Football is steeped in history and stadiums around the UK become second homes for a lot of fans as they flood to support their teams. There is a fortress mentality about playing at home, and dedicated support plays a part in defending that territory by volume over any visiting support.
Many Premier League clubs have moved into new stadiums during the last couple of decades, with the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Man City all having been uprooted. Soon, Everton will head across the city of Liverpool into their new home too.
These moves also mean that some of the great old stadiums of UK football disappear into the annals of history, consigned only to lingering memories and photographs.
Part of the fantastic, rich history of football are the stadiums, those theatres of drama that have been host to many heartbreaking and joyous moments. Here, we have a look at some of the longest-standing football stadiums in the UK.
This is a venue that needs no introduction. Liverpool’s Anfield has stood on the banks of the Mersey since 1884. Famed for the ‘The Kop’, it is one of the most famous grounds in the world and currently has a capacity of around 54,000. Liverpool, who took up residence in 1892, has played many memorable nights of domestic and European football at the stadium.
Sheffield United’s home, Bramall Lane in Yorkshire, was opened in 1855 and it is still going strong today. The first match was played back in 1862 at the venue. It is once again a Premier League stadium, with the Blades having been promoted back to the top flight for the 2023/24 campaign. Today, Bramall Lane has an all-seater capacity of 32,000.
Celtic Park has stood in the heart of Glasgow since 1892. The home of Celtic, Scotland’s most successful club, the venue is the biggest in Scotland, with a capacity of 60,000. Celtic Park hosted the 1960 European Cup Final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt. Also known as Parkhead, the venue has a close neighbour in Ibrox Stadium, the home of their great rivals, Rangers.
Rangers played their first match at Ibrox in 1887. The venue set a staggering British attendance record in 1939 for a football match. Nearly 120,000 people crammed into the ground to watch the Old Firm derby against Celtic. The ground underwent massive safety redevelopment in 1971, following the Ibrox disaster that sadly led to numerous deaths.
Preston’s Deepdale is one of the oldest grounds still in use in the UK. The venue has been hosting football since 1878. It is known as the oldest continuously used football stadium in the world. After renovations, Deepdale is currently an all-seater stadium at 23,000 capacity. Preston, whose latest matches can currently be found among EFL tips, were last in the top flight in the 1960-61 and currently operate in the second tier.
St James’ Park
St James’ Park is the home of Newcastle United FC. It is one of the most famous stadiums in England, with a capacity of around 52,000 and has been hosting football matches since 1880, although the Magpies didn’t move in until 1892. The stadium is instantly recognisable as it’s a little different from most modern grounds. It’s visually striking, because half of the stadium is much higher than the other due to redevelopment issues, and it’s perched prominently, castle-like, on top of a hill.
Everton are set to move to their new home for the start of the 2024/25 season, which means the end of the long usage of Goodison Park. It has been home to Everton since 1892, but the club have invested heavily in a new place at Bramley-Moore Dock, with the current site going into redevelopment.
Mansfield Town’s home has hosted many sports during its time, with the first football match there believed to have been played around 1861, which would make it the oldest ground in the football league. The Stags moved into the venue in 1919 and the Nottinghamshire stadium has around a 10,000 capacity.
Burnley’s ground Turf Moor has had unbroken service since 1883. Turf Moor holds the record for the most continuously used ground to have been in the Premier League, which is where the Clarets are currently. The capacity of Turf Moor is around 21,000.
Ipswich Town’s Portman Road has been going since 1884 and is another of the great historical football stadiums in the UK. It’s an impressive 30,000 capacity that the Suffolk-based Portman Road boasts, following upgrades at the turn of the century.