Ranking the 20 Premier League Stadiums
With a month-and-a-half having passed in the new Premier League season, many new fans to the top tier of English football have surely noticed the different ambiences at each match.
This stark contrast arises from the diverse stadiums and locales of each club.
After all, some teams have quite a bit more money to spend in the structure of English football, allowing some clubs to build incredible structures with beautiful fields of grass.
Still, what some stadiums lack in beauty, the club's fans more than make up for in ambience.
So what are the best grounds in England's top flight?
Let's rank the 20 Premier League stadiums.
20. The Britannia Stadium
Club: Stoke City
While The Britannia Stadium may look pretty cool, it has to be the strangest Premier League ground.
Only one corner of the stands is actually filled with seats, as the other three are left completely open.
This not only limits the number of fans who can attend, but it also opens up any supporters to the elements. Further, these open corners dampen the effect of the passionate Stoke supporters, eliminating the cauldron effect.
As a result, the enjoyment of anyone in attendance is negatively affected.
Then again, if you're a neutral attending a Stoke match, enjoyment probably isn't at the front of your mind.
19. Selhurst Park
Club: Crystal Palace
Selhurst Park is a relatively small ground with lesser facilities. With a club centered in London, this spells some trouble, as traffic and food lines can be a pain.
However, there is something charming about the stands, where every seat has a clear view of the pitch and feels like it's on the field.
Still, the small size detracts from the atmosphere in Palace matches, despite the verve of all the supporters.
18. Carrow Road
Club: Norwich City
If nothing else, Carrow Road is certainly one of a kind.
The stadium underwent quite a few renovations over the past few years, putting in a few high-tech gadgets and bringing everything up to date.
The Holiday Inn hotel right in the center of the stands is an interesting twist, allowing those staying in a room to watch matches right out their front window.
However, the stadium is not very aesthetically pleasing.
17. St. Mary's Stadium
Saint Mary's is a stadium with a lot of promise, as it's relatively new and has a lot of redeeming qualities.
However, every good point the stadium has is diminished by a lack of atmosphere.
After all, the attendance has not been something to write home about in the decade that St. Mary's has been open.
The attendance numbers have increased recently, though, especially since Southampton entered the Premier League last season.
Still, there is lots of room for improvement.
16. The Hawthorns
Club: West Bromwich Albion
No, The Hawthorns is not the biggest ground in the Premier League.
However, what the stadium lacks in sheer size, it more than makes up for in practicality.
After all, West Brom is not the biggest club in terms of finances or fanbase, so a big stadium would be silly.
In fact, the relatively small size of The Hawthorns allows the Baggies' supporters to show their awesome devotion to the club.
Nothing wrong with this ground.
15. KC Stadium
Club: Hull City
The exterior of the KC stadium is one of the most beautiful in the Premier League, with the relatively new stadium sitting in a gorgeous region of Hull.
While the capacity is relatively small, the Tigers' time outside of the Premier League saw a steep decline in attendance.
With Hull back in the Premier League, though, the club will be hoping for the attendance to rise back up in order to create the atmosphere they had a few years ago.
14. Liberty Stadium
As one of the newest stadiums in the Premier League, the Liberty Stadium is one of the freshest looking buildings from the outside, an all-white home to the Swans.
However, it's capacity is one of the smaller across England's top flight, detracting from the atmosphere on the inside.
Still, the roof over the majority of the stands is a nice touch, giving this Welsh ground some character.
13. Boleyn Ground
Club: West Ham United
West Ham's Boleyn Ground is a stadium with quite a bit of history, as made obvious by Bobby Moore's statue at the ground.
The Hammers supporters make the best out of the small ground, blowing bubbles at the start of each match and raucously supporting their team.
The Downtown East London feel is evident even inside the stadium, with an obvious apartment building rising right next door and adding a quirk to the atmosphere.
It will be a shame when West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium, and this one is left vacated.
12. Cardiff City Stadium
Club: Cardiff City
The Cardiff City stadium isn't going to blow anyone away with its size or capacity, but it sure makes up for it in its state-of-the-art facilities.
The newest stadium in the Premier League, the Welsh palace is already hosting many of Wales' national team games.
What's more, the Cardiff supporters have already shown signs of carrying their team with the atmosphere they create in this stadium.
11. Goodison Park
A good size and a beautiful pitch make Goodison Park a great staple of the Premier League ground.
