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Oldest Football Stadiums in the World

Sat 10 April 2021 | 13:30

What are the world's oldest football grounds? Where are they located? When were they built? Are these stadiums still hosting any match? If you are waiting for answers to these questions, keep reading this article to know more about the oldest football stadiums in the world.

It is mind-blowing to think that there are football stadiums that age more than 200 years, and to amuse you even more, it has to be noted that these stadiums are not just museums, some of them are still hosting matches occasionally.

Also besides football matches, some of these grounds have several times staged other sports events such as rugby matches. Even pop concerts have been hosted by a number of these stadiums!

The followings are everything you need to know about oldest football stadiums:

The first fact you need to know about the oldest football stadiums in the world is that most of them are located in England which proves the importance of this sporting activity for this country.

Portman Road

Starting with Portman Road which is literally 137 years old as it was founded in 1884. This football stadium was built in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

A fact about Portman Road, one of the

oldest football stadiums

around the globe

is that it has been

Ipswich Town

’s home ground ever since the stadium was built. Before moving to Portman Road, Ipswich Town used to hold its early matches at Broomhill Park.

Several times Portman Road hosted youth international games and only one international match at senior level which was in point of fact, a friendly fixture against

Croatia

in 2003.

Although beside football, this stadium has staged musical concerts, cricket matches, athletics meetings, Christian events, international hockey games and some other sporting events.

Later in 2002, Portman Road was renewed; therefore its capacity was expanded up to 30,311.

An interesting fact about Portman Road is that in 1914, the stadium was commandeered by the British Army during World War I. Allegedly, the ground was the army’s training camp for two years and it was released by the end of the war.

As a result, it took the stadium a few while to get ready since notable damages were caused by the heavy machinery that obviously required repair.

Anfield

The other stadium on the list of oldest football stadiums around the globe is Anfield that was built in the same year as Portman Road, 1884.

Although Anfield is located in Anfield, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, the origin of its name comes from Ireland, or more specifically an old townland called "Annefield" that is settled in New Ross, County Wexford in Ireland.

It was first the home ground of

Everton

football club from 1884 up until 1891; but after a dispute with the president of the club, they decided to move to Goodison Park. Therefore, the ground was ready for

Liverpool

F.C. to start playing there since 1892.

Anfield has four stands as well; they are called: the Spion Kop, the Main Stand, the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and the Anfield Road End. These stands all together hold the seating capacity of 53,394 people at the same time.

But in 1952 in Liverpool’s match against

Wolverhampton Wanderers

, the number of attendance rose up to 61,905.

This stadium has two gates that are actually named after two former Liverpool managers, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. To honour both of these managers, statues of them were built and placed just outside the stadium.

Also it is stated that there are some sort of plans to increase the stadium capacity up to 61,000.

Turf Moor

Built in 1883, Turf Moor is one of the

world’s oldest football stadiums

with the capacity of 21,944. Ever since the stadium was built, it has been

Burnely

’s home ground.

Turf Moor is located in Burnley, Lancashire, England which is also considered to be the second longest continuously used ground in English professional football.

There’s a fact about Turf Moor, one of the world's oldest football grounds which tells us that it originally used to be a cricket ground. Also in October 1886, Prince Albert Victor attended the game between Burnley and

Bolton Wanderers

which was being held in Turf Moor and made this stadium the very first senior football ground that a member of the Royal Family had ever visited.

Despite the truth that the seating capacity of Turf Moor as previously mentioned is 21,944, the record attendance is the number 54,775 that was set in 1924 for the 3rd round of FA Cup, the match between Burnley and

Huddersfield Town

.

After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 people accidentally died on the terraces of the Hillsborough Stadium, the introduction of all-seater stadiums was proposed in a report that made most of the football grounds including Turf Moor to make changes and finally convert to all-seater.

Ewood Park

The home of

Blackburn Rovers

, Ewood Park is one of the

oldest football stadiums in the world

with a history that goes back to 1882 when it was first founded. This football club used to play in Leamington Road before moving to Ewood Park.

Ewood Park that used to be called Ewood Bridge, is in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. The first match being held in this stadium occurred on 9 April 1881, Blackburn Rovers against

Sheffield Wednesday

.

Another fact about Ewood Park is that it has the seating capacity of 31,367. The size of this ground is said to be 105 m × 69 m.

The stands of Ewood Park are divided in four parts: Jack Walker Stand, The Bryan Douglas Darwen End, Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End, and Riverside Stand.

Jack Walker stand was named after the industrialist of Blackburn who was one of the biggest supporters of the club as well. Also the Riverside Stand’s was decided considering the fact that it literally stands on the banks of the River Darwen.

Besides hosting the matches of Blackburn Rovers, Ewood Park has several times staged some other matches such as the 1941 Football League War Cup Final Replay, 2002 Great Britain's rugby league test match against New Zealand, the international games between

England

and

Scotland

in 1891 and England and Wales in 1924, Six FA Cup semi-finals between the years 1893 and 1947, numerous England U21 internationals such England versus Wales in 2004 and two matches of Women's Euro 2005 as well.

Also another fact about Ewood Park is that in June 2017, this stadium hosted a concert by Elton John.

Deepdale

Built in 1875, Deepdale is the home ground of

Preston North End

football club in an area with the same name in Preston, England.

An interesting fact about Deepdale is that it is mostly known as the oldest 'continuously used' football stadium in the whole wide world. The ground was initially a farm, but later it was leased for cricket and rugby; however, the first use of this land for professional football, took place on 5 October 1878.

