The Football stadiums in English football are known around the world. The popularity of the club sides are closely linked to the name of their grounds and with the game being so well attended the clubs try and maximize the numbers of spectators that they can get through the turnstiles for each of their home games. A great number of the Stadiums were built at the start of the 20th century and many had the sole purpose of getting as many people into see the games as was possible. As the game has evolved many of the earlier stadiums have been massively refurbished and some have been replaced as they haven’t been seen as appropriate for football in the 21st century. One of the most famous stadiums in the world is Wembley which is the home of the England national side. The first Wembley Stadium was built in 1923 and it was first called the British Empire Exhibition Stadium as it was built for the exhibition of 1924.
Built by Sir Robert McAlpine, the stadium was going to be closed when the exhibition finished but it was then decided to keep it open for football matches. It had already hosted the 1923 FA Cup Final between West Ham and Bolton, where over 200,000 fans attended the game, despite the capacity being only 127,000. It became known as “the White Horse Final” after the fans spilt onto the playing area and the police were aided by the white horse “Billy’ in pushing the spectators back. It is believed the unofficial attendance is the highest ever for a “non-racing” sporting event.
Its other famous game was hosting the 1966 World Cup Final between England and West Germany. The hosts won the game 4-2 after extra time, in a match full of incident including the home side being awarded a goal when the ball did not completely cross the line. In 2002 the old stadium was demolished as it felt didn’t have the necessary facilities for a modern day international stadium. Initially there was a public outcry especially as the iconic “twin towers” would be lost forever. However, the objections were overruled as the cost of relocating them was too expensive.
The cost of the new Wembley was just over 1 billion US dollars and it took 5 years to build. It can now seat 90,000 spectators and is the second largest stadium in Europe. Although its main purpose is to host football matches, it is also multi-purpose being used for American Football Games and Rugby Union contests. The stadium has a retractable roof which does not close completely. Its signature feature is its arch that towers over the roof and makes it viewable from 9kms away. For the 2017-18 football season it has hosted all of Tottenham Hotspurs home games as they have waited for the completion of their new stadium.
Another new football stadium in London is Arsenal’s Emirates stadium which is located in Islington North London. They moved from their Highbury Stadium in 2006 which had been the club’s home for 93 years. One of the major reasons for Arsenal moving from Highbury was that the 1990 Taylor Report recommended that all stadium in the Football League should be seating only, doing away with standing room on the old style terraces. The capacity of Highbury was reduced to 38,000 while previously it could hold 60,000. Redeveloping the ground was not possible as many of its buildings were listed and the area was surrounded by residential properties.
The new stadium can hold 60,000 spectators and is the third largest football stadium in the country after Wembley and Old Trafford. The stadium is renowned for its architectural beauty, but at a cost of over 700 million US dollars to build it goes some way to explaining why Arsenal’s season tickets are the most expensive in the country.