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Well, here we are. Ranking stadiums again. Ignoring the evidence that one’s football ground is holy territory, a shamelessly sacred cow, always the apex, despite its comically blatant shortcomings.
Because only supporters are allowed to slag off their stadium, in the same way only a family member is allowed to slag off that other family member for yelling too much or refusing to move on from the 80s or smelling like onions all the time. Is it true? Sure. Not in the family? Take your slag and slander somewhere else.
So how do you properly appraise football grounds? You Google it of course.
Below are the Premier League grounds reviewed by Google. You can have your say on the best and worst grounds in English football in the survey below. For now, Google is a Liverpool fan.
Anfield: 4.7 stars
Unrivalled on Those Midweek European Nights, welcome to Anfield. Villarreal midfielder Etienne Capoue called Anfield a "the worst stadium I've ever been to". He called it "hell". Twice. But the blood-red 53,394-seater colossus is heaven on football ground Earth, according to its near 35,000 Google reviews.
In the last two months, every review left was four stars or above barring one: a reviewer by the name PM Biffa who bemoaned the ‘supposedly top VIP Match Dining Experience’ for which he paid £200 that riddled him woefully unimpressed.
Swings and roundabouts.
Do you agree with Google's rankings? Let us know in the comments section
Old Trafford: 4.6 stars
In one word, massive. Massive ground, massive club, such was the consensus in the near 38,000 reviews of the UK’s biggest ground. "Real big" was one such succinct verdict. A shame that the players have done their utmost to ruin the ground’s reputation as an impenetrable fortress. A "real big" let down this season, perhaps?
But strictly architecturally speaking, the Red Devil’s dome should be revered. Some recent performances, inarguably not.
Molineux: 4.6 stars
The Old Gold Gables might be a glinting memory of the past, but old gold is still very much the theme. A vibrant ground with a vibrant, vocal atmosphere. The football might not always be glittering but when that sun hits just right: *chef’s kiss*.
A pro tip from Wolves fan Paul: “If it’s a sunny day, you’ll need a baseball cap.” Cheers, Paul.
St. James Park: 4.6 stars
St. James Park is relishing some exciting times on the pitch, but even on its darkest day, the home of the Magpies warranted some high praise on Google reviews despite the "on-pitch travesties" as one reviewer writes.
Entrants praised its size, its sound and its throwback of a large open terrace. Away fans rate it, home fans love it and in 2002 Michael Jackson visited.
He did not leave a review.
Elland Road: 4.6 stars
It’s the history that gets people going in the Elland Road ravings. That and the Balti pie. Oh, the pie. A cavern of noise and pride that one reviewer says: "You have to go to to realise how much it means to the Leeds fans."
Jesse Marsch's mid-pitch huddles remain a hit-and-miss affair amongst the more vociferous reviewers, however. Everybody's a critic.
Emirates Stadium: 4.6 stars
Look, it might be expensive but that hasn’t stopped the good reviews from marching in.
A behemoth steeped in rich history, the Emirates makes its past known. “Everything about the Emirates exudes Arsenal and their history” one reviewer wrote, echoing those around them. Nearly 24,000 Google reviews can’t be wrong.
But the pizza be knocked down a penny or two.
King Power Stadium: 4.6
Sleek, modern and boisterous, the King Power is a party. Sometimes its intense, as one reviewer noted: “Home fans (next to family stand) get a bit antagonising to away fans. Was an evening game but I was still surprised by some of the language in the chants (but you can't avoid that in life or in the stadium).”
Hey. You don’t create a minor earthquake from celebrating a last-minute winner without some spice. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Etihad Stadium: 4.6 stars
Some of the football this stadium has been privy to on its turf of late is straight up nasty and unfair, and while the atmosphere can often be wanting in comparison, the stadium itself is living, breathing proof that an athletics stadium can be turned into a football ground.
“Stunning” is the world thrown around most in the reviews – about the facilities as much as KDB’s right foot.
