The 2018-19 Premier League season will kick off on August 11. Twenty teams will compete in this year's league and 20 stadiums will be featured. Actually, 21 stadiums will be used in the Premier League this term as Tottenham Hotspur will start at Wembley before moving into their new arena in September. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cardiff City, and Fulham have all three returned to the Premier League and brought their own stadiums and supporters with them.
The Premier League is the wealthiest soccer league in the world. Collectively, the Premier League's clubs make £1.7 billion more than the clubs in German, which is the world's second richest league. While the clubs in English top-flight have plenty of money to go around on players and salaries, the league's stadiums aren't always the most attractive. Of course, there are those Premier League stadiums that are historic and completely unforgettable. Stadiums like Old Trafford, Anfield, and a few others are still perfect places to watch world-class soccer every other week.
The English Premier League is the most watched league in the world. Its television contracts mean the league earns more money than others around the globe. With more eyes on the Premier League and more people traveling to England to watch soccer, more clubs may begin to expand their stadiums to accommodate fans.
20 Bournemouth – Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium is the smallest soccer venue in the Premier League in terms of attendance. The club can accommodate just 11,360 supporters on matchday. That is over 10,500 fewer spectators than the second smallest stadium in the 2018-19 Premier League. Bournemouth was playing in League Two less than a decade ago.
The club experienced a sudden and unexpected rise to the Premier League, which is one of the reasons it plays in such a small venue.
In fact, the Vitality Stadium is the second smallest stadium to ever feature in the Premier League. Oldham Football Club's stadium has the privilege of being No. 1. Bournemouth will compete in its fourth straight Premier League season this coming term. Under Eddie Howe's management, the club and stadium have quickly become a fixture in the English top-flight.
19 Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace's home stadium Selhurst Park is located in south London. The Eagles are one of six Premier League teams from the English capital competing in the competition in 2018-19. Opened in 1924, Selhurst Park looks its age from the outside and the stadium is quite run down. Premier League fans from outside the United Kingdom may be surprised by just how run down the venue is, especially with the amount of money being made by Premier League teams thanks to the current television contracts.
In April 2018, renovations and expansion of the stadium were approved. Currently able to seat just over 25,400 fans, Selhurst Park's capacity will be increased to 34,000. While the outside of the stadium doesn't look great, the atmosphere created inside is one of the Premier League's best when the Eagles are soaring.
18 Burnley – Turf Moor
Burnley is a small town north of Manchester with a population under 75,000 people. The town isn't anything special, but it does have a soccer club that has existed in the Premier League since 2016. The 2018-19 season will see Burnley play in the Premier League for the third consecutive term and the club' Turf Moor stadium will see 19 home matches played on its pitch.
The stadium, or at least the land, dates back to 1833. Cricket was the original sport played at Turf Moor and not soccer. In February 1883, it debuted as the home ground of Burnley and the club has been playing there ever since. The small ground does have a history as Burnley won two English top-flight titles in 1921 and 1960. It is the Premier League's second smallest venue holding 21,944 fans.
17 Huddersfield – John Smith's Stadium
Huddersfield has a lot of soccer history. The club won three First Division titles in three seasons between 1923 and 1926. The club was runners-up on three other occasions. However, after those salad days of the 1920s, success dried up. Only recently did Huddersfield return to the Premier League as the club played in the lower leagues of English football between 1972 and 2017. John Smith's Stadium (named after John Smith's Brewery which currently holds naming rights) was opened in 1994.
It holds just over 24,000 fans and doubles as the home stadium for the Huddersfield Giants Rugby League club.
The stadium has a unique design that was also used in the building of former Premier League club Bolton Wanderers' stadium. The roof over each stand is curved rather than the straight, boxy look many English stadiums have.
16 Cardiff City – Cardiff City Stadium
The Cardiff City Stadium returns to the Premier League this season as the Bluebirds return after winning promotion from the Championship. Cardiff City plays in one of the few Premier League venues to be built after the year 2000. In fact, the club currently plays its home games in the third youngest stadium in the league. Opened in 2009, the venue cost £48 million to construct.
