Sunderland’s is best. Name the worst from Crystal Palace, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers, Chelsea, Doncaster, Swansea, Darlington, Wimbledon and Southampton

Sixer by Jake

Pete Sixsmith
‘s bulky but now gym-honed frame has graced just about every ground known to football. Here’s his response to a highly personal survey naming the Stadium of Light as the best you’ll find …

The Proprietor and Editor-in-Chief of this learned site directed me to a piece written by one Brian Sciaretta from Basking Ridge in New Joisey, in which he ranked the 20 Premier League stadiums according to his personal tastes.

I don’t know if Brian has visited them all or, indeed, any of them but his views are interesting, the more so because he puts The SoL at No 1.

He says it “is one of the best places to see a game in the world” and that “it is how large stadiums should be built for the future”. Very flattering and it supports my view that of all the new builds, the only one to come near to ours is Ashburton Grove, where we will surely take three points off the home team a week on Saturday.

Brian loses some credibility when he places the jigsaw puzzle aka as The Sports Direct Arena in third place and he also likes The Majdeski Stadium, which I don’t.

It’s a shame that he can’t go back in time and do a worst 10 grounds in English senior football – but I can and I will. So here we are:

Another image from Mrs Logic's Flickr files

10 Southampton

The Dell. Many thought it was quaint and a one off. I thought it cramped and an absolute dump. The sight lines were awful, the facilities would have had a Neanderthal complaining and the vaunted atmosphere was artificial. Don’t think much of their new one either.

9 Wimbledon

Plough Lane. I only went once, to see them play Hartlepool in the early 80s when they went up and down between Divisions 3 and 4. It was hemmed in by an electricity sub station and all you could hear over such noise as the tiny crowd was able to make was the crackle of the cables leading from the pylons. A truly awful place.

8 Darlington

The Arena. They left Feethams, probably the cosiest ground in England, for this monstrosity built on the edge of town by an egocentric businessman from Shildon via Sunderland. It was cold, unwelcoming and never saw a crowd above 10,000 for a league game. Now that The New Quakers have decamped to Bishop Auckland, it squats like a huge toad, rusting and festering away. A Tesco on the site would be an improvement.

7 Swansea City

The Vetch Field. One visit here on a freezing cold November day in the early 80s to watch football in the greyest ground known to man. Strange floodlight pylons and a prison next door made it look like a kid had built it in his play time from nursery. The Liberty Stadium is a vast improvement on this dark and dingy hole.

6 Doncaster Rovers

Belle Vue. Burnt down by the potato magnate who owned the club, this was a ground in terminal decline in the 80s and 90s. Built exclusively of wood, the terracing behind one goal was a cage when we played there in the Third Division season. Over the road from the racecourse, whose stands put it to shame. You wouldn’t ask a horse to watch football here!

5 Chelsea

Stamford Bridge. Nowadays it is a tidy stadium, although Jupiter has more atmosphere. Years ago it had a dog track, a rickety stand in the corner and The Shed. There was minimal cover until they built the ugliest stand in the world in the 70s, a project that nearly bankrupted them. Unfortunately, Ken Bates came along with a vision and they are still here.

4 Bristol Rovers

Eastville. Another one where greyhounds took preference over footballers. It had some charm (flower beds in front of the stands) but the huge totalisator board made you think you were in a clock factory. And you got wet wherever you stood, because the greyhound company never fixed the holes in the roof. The nearby M32 was a better vantage point than the paddocks, where you had a good view of the players’ socks and the grass but nothing else.

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3 Portsmouth

Fratton Park. A true historical relic and unchanged since Nelson played Francis Drake at bowls – although I may have got a bit mixed up there (maybe we should ask a history/geography teacher, Pete – ed). Looks like this wreck of a ground could become the best in the Portsmouth and District League next season.

2 Oxford United

The Manor Ground. It had nine separate stands and, as a result, even less symmetry than The Sports Direct Arena. Built by a committee of partly sighted architects, it didn’t matter where you stood, you could hardly see anything – which accounts for our awful record there.

1 Crystal Palace

Selhurst Park. A place that I hope I will never, ever have to visit again. Impossible to find, almost as antiquated as Fratton Park with stands that offer a miserable view, while having to listen to the most pretentious bunch of supporters in the whole wide world. The kind of place where Newcastle should be made to play all their away games.

