Six grounds we’ll miss at their best


English football grounds are set to remain empty for a significant period due to the coronavirus even after professional sport resumes, regardless of how the current season is concluded.

The 2020-21 campaign is likely to be delayed and see a large chunk of matches played behind closed doors, though relevant governing bodies are yet to announce concrete plans.

Rival fans might quip that it won’t make any difference for (insert name here), but some teams will certainly be more disadvantaged than others by a prolonged absence of supporters from stadiums.

Some grounds just have better a better atmosphere for home players to feed off, that even visitors and neutral TV viewers must acknowledge and appreciate.

In no particular order, here are six English football venues we’ll miss at their best:

  1. The Den – Millwall

Credit: Richard Pelham

It’s the ultimate ‘tough place to go’ for away teams. The intimidating atmosphere of The Den makes Millwall games compelling viewing and means the south London side consistently punch above their weight, reaching the brink of the Championship playoffs before the football season came to a halt.

  1. Anfield – Liverpool

Credit: Daily Mirror

Often fêted as among the best places to watch sport in the world, Liverpool fans don’t need world class players to get right behind their team. The famous Anfield Kop is often said to suck the ball in when the Reds shoot towards their favoured end in the second half, epitomising the 12th man ethos.

  1. Elland Road – Leeds United

Credit: Leeds United FC

Bielsa’s boys would be up already if the EFL could hand out bonus points for volume. Packed to the rafters week in week out, Leeds supporters consistently manage to replicate the raucous chanting of an away end on all four sides of their stadium – Elland Road puts many of the top teams in the land to shame.

  1. The City Ground – Nottingham Forest

Credit: Getty Images

Another traditional Championship venue that makes a habit of outshining many top flight stadiums, the City Ground has been rocking again since the new owners took over. Floodlit games on the banks of the misty Trent can make regular fixtures feel like playoffs, as the hosts push for promotion on the pitch.

  1. Goodison Park – Everton

Credit: Crystal Palace FC

The character of Goodison Park’s pillared old stands, right on top of the pitch and in the faces of visiting teams, contributes to an enviable home record. Never shy to let their feelings known to officials or the opposition, the noise generated by the Everton faithful can give their team a boost and enhance entertainment.

  1. Stamford Bridge – Chelsea

Credit: Chelsea FC

Chelsea’s west London fortress is always full and intimate by the standards of top teams. Wrongly seen as the spiritual home Roy Keane’s prawn-sandwich brigade, Stamford Bridge can generate a gladiatorial, theatre-like atmosphere despite high ticket prices and plenty of hospitality – particularly for big, evening games.


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