The Premier League often boasts that it is the best or most competitive football league in the world, yet those visiting one of its 20 stadiums on match day don’t always feel the best atmosphere. We would all like to go to a game and really feel the passion and melodiousness coming from the fans but often these stadiums are quiet places where the stillness is only discontinued by a goal, a perceived error from the referee or a full-blooded challenge.
It often seems that the away fans are louder, more supportive and having a better time. You can regularly hear away supporters singing “Is this a Library?” or “Shall we sing a song for you?” or other chants summing up their estimation of the poor support and atmosphere? It could just be that the travel and camaraderie makes being an away fan is more fun.
Recent research by voucher website Voucherbox unearthed that in some cases, it can be cheaper being an away fan, even with the additional travel costs. According to the comparison, Chelsea and Arsenal fans actually pay less for away tickets and travel than to attend matches in their home turf. It’s cheaper by £209 and £183 respectively. Yet not all stadiums are the same and although supporter participation and enthusiasm might be in decline due to high prices and corporate sanitisation, there are still some great stadiums that offer real atmosphere and should be experienced if you get the chance. Here are our best picks:
Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace)
Some may think that this is not a great stadium as it is part old and part modern, has poor public transport service, there are pillars and TV gantries that can obscure your view and The Whitehorse Lane stand is subjugated to executive boxes for corporate clientele. Yet The Eagles’ faithful make this stadium one of the best in the country through their enthusiasm and furore. Considering they are not having a good season in the Premier League it is surprising that they have managed to keep the gusto going as they face an unenviable relegation fight. But well done to them.
The Hawthorns (West Bromwich Albion)
This stadium has been West Brom’s home since 1900, which means you’re walking into a ground steeped in English football history, although it has undergone numerous facelifts to make it suitable for the modern era. With the Jeff Astle Memorial Gates’ constructed in tribute to their legendary striker and the Memorial Garden, it’s part museum, part football stadium. Baggies fans haven’t had much to cheer in recent seasons as the football on display by Tony Pulis’s team was more attritional than electrifying. That has all changed this year and the club now has thrilling football to match its electric atmosphere.
One of the most famous stadiums in world football, boasting the most iconic stand in the world in The Kop and enjoying a phenomenal history. After considering moving to a new stadium for many years, the decision was made to simply upgrade and the new Main Stand was installed to be ready for this season and take the capacity to 55,000.
Although a famous stadium, Anfield had until recently a reputation for being one of the more disappointing atmospheres in the Premier League as fans remained fairly passive and their anxiety would often infect the players on the pitch. However, Jürgen Klopp has singlehandedly changed the atmosphere with his zeal, bear-hugs, optimism and the style of football on display. Supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund have been awarded the FIFA Fan Award for their Europa League meeting at Anfield. Watch the video below to see why this is a special moment and stadium.