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Interesting Stadiums

Which Premier League stadiums are among the top 10 oldest football stadiums in England

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As the country that can claim to have invented football as a codified sport with a unified set of rules, it is also no surprise that it was the first to construct purpose built stadia to host matches.

Read: biggest Premier League stadiums ranked

Although the Premier League now is better associated with modern all seater stadiums with top class amenities, such as Tottenham’s new ground, or the Etihad, there still remains plenty of relics from the past, even if some are way overdue for renovation. Here are the ten oldest football stadiums in England.

Top 10 oldest football stadiums in England 

 

Bramall Lane, Sheffield

 

Although there is some dispute as to what the first purpose built football stadium, Bramall Lane in Sheffield is in contention, although it was originally intended for cricket.

Completed in 1855, it was used by Sheffield FC – who have their own claims to be the world’s oldest club – between 1873 and 1884. Sheffield United have called it home since 1889.

 

Field Mill, Mansfield

Field Mill in Mansfield has been hosting football matches since 1861, although there have been reports of games being played there as early as 1850. At various times in its history athletics and cycle racing have taken place there, and cricket games were also staged there, although since the late 19th century it has been used exclusively for football.

Various clubs called it home in its early days, but Mansfield Town first played there in the 1919 – 20 season and remain there to this day.

 

Deepdale, Preston

 

Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, is widely recognised as being the oldest continuously used football stadium in the world.

Constructed in 1875, it was originally used for cricket and rugby, staging its first football match in October 1878.

In 1913 it survived a terrorist incident by the suffragette movement who were campaigning for women to have the vote, when an attempt was made to burn the stadium down, only to be foiled when the authorities got wind of the plot.

 

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea

Chelsea Football Club Stamford Bridge Ank kumar 18

Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Stamford Bridge is the oldest ground in the Premier League, having been first opened in 1877, although it was used by the London Athletic Club until 1905, when Chelsea Football Club were formed and took over the ground.

Read: Stamford Bridge seating plan (stands) with pictures

It has remained there home ever since, although it has been extensively renovated over the years.

When Roman Abramovich owned the club, he had plans to move the team to a new stadium south of the River Thames, and turn the ground into high-rise luxury flats, but these plans were blocked by the local council.

Recently, new owner Todd Boehly has floated the idea of relocating the club to a purpose built new stadium in Earl’s Court.

 

Ewood Park, Blackburn

Initially known as Ewood Bridge, football has been played on the site since 1881, although in the early days it was little more than a field.

In its early days it was a multi-use stadium, with greyhound racing and athletics also using the facility, before Blackburn Rovers bought the freehold of the ground. It survived the collapse of a stand in 1893, and, like Preston, an attempt by suffragettes to burn it down.

In addition to football, it has also hosted rugby league games, and was opened in May 2022 to local Muslims so they could perform the Eid-al-Fitr prayer.

 

Turf Moor, Burnley

Turf Moor has been the home of Burnley since 1883, making it the second continuously used football ground in English professional soccer.

In fact, the site has been used for sporting activities since 1843, with cricket played on an adjacent pitch.

It was the first football ground to be visited by a member of the British Royal family when Prince Albert Victor attended a friendly game between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers in 1886.

 

Anfield, Liverpool

 

Famously Liverpool Football club were formed as a breakaway from local rivals Everton.

It was originally the home of Everton from 1884 to 1891, but, following a dispute with the club president, they moved to Goodison Park, whilst some players chose to remain to form the new club.

Read: Anfield seating plan (stands) view from Liverpool stadium

It derives its name from the local area, which means field on a slope.

Extensively expanded and developed over the years, Anfield has been used, among other things, to hold rugby league matches, for boxing, professional tennis, music gigs, and even for evangelical preachers to hold mass gatherings.

 

Portman Road, Ipswich

Portman Road has been the home of Ipswich Town since 1884, having previously played their home matches at Broomhill Park.

Initially it began life as home to East Suffolk Cricket Club, who played there as early as 1855, and erected a pavilion, before that was knocked down to make way for stands.

Ipswich became one of the first teams to begin using goal nets in 1890.

The ground staged one full England match there, against Croatia, in 2003, and has also hosted athletics, an American Football match, international hockey games, and several music concerts.

 

Gigg Lane, Bury

Gigg Lane was built for Bury F.C, in 1885, and remained their home ground until the club was expelled from the football League in 2019, because of its losses. The last competitive fixture was played there in May 2019, when Port Vale were the visitors.

The following year, administrators put the club up for sale, and it was bought by a fans’ group, who have announced that they intend to reopen the ground as a football venue.

Apart from football, it was also the home of Swinton Lions rugby league club for a decade.

 

Valley Parade, Bradford

Valley Parade in Bradford, was built in 1886, but initially it was the home of Manningham Rugby Football Club until 1903, at which point they decided to change code and became Bradford City.

For one season Bradford Park Avenue also played there, and the Bradford Bulls rugby league club also were brief tenants.

 

In May 1985, one of the worst disasters in English sporting history occurred at Valley Parade, when a dropped cigarette butt caused a fire in one of the stand, which quickly became engulfed in flames. 56 people died and at least 265 people were injured, with the tragedy blamed on an ageing infrastructure, and inadequate safety precautions.

The ground was rebuilt from scratch.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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