It holds 33,300 fans making it the 11th largest stadium in the Premier League in terms of capacity. Cardiff City will hope the stadium is much luckier than the last time the club played in the Premier League. The Bluebirds spent the 2013-14 season in the top-flight but were relegated after finishing in last place. Cardiff City won just five times and scored 20 goals during that season at home.
15 Brighton & Hove Albion – Amex Stadium
Brighton's Amex Stadium is the second youngest stadium in the Premier League. Opened in 2011, the venue was a welcome change from the club's previous home Withdean Stadium. When Brighton moved into the Amex, the club had basically been homeless since 1997 when it was kicked out of the Goldstone Ground by developers who demolished the stadium and built a shopping center. The Amex holds over 30,600 fans which means it is the seventh smallest in this season's Premier League.
The stadium may not be the biggest, but it is modern.
The Premier League needs more modern venues that showcase the size and financial might of English soccer. Brighton will play its second straight Premier League season in 2018-19. The club spent more than three decades outside the top-flight, but now the club is on the verge of having an extended run the Premier League.
14 Everton – Goodison Park
Everton'sGoodisonPark is less than a one-mile walk from Liverpool's Anfield. The distance between the clubs couldn't be larger, however. Goodison has been the home of Everton Football club since 1892. It was that season that the club moved from Anfield, thus creating Everton's archrivals Liverpool, who was founded to play at the vacant stadium. Known as the "Grand Old Lady", Goodison has plenty of history and nostalgia for Everton supporters. It is one of the world's oldest purpose-built soccer stadiums. Unfortunately, it looks it from the outside.
The stadium holds over 40,000 supporters per match and its old, traditional design makes Goodison a favorite amongst those fans calling for the "good old days" before the Premier League featured players making millions of pounds. Due to Goodison's age and the club's inability to expand and modernize it further, Everton is planning a new 50,000-plus seat stadium. It may not be long until Goodison is a memory.
13 Watford – Vicarage Road
Watford's quaint 23,700 seat Vicarage Road Stadium is the third smallest in the Premier League currently. Opened in 1922, the stadium has seen the ups and downs of Watford Football Club. More recently, the club has seen success in the Premier League. Watford and Vicarage Road have been a fixture in the English top-flight since 2015. That same year, club owners the Pozzo family, began work on the stadium. Vicarage Road has been undergoing expansion work that has even seen the playing surface expanded.
While Watford's stadium may not have Premier League winning history to its name, it does have a famous pop star's name on one of the four stands.
Sir Elton John has been a Watford fan his entire life. In 1976, the pop star became Watford's chairman and held the position until 1987. Ten years later, John returned for another tenure as chairman until 2002. Vicarage Road's east stand was named after John in 2014 to thank him for his decades of support to the club.
12 Wolverhampton – Molineux
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux Stadium will make a triumphant return to the Premier League for the 2018-19 season. The club is currently funded by Chinese company Fosun International. The owners have poured millions into the club and last season's Championship campaign saw Wolves power their way to promotion under Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Although Wolverhampton has been out of the Premier League for several years, Molineux has history few other British soccer grounds possess. Molineux was one of the first British soccer stadiums to install lights in the 1950s. It enabled the club to play matches against other European teams at night during the week.
In the 1990s when British soccer stadiums were mandated to upgrade and get with the times, Molineux was considered one of the most modern following renovations. At the turn of the decade, Wolves put forth a four-tier development plan to further modernize Molineux. The stadium is still undergoing upgrades and the club plans for it to hold 50,000 supporters once it is finished. Now, if the club can just get rid of the Asda that is located next door, Molineux will really look great.
11 Southampton – St. Mary's
Southampton's St. Mary's Stadium is one of eight current Premier League venues built after the year 2000. It is the Premier League's 10th smallest stadium in terms of capacity. St. Mary's is a modern venue for soccer matches and its one-tiered stands give optimal sightlines to fans compared to older British grounds. The stadium is similar in look to many of the other soccer stadiums built between 2000 and 2010. So, there is less character than in those venues originally constructed a century ago.
St. Mary's looks the part of a Premier League stadium and sitting in its stands makes supporters feel like Southampton is definitely a top-flight team.
The club nearly lost its Premier League status at the end of the 2017-18 season. However, manager Mark Hughes avoided relegation on the last day of the season to preserve Premier League soccer for the coming term.
