The UK is the birthplace of football (or soccer in the USA). And if you’re a sporting fan, a visit to the UK presents many opportunities to explore football stadiums and indulge your passion.
Did you know that in the 1860s, a group of 12 London clubs met in a Covent Garden pub to discuss and agree on an official set of rules for the game of football, which had become popular around the country. The group called themselves the Football Association. The FA still exists today, with the FA Cup final traditionally taking place in Wembley Stadium – which also happens to be the first stadium on our list!
Wembley is the largest stadium in the UK and has a capacity of 90,000. It was originally built to house the British Empire Exhibition and the plan was to demolish it after. Instead, it was bought and transformed into a football stadium. The stadium was eventually demolished in 2002 and replaced by the current Wembley stadium in 2007. You can take a tour of Wembley Stadium – home to the English national football team. Learn about the history of the game, see the England team’s dressing room, the Royal Box and more.
Home to the world-famous football team Manchester United, Old Trafford is the UK’s second largest football venue with a capacity of 75,731. The stadium was built in 1909 and the first home game was played in February 1910. The match was against Liverpool and Man Utd lost 4-3! The Germans bombed the stadium in 1941 during WWII and it reopened in 1949. If you’re a die-hard fan, you’ll definitely want to get tickets to a Premier League game at Old Trafford.
The largest stadium in Scotland, Celtic Park (home to Celtic Football Club) has a capacity of 60,411. It was the first football ground to have a double decker stand, built in 1898. Fans have nicknamed the stadium Parkhead or Paradise.
With a capacity of 60,338, Emirates Stadium opened in 2006, replacing Arsenal’s old ground Highbury, which lacked capacity and space for expansion. The old Highbury ground was converted into apartments and still bears a heavy resemblance to the old football ground. Its relatively central location makes this the perfect destination for football fans visiting London.
Originally built for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, the stadium became Manchester City‘s home ground in 2003. With an impressive capacity of 55,000, there’s a possibility it may grow to 60,000 in the future. Learn about the club’s history, visit the dressing rooms, the tunnel and sit in the manager’s chair on an Etihad Stadium tour.
Which football ground do you most want to visit?
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Images from Kitty Terwolbeck, Lee Thomas, Saadick Dhansay, nuklr.dave, Kieran Clarke and JamesDPhotography via Flickr.