31 thoughts on “Sunderland’s is best. Name the worst from Crystal Palace, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers, Chelsea, Doncaster, Swansea, Darlington, Wimbledon and Southampton”

  1. I leave a response whenever I appreciate a article on a site or I have something to valuable to contribute to the
    conversation. It’s triggered by the passion communicated in
    the post I browsed. And on this post Sunderland?s is best.
    Name the worst from Crystal Palace, Oxford United,
    Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers, Chelsea, Doncaster, Swansea, Darlington,
    Wimbledon and Southampton | Salut! Sunderland. I was actually excited enough to drop a thought :
    -P I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Is it
    only me or do a few of the responses come across like they are coming from brain dead individuals?

    😛 And, if you are writing on other social sites, I’d like to keep up with you.

    Could you list the complete urls of all your community pages like your
    Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  2. Think I know what kicked this off, and hope that my punctuation will pass muster (“and” after a comma, off to hell for me….. or is it “I”?). Talking of hell, would have to agree about most of those grounds, especially Krap Nottarf, but I am very biased. Personally enjoyed The Dell, but possibly due more to Le God than the decor, comfy chairs & haut cuisine. Enjoyed Pete’s article too, reckon he could be a little bit biased like me though. Red & white, it’s alright.

  3. I didn’t think much of Prenton Park before it was “upgraded”

    I hope this hasn’t offended any inhabitants of the Wirrall.

    PS I’ve done a spellcheck and grammar check and this comment passed with flying colours.

  4. As Dr Samuel Johnson once said ‘Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” The modern day equivalent is perhaps that “Complaining about grammar or punctuation is the last resort of anyone who has failed to respond with a reasonable argument or riposte to what someone else’s point of view.

    The Crystal Palace fans should stick to Yahoo News, as you tend to get rather a lot of comments on the aforementioned kind on there. They might enjoy it.

    Crystal Palace is of course not in Crystal Palace at all, but in “Fornton Heef” as the grammatically gifted and eloquent of that parish refer to it.

    Selhurst Park is nothing more than a dank hole inside a much larger dank hole. Even as a exiled Northerner I can speak with some authority, as I did live there for a time. It was grim.

    • So the Palace faithful don’t dine with the Queen as suspected? Highly amuses me when residents of one working class area tries to belittle those of another. I wonder if the peasants who lived at the bottom of the castle used to abuse their northern counterparts in the medieval days.

  5. Whoooo cares?
    One persons opinion is just an opinion.
    Here’s some spare comas and propostrefies for the grammer polise . , . . , . , . Use them as you see fit.
    The whole world is falling apart. So what if some stadiums are going down with it.
    It’s great supporting EPL here in OZ where you sent all the crims. We can enjoy the game without all the pathetic tribalist billshut.

  6. With the Grammar Police suddenly reading our stuff, you’re really going to have your work cut out editing the piece I’m currently on with Colin. Even my English Language lecturers made mistakes here and there. Pass on this lad’s e-mail address so I can forward it to them for consultancy purposes.

    • He or, less likely, she uses a different address each time (s)he posts. These addresses have one thing in common; they’re all bogus.

  7. Oh Dear!! Just about the easiest set of bites from the dumbest, most humourless shoal of nibblers I’ve seen on any website / blog, for a long time. P.S. Hope the use of English is satisfactory to the Great Literati out there 😉

    • “I find it ironic that you can dish out the criticism but don’t seem so keen to take any.”

      No comment offered so far has been disallowed. That should suggest, even to someone who keeps posting using a succession of false e-mail addresses, that we are perfectly content to take whatever criticism is made provided it is neither abusive nor defamatory. On the other hand, we feel no obligation to agree with such criticism.

  8. Just a bit of fun Al G. I thought the structure was fine and although apostrophes are not my strong point, I can’t see much wrong with it.
    Maybe you were one of the gallant 800 who came north that night and exulted in the glorious diving of Andy Johnson.
    800 – for a play off match. Tells you everything you need to know about Palace.

    • We have some humourless lurkers today, Pete. Warmly welcome, of course, but humourless all the same.

  9. At least Selhurst and Fratton have tradition and character. Fratton Park is one of the most quaint and delightful grounds I have ever visited. Stadium of Light on the otherhand is pathetically generic.

    • Well there’s a few words I didn’t think I’d ever see together.

      Selhurst Park and character. Fratton Park, quaint and delightful.

      Both are utter dumps and you can hoy in the old Dell as well. I like tradition but they are not even third world stadiums.