The record league attendance at Deepdale was actually 4 times more than its original capacity which back then was over 10,000. It was in fact, a Preston North End match against

Arsenal

that attracted 42,684 people to come and watch the game in the stadium.

There’s a statue of Sir Tom Finney outside the stand named after him which was inspired by a photo that according to Finney himself won the Sports Photograph of the Year award in 1956.

Deepdale has also staged two England Under-19s Elite Qualifying Round matches between Slovenia and Switzerland, three group matches of the 2005 UEFA Women's Championship as well as a semi-final and the England Under-21s over Iceland in March 2011.

Rodney Parade

Rodney Parade was first established in 1877 as a rugby ground by the Welsh Rugby Union. It is located in Newport, South Wales on the east bank of the River Usk in Newport city center, holding the seating capacity of 8,700 for rugby matches and 7,850 for football.

This 144 year old stadium is at the same time home ground of

Newport County

football club, Dragons regional rugby union team and Newport rugby union club.

Rodney Parade has two stands, one on the western side of the ground named Compeed Stand and the other on the eastern side called Bisley Stand.

Rodney Parade has hosted only one international football match which was between

Wales

and England women's national football team on 31 August 2018 in a 0-3 loss.

However, six rugby international matches have took place in this ground so far, the first one on 12 January 1884 and the last one happened to be a friendly match over France on 25 March 1912.

Stamford Bridge

Stamford Bridge or mostly known as The Bridge is also one of the other

oldest football stadiums in world

located in Fulham, Chelsea, South West London. It was initially created in 1876 by the Scottish architect, Archibald Leitch and up until 1905 was used by the London Athletic Club.

But later, when the Premier League club,

Chelsea

was founded, Stamford Bridge became the home ground of this English football team.

The capacity of this stadium is said to be 41,387 but the attendance record is a lot more than that: 82,905 people were present to watch the match between Chelsea and Arsenal on 12 October 1935.

A rather fun fact about Stamford Bridge is that it is somehow considered to be a derivative of the word "Samfordesbrigge" which simply means "the bridge at the sandy ford".

Also the size of the ground is approximately around 103.3 m × 67.7 m.

Tannadice Park

Next item on the list of

oldest stadium in the world

is Tannadice Park or mainly known as Tannadice. This stadium which was constructed in 1882 by Jake Paul, is located in Dundee, Scotland.

The first name that was given to Tannadice was decided to be Clepington Park and it was mostly used by some of the local clubs including Dundee East End, Dundee Wanderers, Dundee Violet and Johnstone Wanderers. But in 1909 when the ground was leased by Dundee Hibernian, its name also changed to Tannadice Park.

Tannadice Park has also been the home ground of

Dundee United

football club since 1909 when the club was founded. Another fact about Tannadice Park, one of the oldest stadium around the globe is that with the seating capacity of 14,223, the ground first became all-seated in 1994.

But the record attendance of this 139 year old stadium shows the number 28,000 which is almost twice the real seating capacity. This number goes back to the match between Dundee United and

Barcelona

that took place on 16 November 1966.

The stadium was inactive during World War II, but on 1 January 1941 it hosted a boxing match with the presence of 3,500 spectators.

Field Mill Stadium

Field Mill is the name of one of the oldest football stadiums in the world and it was built in 1850 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. However, nowadays this ground is widely called One Call Stadium due to sponsorship reasons.

Field Mill is currently the home ground of

Mansfield Town

football club. The actual capacity of this stadium is said to be 10,000 but because of safety restrictions, it is limited to the seating capacity of 9,186.

Another fact about One Call Stadium, one of the

oldest soccer stadiums in the world

is that once this ground hosted a pop concert but then immediately after the show, the use of the stadium for non-sport events was banned until 2023.

One Call Stadium has been renovated twice; once in 1999 and the second time in 2001. On 10 January 1953, the ground staged a game between Mansfield Town and

Nottingham Forest

for which 24,467 people came to watch the match.

A new professional rugby league club named as Mansfield Marksman, was set up in Mansfield in 1984 but they only played at Field Mill for their first two seasons. After two years, the club moved to North Street in Alfreton in 1986 due to financial problems.

The current owner of the ground is John Radford.

Bramall Lane

And finally the oldest football stadium in the world and the home ground of the Premier League club

Sheffield United

: Bramall Lane. It was constructed in 1855 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England and like some of the other old football clubs, it was initially used as a cricket ground.

The first football match hosted by Bramall Lane was between Sheffield United and Hallam football club on 29 December 1862. The main purpose of holding this game was to raise money for the Lancashire Distress Fund.

With a history that stretches up to 166 years, this stadium is still hosting professional football games with the seating capacity of 32,050.

Before building a national stadium in London, Bramall Lane used to host numerous international matches including the match between England and Scotland on 10 March 1883 which was also their first game being held outside London or even Glasgow.

Known as the largest stadium in the city of Sheffield throughout the 19th century, most of the important matches had been held there; such games as the world's first football tournament or known as the Youdan Cup.

However, the record attendance for Bramall Lane goes back to 15 February 1936, the fifth round of FA Cup in a match between Sheffield United and

Leeds United

. The exact number of the attendance was 68,287 during the match.

The ground was first renovated in 1966 and was expanded twice in 2001 and 2006. Also it is noteworthy to mention the size of the stadium which is 101 × 68 meters.

 

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