Best EPL stadiums: Ranking top five stadiums in the Premier League
Home advantage is one of the most crucial factors in football and it is for this reason that some of the best EPL stadiums are referred to as fortresses that are nearly impenetrable.
Football fans in the stands are generally regarded as the ’12th man’ and rightly so, as they usually give players that extra drive and motivation needed to go the extra mile.
With this in mind, clubs usually go all out in a bid to increase the atmosphere of their stadiums, while also spending huge sums to improve on the aesthetics and infrastructure.
In this current era of football being a big business, it is more important than ever to have modern stadiums that serve as extra revenue generators to boost the club’s finances.
While other leagues like the Serie A struggle in this regard (due to their dilapidated structures and bureaucracy involved in building new ones), Premier League clubs have identified this and usually go all out to make sure their Stadiums can cater to the needs of the modern-day football fan.
Even the old-fashioned stadiums have undergone new upgrades to keep with the times, while other clubs have moved into entirely brand new edifices.
Here, we shall be having a rundown of the five best EPL stadiums, judging with capacity, atmosphere, infrastructure, and aesthetics.
#5. Etihad Stadium (Manchester City)
Date of completion: August 2003
Current capacity: 55,017
The City of Manchester Stadium (known as the Etihad Stadium for commercial reasons) is currently home to Manchester City and it just narrowly pips the Emirates Stadium to enter the top five best EPL stadiums.
Located in Clayton, Manchester, the ground is an architectural masterpiece that is excellently suited to host wonderful football played by its users on a weekly basis.
Having initially broke ground as an athletics field (to host the 2002 Commonwealth games), it began use as a football ground a year later and was extensively renovated and expanded in 2014, with the Etihad conglomerate spending huge to give it its new look.
Due to its modern outlook, the Etihad stadium does not really have the high atmosphere that other traditional stadiums have, but it cannot be argued that it is among the best EPL stadiums currently.
Fans have also praised the quality of customer care at the stadium, while its sight lines are also among the best in the league.
The stadium is located just 2.5 km away from the Manchester city center, while its transport network is also very commendable.
In addition to football matches, the Etihad stadium has also been used to host concerts, rugby matches, and boxing bouts.
#4. Anfield (Liverpool)
Date of completion: 1884
Redevelopment (phase one): 2015-2016
Current capacity: 53,394
In terms of atmosphere, few stadiums in England can match Anfield and the noise and passion generated from the Kop End during a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone is enough to give the players an extra boost.
Although the stadium is now firmly associated with Liverpool, it was originally the home ground of Merseyside rivals Everton who left the stadium in 1892 after a disagreement with the club president.
Anfield is an all-seater stadium that currently has 64 executive suites, a ‘fan zone’ between the stadium and superstore that enhances the matchday experience for fans watching games at the ground.
There had been plans to demolish the grounds amidst proposed discussions of building a new home for Liverpool but new owner John Henry dismissed such ideas after watching a few games at Anfield, stating that such atmosphere would be impossible to recreate elsewhere.
He instead focused on development plans for the stadium which would come in different phases.
#3. St James Park (Newcastle)
Date of completion: 1892
Current capacity: 52,305
St James’ Park is widely regarded as one of the most atmospheric grounds in the Premier League and Newcastle fans are extremely proud of their historical stadium.
The stadium is one of the best in the land and has hosted several memorable events in the past, including the European Championship, the Rugby World Cup, concerts, and football matches at the Olympic Games.
The four main stands at St James’ Park are Gallowgate End, Leazes End, Milburn Stand, and East Stand and the stadium layout ensures that there is an unobstructed view of the pitch from all areas of the stadium.
The Gallowgate End is the traditional home of the most vocal and passionate fans (similar to the Kop end at Anfield) and despite their off-field issues, Newcastle fans are still unwavering in their support for the club.
The stadium has several other facilities including access to a bar and lounge before kickoff and at half-time (for premium seats), while there are also conference and banqueting facilities in addition to a a bustling lounge NINE that is one of the busiest in the city.
#2. Old Trafford (Manchester United)
Date of completion: February, 1910
Expansions: 1990s, 2000s
Current capacity: 74,140
With a capacity of over 74,000, Old Trafford is currently the biggest stadium in the Premier League and second largest in the whole of England (after Wembley).
The ‘Theater of Dreams’ has served as United’s home ground since 1910, apart from six-year period where the club shared Maine Road with Manchester City (following destruction of Old Trafford during World War 2).
The stadium underwent several expansions and renovations at the start of the millennium to give it its new look, and appeal to the club’s growing marketability, while there are also developmental plans earmarked for the future.
Old Trafford has four stands namely, the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand (north), East Stand, Sir Bobby Charlton (South) and West Stands. The hardcore United fans are most located in the West Stand (affectoionately known as Stretford End).
There is a megastore located near the East Stand where fans can get all the matchday memorabilia related to Manchester United.
#1. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Tottenham)
Date of completion: April 2019
Current capacity: 62,303
After spending 118 years at White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur made the decision to move out of the Stadium, into a brand new home that was completed in 2019.
The new project cost an estimated £1billion but it was money very much well spent and Tottenham currently have one of the best stadiums not just in the Premier League but anywhere on the planet.
The stadium is shaped like an asymmetric bowl and is designed like a concert hall, with good acoustics in mind to maximize the atmosphere on matchday.
Despite its asymmetric shape, there are still four distinct stands, with the South Stand (Home End) the most prominent – it has the largest single-tier stand in the country – and is designed like the Yellow Wall of Signal Iduna Park.
In addition to football matches, the stadium is also used to host NFL games, keying into Daniel Levy’s plans to boost Tottenham’s profile on the North American continent.
There are two distinct pitches, with the Desso GrassMaster hybrid grass used for football and and a synthetic turf surface underneath used for American football and concerts. The stadium is the first in the world to split into three sections before retracting.
The stadium features the world’s first integrated glow lighting system over the field and it provides separate facilities for both football and NFL players, it also has an in-house bakery, and has more WI-FI access points and Bluetooth beacons than any other stadium in the country.
It is the first cashless stadium in England and also has the world’s first microbrewery in a stadium – with the brewery producing up to one million pints of craft beer in a year and delivering up to 10,000 pints a minute, while the stadium is designated to be an all-round sports and entertainment destination.
Tottenham temporarily played at Wembley while their new home was under construction but it was finally opened on April 3, 2019, with its first match a Premier League game against Crystal Palace. Heung-Min Son scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory for Spurs.
Despite its huge construction cost, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium undoubtedly sets the pace for the best EPL stadiums to follow.
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