      I’m off for a couple of Phensic.

  10. Salutsunderland, I’ve read and re-read your post about 5 times and still can’t quite understand what you are saying. Not sure if it’s due to your poor use of english or whether you are trying to break the record for the world’s longest sentence.

      • To the sad individual who drew up this list……obviously this is a joke (in poor taste) or you haven’t been to many grounds or you just have an axe to grind against clubs/fans of these teams.

        I back my points up with the following:
        – any list not containing Elm Park, shows you haven’t been to many grounds;
        – a list that doesn’t have Fratton Park (correctly pronounced Krap Nott arf) at number 1 is not worth the time spent producing it;
        – and to keep the number of points short, any list that specifies the atmosphere at The Dell artificial but doesn’t include the mud hole that was the Baseball Ground and Highbury or any modern stadium with piped music…was compiled by an idiot who’d be better off watching Mr Pardews team next year.

        That’s just enough time cooling off at the beach in the internet cafe and my beers finished in any case.

        Chris, Cocoa Beach Florida.

  11. What a horrible little vindictive article. I’ve asked myself several times why I read this piece and the only conclusion I am able to come to can be likened to witnessing a cringe worthy Eurovision performance. Mainly with regards to the incredibly poor use of the English language. Maybe proof reading an entry would have been wise before releasing your unintelligible snide pointless remarks to the big wide internet on (what I can only presume) your very own football clubs fan site.

    But oh well, this is the kind of stuff you get from football news aggregator sites – “sift through the nonsense” I keep telling myself.

    Views of pretentiousness abound!!

    • A plea to our linguistic mentor Al G: on re-reading this “horrible little vindictive article” which is, in fact, no more than a review of grounds one man has not enjoyed visiting, I found a couple of stray commas – though you are not too hot on their proper use – and a phrase missing from the Palace paragraph (my fault, not Pete’s).

      Can you kindly alert me to any other howlers to justify your surprising complaint about Pete’s use of English?

      • Here is one that I spotted straight away.

        Over the road from the racecourse, whose stands put it to shame.

        That is not a sentence.

      • The Fowler brothers would, perhaps, have agreed with you. But they are not around to judge what is acceptable in the context of an informal piece of writing. I think your point is pedantic and that your chosen name can be taken as a mark of ignorance rather than an example of irony.

  12. Lets face it all of the new grounds you are so in love with are just like the current teams that play in them. Faceless, souless and totally meaningless.

  13. give me an old atmospheric relic of a ground over a souless of out of town plastic bowl any day. If you want facilities go to a shopping centre!

  14. Brilliant! Sunderland a glory land hahaha!!

    I guess it begs the question is Sunderland is so nice and South London is so bad why a semi detatched house in Sunderland has an average asking price of about £4.20 compared to the half a mill for one next to Plough Lane or Selhurst Park!

    Perhaps he never walked across the bridger above the big mud pit in sunderland to see the dump that is that town!

    I still have chuckle to myself remebering Mick McCarthy kickiking that water bottle while 800 Palace fans danced in the stands after knocking the north easts 3rd team out of the play off semi finals (a week after teaching their fans a lesson when they tried to run on our pitch and got run half way up the M1 for their efforts!)

    • Oh no!!! He called us the North East’s third team. How upsetting.

      And we must assume he lives in the exclusive parts of London, like every other insulting cockney, obviously. By no means do they come from working class neighbourhoods or less then inspiring mini-towns within London. How we, too often, forget that Selhurst Park’s finest visitors dine with the Queen and shop at Harrods.

    • Good evening, David,

      I presume you’re referring to Crystal Palace, the premiership team? The one that stayed up for more than one season? We did go up in the end, and after a bumpy ride, we’re staying up. How does that compare with your record. I believe it includes administration, which given you all live in half-million pound houses is surprising.

      Grim up north? I wouldn’t argue if I hadn’t been to Wealdstone, Balham, Camden, Southall, Brixton, Clapham, Tottenham and so on. There are parts of London which make me wonder what Lord Londonderry did with all the money he moved there from Durham.

  15. The Proprietor and Editor-in-Chief is aware not every fan of every club mentioned will agree with the findings above. Plenty of us Sunderland fans would have put the SoL no better than second to Roker Park. If you have a gripe with Pete’s assessment, or your own nominations in either best or worst category, let us know. All responses meeting the usual non-neanderthal standards will be published even if there is a short delay for moderation …

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