However, a few issues, including some sight obstructions, have made Goodison look a bit less than ideal.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Everton have been actively pursuing a new stadium for the better part of 20 years.
Still, it is nice that a ground this old is still hosting Premier League matches regularly.
10. Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage is the definition of a throwback, as it stands as a testament to every old stadium in England.
"The Cottage" sits on the banks of the Thames in Southwest London, offering a beautiful locale to the Premier League.
The beautiful brick exterior and the protruding roof over the seats makes the ground seem like a real cottage, creating a special ambience in the winter when it snows in London.
However, Fulham supporters are surely sad to see the stadium's prized Michael Jackson statue taken away this week.
9. Stadium of Light
The Stadium of Light is quite a nice ground, with some of the best facilities in the Premier League.
While the atmosphere at the stadium might not be the greatest, especially at the moment, the stadium itself should not take any blame.
It's quite a place to watch a match.
8. White Hart Lane
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
White Hart Lane is an old stadium with big history, but has done a decent job in keeping up with the times.
Still, what the Lane lacks in terms of high-tech refurbishments and beauty, it more than makes up for in atmosphere.
Spurs fans will attest that sitting in the stands gives you the feeling of being on top of the action, a phenomenon that is captured by television broadcasts as they have to pan down to capture the sidelines.
This gives the stadium the feel of a cauldron, perhaps lending itself to a home-field advantage.
What's more, it offers yet another quirk for the television audience, providing one with the sensation of actually being at these matches.
7. Stamford Bridge
If one attends a match at Stamford Bridge without prior knowledge, they would surely be surprised to see that the stadium is over 100 years old.
With all the money Chelsea has, a lot of renovations have taken place over the past several years.
Unlike many old grounds, this one is set up perfectly, allowing everyone in the stands to enjoy the match.
Even beautiful electronic screens flank the pitch, giving one the feeling that this is a new park.
With the capacity to fit a great deal of supporters, this is a great home for England's most recent European champions.
6. Villa Park
Club: Aston Villa
Villa Park has become a strange ground over the past few decades.
While it was once one of the best stadiums in England, it's now lost some of its glory.
The view inside the stadium is quite bright and beautiful, but the outside has become quite dull.
Yes, the Villan supporters are still some of the most raucous in the world. However, they surely long for the times when this ground had standing terraces.
5. Etihad Stadium
Club: Manchester City
It's hard to find much wrong with the Etihad Stadium.
It has all the luxury feel of a new stadium, has no obstructed views from the stands and is architecturally stunning.
The only downside is the distance from the pitch to the stands, which isn't ideal for fans and detracts slightly from the atmosphere of the match.
4. The Emirates
The Emirates has so much going for it.
It's the second-newest stadium in the Premier League. It has the best facilities, bar none. It's pitch is, by far, the best in England, if not Europe.
However, while it might be a joy to play at the Emirates, it's not exactly a joy to watch a match there.
For whatever reason, the atmosphere did not carry over from Highbury, leaving matches with a bit of an empty feeling.
Perhaps, this is something that will be fixed when the Gunners win their first trophy at this new park.
3. St. James' Park
Club: Newcastle United
St. James' Park certainly has the volume, seating over 50,000 people in its hallowed grounds.
The way those seats are dispersed is unique as well, as the home stands are slightly smaller compared to an away stand that stretches so high, and so far, it could have a supporter over 1,300 feet from the action.
This gives the home supporters a distinct advantage, but also discourages attendance for those with acrophobia.
Anfield has all the history and character one could want in a stadium, with numerous storied matches being played on that ground.
Anfield's not the biggest, newest or most beautiful stadium in the Premier League, but don't tell that to the Liverpool fans who attend the matches and make the atmosphere special.
Even as a rival supporter, one might find themselves getting chills at the crowd's rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the start of each match.
1. Old Trafford
Club: Manchester United
Old Trafford is, by far, the largest stadium in the Premier League.
Don't think that waters down the atmosphere, though.
As the world's most valuable sports franchise, United is able to fill the seats with eager fans, making any match one attends a true event.
So there's my list.
Obviously, these are all opinions based on my personal experiences.
If you disagree on any of these or want to argue a point, let me know in the comments below. I'm always ready to reconsider my positions and explain my own point of view.
Meanwhile, be sure to follow me on Twitter at the link below.
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