A Controversial List Of The Best And Worst Football Stadiums In The World
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In honour of the football season kicking off this week, here is a completely subjective list of the best and worst football grounds in the world. You are going to hate one of these selections. Enjoy.
Best - Westfalenstadion, Borussia Dortmund
The best stadium in Europe (and perhaps the world) at the moment has to be Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. It has a capacity of 81,360 and the Südtribüne, also known as the Yellow Wall, is the largest standing terrace in Europe, housing 24,545 spectators, or tifosi. A standing ticket costs just €11 and it does not hurt that for the past decade the team has played some spectacular football with exciting young players.
La Bombonera, Boca Juniors
If you are looking for passion, there is perhaps no better place in the world than La Bombonera (which translates as the chocolate box) especially when Boca Juniors play hated Buenos Aires rivals River Plate in the superclasico. The steep stands bring the supporters close to the pitch and, as with teams across South America, the fans keep up the noise and chanting throughout the entire game.
Pancho Arena, Puskás Akadémia
It is small and in a town you have probably never heard of, but on an architectural level the Pancho Arena in Felcsút, Hungary, is a giant. Famous stadiums are often called cathedrals or temples of sport, but the design of the 3,816-stadium is actually reminiscent of a church. The team that plays there, Puskás Akadémia, is a youth team set up in memory of Ferenc Puskás, Hungary’s greatest player ever.
Stadion Gospin Dolac, NK Imotski
This is another small stadium in a small town that is quite spectacular. The 4,000-capacity Stadion Gospin Dolac was built into the cliffs of its small Croatian town. There is a grandstand on one side, and on the other is a cliff that houses the ruins of a 10th-century fort and church. Just alongside the stadium is a sinkhole filled with a bright blue lake.
Worst - Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur
Calm down, there is a logic here. Wembley is a spectacular stadium (although for £800M it should be) and the walk along Wembley Way from the tube station to the ground is one of the great experiences in football. But for the club teams that have been forced to play matches there while their new grounds are developed it has been a disaster. In the 1990s Arsenal had to play its Champions League matches there for two seasons, and crashed out of the competition both times. The same happened to Tottenham Hotspur last year, and this year Spurs have to play their home games there. In spite of its 90,000 capacity, Wembley can feel like an away ground for the team at home, creating a big disadvantage.
London Stadium, West Ham United
A second London national stadium makes this list, and for a similar reason — it just is not a football stadium, and grounds with running tracks often lack atmosphere because the supporters are so far away from the action. West Ham United had such an inauspicious start to its time at the ground that supporters were fighting among themselves.
Yankee Stadium, New York City FC
In a similar vein, Bisnow Editor-in-Chief Mark Bonner nominated the stadium where his own team, NYCFC, plays. Yankee Stadium may be one of the most venerable venues in baseball, but it does not lend itself to soccer, with the fans far away from a pitch that sits uncomfortably on the baseball outfield.
Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers
Now we are in to the ranks of the purely ugly. Tucked away off a busy London high street, Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road has a frontage that looks like a 1970s council-built office block rather than a football stadium.
Stade Louis II, A.S. Monaco
It has a spectacular location next to the Mediterranean and some fancy arches down one end, but Monaco’s Stade Louis II is still one of the worst places to watch football in the world. The pitch sits atop a large car park, which by all accounts makes it rock hard to play on. And the Monagasques very rarely turn out to watch their team, meaning the 18,523-seat stadium is hardly ever full, even when, as last season, the team is one of the most exciting in Europe.