10 Leicester City – King Power Stadium
The King Power Stadium was the setting for one of the most unlikely Premier League title-winning campaigns. Leicester City, a perennial underdog with a wage bill much smaller than the league's top clubs, romped to the Premier League title playing exciting counter-attacking soccer. The club's support generates plenty of noise to back the Foxes and it is why the stadium is such a fun place to watch a match. Opened in 2002, the King Power Stadium holds just over 32,000 fans. The stadium is very similar in design to Southampton's St. Mary's.
However, the atmosphere created by the club's fans makes the King Power a better stadium to visit as a neutral.
Leicester will begin expanding and developing the ground further after permission was granted not long ago. The club want to increase the capacity to 42,000.
9 West Ham – London Stadium
West Ham moved into the London Stadium in 2016 after leaving the club's famed Boleyn Ground at the end of the previous season. Originally built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the venue was gifted to West Ham as one of two permanent residents. The other is the British Athletics organization. The stadium is disliked by a number of Hammers' supporters for its design and lack of atmosphere. It has been labeled as plastic, but once the ground develops some history, fans may come around.
Like many Olympic venues in the world, the London Stadium has a running track circling the pitch. It pushes the fans away from the action and takes away what could be a more intimidating atmosphere. The stadium will be the fourth largest in the Premier League this term. While it may not meet fans' standards during the 90-minute match, the stadium has great transport links and is completely modern, something the old Boleyn Ground wasn't.
8 Newcastle United – St. James' Park
Newcastle United is one of the best-supported clubs in England, and that is why St. James' Park is nearly full every matchday. Although Newcastle hasn't won the First Division/Premier League since 1927, the club's faithful still turns up and cheers on their Magpies. As the city's only soccer team, Newcastle United has a connection with its local fanbase other clubs can only dream of. The club has had many lean,trophy-less years, but support never seems to waver for the men in black and white.
The ground holds over 52,000 supporters and the noise that is generated can be deafening.
The stadium was originally built in 1892. Over a 100 years after opening, the club looked into building a new stadium to no avail. So, Newcastle expanded St. James' in 1998 into the venue that stands today. The expansion and redevelopment gave St. James' its current iconic look. Soccer isn't the only sport to be held at the jewel of the northeast. Rugby has been played on the St James' Park pitch over the years as well.
7 Manchester City – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City's rise to the top of English soccer has come over the last decade. The financial backing of owners City Football Group has made the club one of the most expensively assembled outfits in Europe. It is a fitting squad for the Etihad Stadium, which Manchester City moved into in 2003. Originally built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, the Etihad was converted from an athletics venue into a top-class soccer stadium. Compared to other stadiums built in the early 2000s, the Etihad doesn't possess the same designs. Its look inside and out is very different than other grounds in the Premier League and it gives the club a unique home.
The stadium's roof design was groundbreaking when it was built.
Fans can see the stadium from far off when approaching thanks to the cables and support system that stretch skywards. Due to its design, there isn't a bad seat in the house and the sightlines are unobstructed. The Etihad currently holds over 55,000 fans, but the club is set to expand that to more than 61,000 in the future.
6 Fulham – Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage is one of the smallest stadiums in 2018-19 Premier League. It contains only 25,700 fans when full. Craven Cottage is old as Fulham Football Club moved into the stadium in 1896. The combination of its history, quaint stature and some of the groovy aspects of the club make it one of the coolest venues to watch soccer in London. One of the cool aspects is the stadium has a real cottage incorporated into its design. The stadium is one of the most unique and charming in all of soccer. It is void of the modern amenities fans find in the United States or the grandiose stadiums of major soccer clubs around Europe. It is a humble little venue that houses a humble team from the west side of London.
While it is quaint, the stadium has had its rock 'n' roll moments.
Former Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed commissioned a Michael Jackson statue to be placed at Craven Cottage. Unveiled in 2011, fans of Fulham had no clue why it was on display outside the stadium. Jackson had no connection with Fulham whatsoever. When the club was taken over by Shahid Khan in 2013, he wisely donated the statue to the National Football Hall of Fame.
