If there's anything that can connect all Britons, it's football. Football is amongst the most-loved sports events in the United Kingdom. Be it Manchester, Arsenal, or Chelsea football clubs, the European Football League is part of the 'The 'Big Five' Leagues and boasts a large number of attendees every year who attend fast-paced matches in some of the best architectural designs in the world. To name a few, here are the top most iconic UK's biggest football stadiums.
1. WEMBLEY FOOTBALL STADIUM
Construction Cost - £798 million
Seating Capacity- 90, 000
Arguably one of the most famous stadiums globally, the Wembley that stands today is not the same that most of us will remember from our youths. Wembley is also the home of England's national game; you'll also be able to see the FA Cup semi-finals and final at Wembley, plus the League Cup final and play-off finals from most divisions.
It'd not be an exaggeration if you were to say it's the symbol of the nation, a monumental stadium that represents all of England. Wembley hosts some of the biggest games in the country and many of the biggest musical events of all time. With 90K+ seats, it's the largest stadium in the UK and the second-largest in all of Europe.
Occasionally, Wembley also entertains high profile games such as the UEFA Champions League final and many games from the EURO championship. Some of London's biggest clubs- Arsenal FC, Tottenham Hotspurs, etc., have also played their home games there.
2. OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER
Theatre of Dreams- Old Trafford
Construction Cost - £90,000 (1909)
Seating Capacity- 74,140
Nicknamed "The Theatre of Dreams", Old Trafford has been the home of the legendary world-famous football club- Manchester United- since 1910. With a current capacity of 74,140, it's England's second-largest football venue and 11th largest in Europe.
The iconic stadium was constructed in 1909, and the inaugural home game was played in February 1910. The storied Manchester arena was bombarded in 1941 during WWII and was reestablished in 1949. Old Trafford underwent numerous developments in the 1990s and 2000s; additional tiers to the North, West, and East Stands were introduced, almost recovering the stadium's original capacity of 80,000. Old Trafford's record attendance was registered in 1939 when 76,962 spectators attended the FA Cup semi-final game between Grimsby Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Old Trafford also hosted fixtures for the England national team. It hosted games at the 1966 Football World Cup, Euro 96, and the 2003 Champions League Final. It also hosted the Summer Olympics of 2012. Outside football, it has hosted rugby league's annual Super League Grand Final every year except 2020 and the final of Rugby League World Cups in 2000 and 2013.
Iconic as it is, The Theater of Dreams has been the home to some of football's most legendary names like; Cristiano Ronaldo, Geroge Best, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Rudd Van Nistelrooy, and many more. The stadium also pays tribute to two of the most important persons in the history of Manchester United- statues dedicated to Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson and a stand named after the latter.
The ground became an all-seater stadium in response to the FA's decision to require that from all top-flight stadiums, temporarily reducing the capacity to 44,000 during the development phase. It bounced back, of course, and now boasts the largest capacity of a club-side stadium in the UK. As well as United games, the ground has also been used to host FA Cup semi-finals in the past, rugby league and rugby union matches, and music concerts from several artists.
3. LONDON STADIUM – WEST HAM UNITED
Construction Cost - £534,000,000
Seating Capacity- 60, 000
The Olympic Stadium's yet to accumulate more historic moments, but whatever history it has, it's intriguing. It was built particularly as the central venue to host the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The Stadium's now been taken over by the Stratford based football club, West Ham United. Succeeding their previous home ground.
The Olympic Stadium is also generally known as the London Stadium and is owned by the Greater London Authority. The London Stadium has unquestionably helped West Ham up their game as far as their home ground is concerned. West Ham is the second football club from England to take over an athletics stadium and convert it into a football ground.
Initially, the London Stadium had a seating capacity of 80,000 but owing to further renovation, its current capacity dropped to 60,000. Along with field and track, it also hosted cricket, rugby, baseball, motor racing, and the 2015 rugby World Cup.
4. ANFIELD, LIVERPOOL
Construction Cost- £114 million
Seating Capacity- 53,394
With a seating capacity of 53,394, Anfield is England's seventh-largest stadium. Besides being one of the most iconic stadiums, Anfield is also one of the oldest football stadiums in England. Almost every football fanatic knows the historic ground, especially those who follow top European leagues.
Initially, home to local rivals Everton from 1884-1892, the stadium has become synonymous with Liverpool – both as a football club and city. Renowned for its distinct character, with choruses of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' ringing around the stadium and beyond, fans at Anfield don't simply generate an atmosphere but a community.
Anfield serves as the home ground for England's most successful club, Liverpool FC. The Merseyside football club has 47 major trophies, the most for a top-flight team in England. It's been the home ground for superstars and legendary players like- Sir Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Mohammad Salah, and many more. Apart from Liverpool's game, Anfield has also been the venue of European Championship games in 1996, boxing, exhibition tennis matches, and rugby league games in the past.
5. CELTIC PARK, CELTIC
Construction cost- £35,000
Seating Capacity- 60,411
Since its construction in 1982, Celtic Park has become a cornerstone of the club and city surrounding it. Home to the Glasgow based football club - Celtic F.C. - It's the largest stadium in Scotland. The legendary stadium serves as a cultural monument and has hosted numerous religious commemorations, war recruitment events, and the Commonwealth games of 2014.
Nicknamed Paradise by the fans, Celtic Park was the first football ground to have a double-decker stand, built-in 1898. After its initial construction in 1892, it wasn't until the 1990's that the stadium underwent massive changes. Till 1994, the ground was the same as it was during its inception, although the cover was added to the roof, and floodlights were also installed in-between. Celtic Park's revamped began in 1994 when Fergus McCann bought the club, and it was eventually completed in 1998.
Apart from the club's football matches, the stadium has also hosted games for Scotland's international team, rugby games, the World Cycling Championship in 1897, and many music concerts. Bryan Adams, Prince, The Who, and many more legendary artists have all held an event at the stadium at one point or another.
Celtic's legendary manager Jock Stein has a stand named after him in the stadium. He once famously stated, "football without fans is nothing". The year 2020 may have tested and trialed Stein's quote in a way we could never have predicted. Famous for its marvelous atmosphere and invigorated fans, the stadium personifies old-fashioned football at its best, especially during the derby city rivals Rangers.