1. Bramall Lane – Sheffield United
The oldest recorded football stadium in the United Kingdom, Bramall Lane was opened in 1855. It has been home to Sheffield United Football Club since 1889. The stadium is named after the Bramall family who owned local businesses around the area. Bramall Lane is in fact, the oldest in the world to still be staging professional football matches. Sheffield United plays in Sky Bet League 1, English football’s third tier.
2. Field Mill – Mansfield Town
Home to Mansfield Town Football Club since 1919, Field Mill has been hosting football matches dating back to 1861 (there are unconfirmed reports that matches were held on the site as early as 1850) The original grass area at Quarry Lane where the ground is situated was originally used as a recreation area for the employees of the Greenhalgh & Sons works; land that was rented from the Duke of Portland.
3. The Racecourse Ground – Wrexham
Opened in 1864, the stadium has been home to Wrexham Football Club ever since. The Guinness Book of Records still recognises the ground as the oldest in the world to still be hosting international football matches. The Welsh national team played its first match there in 1877. Wrexham currently play in the Vanarama National League, the top-flight of Non-League football.
4. Deepdale – Preston North End
The area where the stadium sits was formerly Deepdale Farm. Preston North End Football Club moved into the ground in 1878 although Deepdale has hosted football matches since its completion in 1875. Initially also used by the town’s cricket and rugby clubs, it hosted its first association football match in October 1878. From 2001 until 2010, it was also home to the National Football Museum. The club currently plays in the Sky Bet Championship, the second tier of English football.
5. Stamford Bridge – Chelsea
Opened in 1877, the stadium was used by the London Athletic Club until 1905 when new owner Gus Mears founded Chelsea Football Club (who have occupied the stadium ever since). As well as football, Stamford Bridge has also played host to baseball, rugby union, speedway and greyhound racing. Around five minutes’ walk from Fulham Broadway Underground station and with a capacity of 41,798, it is the eighth largest stadium in English football’s top-flight.
6. Cappielow Park – Greenock Morton
Home to Greenock Morton Football Club since 1879, Cappielow Park sits on the River Clyde in the district of Greenock in Inverclyde. The name of the ground and the surrounding area is thought to be of Scandinavian origin. The stadium was used in the early part of the 20th century to host Scotland international football fixtures and track cycling. The main Inverclyde railway line runs immediately behind the main stand affording passengers a perfect view of the pitch. Greenock Morton is currently playing in the Ladbrokes Scottish Championship; the second tier of Scottish football.
7. St James’ Park – Newcastle United
Used for football since its opening in 1880, St James’ Park has been home to Newcastle United since 1892. Towering over the city centre skyline, the stadium has hosted England Football Internationals, matches at the 2012 Olympic football tournament and Rugby League. It is one of the venues for the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup in September. Current capacity is 52, 405. Newcastle United plays in the Barclays Premier League, top-flight of English football.
Contributor: Steve Mitchell.
Cover Photo: Lachlan Fearnley