Stamford Bridge: 4.6 stars
The raves are immense and the critics beefy. A big ol’ boy of a stadium with a crackling atmosphere. It’s not always perfect. As one reviewer wrote: “Blue is the color [sic]. A stadium that Chelsea Fans should and will visit in London. Some parts need to be fixed to make this stadium better.”
Maybe the new owners will fix it up. A little bit of billionaire TLC never hurt nobody.
Villa Park: 4.5 stars
Aston Villa fans will bemoan this 4.5 nonsense, but it is 4.5 according to some 6,000 odd Google reviewers.
Why? According to Nigel, its the toilets and concourses that are the culpable ones. “Really need to upgrade them.” Fair enough.
Amex Stadium: 4.5 stars
The staff get a special shout out as nearly every review praises the top-class Amex men and women. After 14 long years of sofa surfing like a college drop-out, Brighton has built its home and made it a nice one – on all levels.
Particularly a certain steward named John. warrants some acclaim. Wherever you are John, keep doing you.
Carrow Road: 4.5 stars
Quirky is good and Carrow Road does quirky proud. The South Stand is named after a guy named South. They do a good vegan pie, apparently.
Club officials once dubbed the Norfolk turf the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ after building it in a whopping 82 days. It’s not Field of Dreams stuff (kids, Google it), but the away view is good, even if the parking isn’t.
Besides, no one does ‘On the ball City’ quite like Carrow. “The rendition just before kick-off should raise the hairs on the back of your neck!” Well said, Mr. reviewer.
St. Mary’s: 4.4 stars
Google reviewer S.E.A claims Southampton’s stomping ground is “the best football ground on the South Coast”. Why? Well, the wonderful atmosphere, spiffing views and the fact “you can bring your own food and drinks (non-alcoholic) into the stadium.”
Err… why would you need to do that?
“The food inside is some of the worst I've ever had so save yourself the expense and disappointment and go to the Tesco next door beforehand.”
Ah, the 4.4 star rating in all its might.
Vicarage Road: 4.4 stars
Less than 2,000 reviews doesn’t bode well but those who have made the effort to leave a review come to a general consensus: pretty ground for its age, home fans are quiet, away fans make the noise and “my god do something about the ******* parking, willya?"
Goodison Park: 4.4 stars
There will be nostalgic dirges sung when the fiery sun sets for a final time on this old place. It’s got history – and the shoe scuffs and beer stains and classic stands to prove it. Away fans get treated to thick poles to skew their view of the pitch and concourses straight out of a 1970s time-warp. That’s the “charm” those Toffees in the reviews are all on about.
Regardless, Everton are trading in their stubbornly old-school model for a swanky new dockside abode. Farewell, old friend.
Turf Moor: 4.4 stars
A true journey back in time. It’s the ground older than the Football League. And if the less than 2,000 reviews speak to anything, it’s to this head-spinning trip to the monochromatic days.
“It’s a [sic] oldie. But goodie.” An anthem.
London Stadium: 4.3 stars
Last and, according to Google, least: London Stadium.
A quick skim of reviews dredges up a curt consensus for the lowly rank: London Stadium is simply ‘not a football stadium’. There’s a football, two teams and it’s occurring in a stadium, yes, but the atmosphere, purportedly, ain’t it.
Reviewer James sums it up: “This stadium was never for football. It’s alright big lots of space inside but it’s missing something just okay it is.”
Selhurst Park: Unrated
There are two ways of looking at this. One: Selhurst Park is so top-notch, any Google review is immediately rendered insignificant. Like a god, the red and blue 25,000-seater is above humanity’s trivial pursuit of gamifying everything. Why put a review on something that is, quite plainly, that elite?
Or two: Google is secretly a Brighton fan.
We’ll put it this way. The old girl won’t win a beauty pageant, but it’s what's on the inside that counts. And on the inside, Selhurst Park is raucous, urban and passion-oozing. It’s a different kind of match day dancing to the beat of its own drum. TripAdvisor gives it a solid 4 stars. So Google can hop off.
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