough players to ruin the state of their field. 

Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium

5 of 10

    Tony Marshall/Getty Images

    Doncaster Rovers spent £32 million building their Keepmoat Stadium, but apparently they should have diverted a little more funding towards the playing surface.

    After a league game with Brighton in March 2012, Seagulls manager Gus Poyet blamed the pitch for a poor performance:

    We didn't play well but it was difficult to pass the ball on such a bumpy pitch.

    I'm not making that an excuse because it was the same for both teams and I feel sorry for the Doncaster players because we can go home now while they have to play on it every other week.

    Donny's uneven field might be due to the fact that it is also used for a Rugby League team and the ladies' football side, too. 

Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road (circa 1980s)

6 of 10

    In 1981, Loftus Road was the first English League ground to wave goodbye to grass and install a plastic pitch.

    The surface was "Omniturf" (a primitive astroturf) and drew plenty of criticism for its bouncy feel and tendency to rip the skin of those who came into contact with it. 

    "It was basically a bit of carpet over two feet of concrete," said former Rangers keeper Peter Hucker in 2012. "Knees, elbows, anything that came into contact with it was burnt or bruised."

    The surface was finally removed in 1988, but it didn't do the Hoops' prospects much damage: The second-tier side reached the FA Cup final in their first season with it and won the Second Division championship the following season. 

Luton's Kenilworth Road (circa 1980s)

7 of 10

    Last season, Luton's dilapidated home at Kenilworth Road was voted among the worst stadiums in the world, but it attracted far more criticism in the 1980s when the Hatters followed QPR's lead by installing an artificial playing surface.

    The "Sporturf Professional" surface was put in for the 1985-86 season and remained until 1991. During that period, it attracted similar complaints to Loftus Road, with players finding it unforgiving and prone to making the ball bounce much higher.  

The Kazakhstani Waterlogged Pitch

8 of 10

    In 2013, the elements wreaked havoc with an unknown Kazakhstani league game. The pitch was so waterlogged that the ball looked like it may float away while taking a corner. 

    Somehow, the officials still thought the surface was playable, and the referee even insisted that a corner was properly taken from the middle of the drink.

FC Zorya's Avanhard Stadium (2011)

9 of 10

    A 2011 match between Ukrainian sides Zorya and Volyn should probably have never been played thanks to the awful playing surface.

    Clearly, the ground had not recovered from a cold snap, and players proceeded to slide all over the place, while the ball would stop dead in certain parts of the field. 

Colorado Rapids' Dick's Sporting Goods Park (2013)

10 of 10

    In March 2013, one of the strangest football games in recent memory took place, as the USA endeavoured to beat Costa Rica in the middle of a Denver snowstorm.

    There were plenty of warm locations the U.S. could have chosen but perhaps chose the chilly climbs of Colorado to gain an advantage over their Costa Rican guests. 

    Despite a whiteout that made it virtually impossible to see the yellow ball or the pitch markings, the game was allowed to conclude. 

    The match is now known in U.S. soccer parlance as "The Snow Game."  

    Follow me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!