5 Chelsea – Stamford Bridge
Stamford Bridge was opened in 1877. It wasn't until 1905, however, that Chelsea Football Club moved into the stadium. The stadium's then owner, Gus Mears, founded Chelsea just to have a permanent resident at Stamford Bridge. Today, the club is one of the most successful teams of the Premier League era, and Stamford Bridge is a mecca for fans to travel to from around the world. It isn't just soccer that has been played on the turf of Stamford Bridge.
American football, baseball, rugby, cricket and even greyhound dog racing have taken place at the west London stadium.
Between 1933 and 1968, Stamford Bridge was one of the top London sites for greyhound racing. At the time, dog racing was one of the most popular pastimes of the working class, much like soccer. Stamford Bridge currently holds over 41,000 fans, but the club hopes to expand that figure to 60,000-plus. Due to the cost of building in west London and the limited space to put a new stadium, the club hopes to redevelop the ground into one of the top soccer venues in Britain. The plan is to complete the redevelopment by 2023, but right now, it doesn't look likely that target will be met.
4 Arsenal – Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium gets a lot of bad press from soccer fans. The ultra-modern stadium located in north London has been home to Arsenal since 2006. It took over for the club's old Highbury Park ground, which was loved by everyone including fans of opposing teams. The Emirates gives Arsenal a much more global appeal and it is much more fitting of a team that fancies itself as a top European soccer heavyweight.
The ground is stunning to look at, but proponents continually lambast it for lacking atmosphere. The same thing can be said about Manchester United's Old Trafford, however. Perhaps the lack of atmosphere could be more in tune with Arsenal's inability to win the Premier League since moving to the Emirates than anything else. The club's supporters will have a new manager to cheer on this season after longtime coach Arsene Wenger stepped down last May. If Arsenal start winning and contend for the Premier League title, then claims of a lack in atmosphere may subside.
3 Tottenham – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur is set to open its brand-new £1 billion stadia on September 15, 2018. The stadium will be the newest in English soccer and it will replace the club's old White Hart Lane. The old stadium was demolished at the end of the 2016-17 season forcing Tottenham to play at Wembley last term. Now, just over a year after leaving White Hart Lane, the club's shiny new venue is nearing completion. Once completed, the modern ground will be the second largest stadium in the Premier League holding over 62,000 fans.
The new ground will hold test events in August, but Tottenham will start the Premier League season at Wembley before moving into its new home a month later. In June 2018, it was reported that Tottenham had to remove 15,000 seats that had already been installed. According to reports, a manufacturing error meant they were faulty. Despite the setback, the stadium is still being pushed ahead for a September Premier League unveiling.
2 Liverpool – Anfield
Liverpool's Anfield is one of the most iconic soccer stadiums in the world. Opened in 1892, the venue has seen some of the greatest English soccer teams call it home. Since Boston Red Sox owners Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool and Anfield in 2010, the stadium has undergone constant renovation. Much of the stadium has been redone. The new main stand pushed capacity to over 54,000. The redevelopment was not only needed for the stadium, but it was needed for the club. As one of England's two best-supported teams, now more fans can see Liverpool home matches. It also allows for more revenue to be made by the Reds.
The stadium's most famous section, the Kop, is one of the most famed stands in all of soccer.
It is synonymous with Liverpool Football Club and home to its most fervent supporters. In European competitions, the Kop is famed for being able to 'suck the ball into the goal'. Many of Liverpool's games over the decades have been won thanks to the power of the stadium and the club's fanbase. Anfield does have its problems. Sightlines are restricted in certain areas as the roof can obstruct views. In addition, seating on the Kop is tight and uncomfortable. However, both are worth it to see Liverpool play at Anfield.
1 Manchester United – Old Trafford
Manchester United is as English as fish and chips and the queen. It is the best-supported club in England and more fans around the world support Manchester United than any other British club. David Beckham, George Best, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and the list goes on and on of the big names and top players that have played on the Old Trafford pitch. Known as "The Theater of Dreams", Old Trafford holds over 75,000 fans.
It has seen more Premier League titles (20) than any other English soccer stadium.
It is a fantastic stadium with a one of a kind museum and Munich Tunnel memorial dedicated to the players and coaches that lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. For Red Devil fans or neutrals, it is definitely a must-visit venue.
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