Over the last few weeks I have been mainly focused on the Olympics and while watching them over in England, I realized that the English Premier League should be starting soon. Sure enough, next Saturday is Opening Day (though I’m sure there’s a different phrase used that I can’t come up with). While following the EPL over the last few years, I’ve found that the league has the best variety of sports stadiums around. Very old ones, new ones, small ones and big ones, each ground is quite unique from the other. Manchester United’s Old Trafford is the largest and likely most hallowed with a Yankee Stadium type appeal. Like many of the other older stadiums, it has been renovated several times, however the 1910 design date is remarkable in that it makes the Theatre of Dreams older than Fenway Park. Even more remarkable is that it is not even closest to being the oldest. Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool, Everton, Fulham, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Tottenham all play in grounds built in the 1800s! London’s White Hart Lane, home to Tottenham is one of my favorites. Some of the newer stadiums are palaces, like Emirates Stadium for Arsenal and Etihad Stadium for Man City. No matter the ground, there always seems to be unique characters to each one. Plus you gotta love the names! Hearing “We’re live from Anfield” or “White Hart Lane” or “Carrow Road” is better than “BBVA Compass Stadium”
For those in the States, it is obviously quite difficult to visit these stadiums, though I highly recommend putting a trip to England together during the season. If you can’t make it, there are some good websites out there that do a nice job chronicling the stadiums and crazy atmosphere’s there. I’ve mentioned Stadium Journey several times before and the reviews there are worldwide. Many of the 2012-2013 teams have been reviewed and there are even some 2nd and 3rd division teams in there. One of the best websites specifically focused on English Football is the Football Ground Guide. Each stadium has a great overview of the design and experience, plus there are some really good pictures of the grounds. Excellent stuff.