Premier League: Five worst grounds
A look at the five worst grounds in the 2013/14 Premier League
The Premier League is the finest football league in the world.
It has the drama, the glamour and the talent to entertain millions around the globe. It is also home to many of the greatest football stadia in the world. There is often debate about who has the best ground in the Premier League.
Rarely, however, is there a debate on the worst. There have always been grounds in the Premier League that are good in different ways, but factoring in the appearance, the atmosphere, the location, the fans and the match-day experience, we are going to take a look at the five grounds at the bottom of the list.
Now this article will most likely offend at least a quarter of the fans from the Premier League. But don't be disheartened, be grateful that you can still watch the world's greatest players week in week out, regardless of whether it is in the Premier League's nicest ground or not.
5. The Hawthorns | West Brom
This was a difficult one to call. There are a few grounds that could fill this spot. However, the Hawthorns nips in at number five due to its mismatching stands and generally dour appearance.
Not all too impressive from the outside, and very grey on the inside, its stands rise at funny angles and the large East Stand doesn't fit with the small stand that sits opposite.
Though the stadium has character, this mismatching brings it down a peg, and where other mismatched stadia like St James' Park and Upton Park make up for it in other ways, the Hawthorns cannot.
4. St Mary's | Southampton
By no means should St Mary's be considered a bad ground. However, in the current climate of football, where money speaks louder than fans, Premier League clubs are more desperate than ever to hold on to their character.
Unfortunately for Southampton, a single-tiered, one coloured bowl doesn't offer that. Even worse for St Mary's is that it is eclipsed by the Stadium of Light, a similar stadium on a much larger scale.
The atmosphere can be very good, but Southampton really struggled to bring fans in during their stint in the lower divisions, where teams like Newcastle United, Hull City and West Ham did not.
3. Anfield | Liverpool
Every top five needs a controversial inclusion, but this is a decision backed with plenty of justification. Anfield is the most unattractive ground from the outside, and is surrounded by boarded up housing and shops.
It also has the least leg room of any Premier League ground, but this doesn't give that cosy, right on top of the pitch, atmosphere you can experience at White Hart Lane, and the stadium feels quite open to the elements.
The fans in the corners get poor views, as well as the many fans whose sight is obstructed by pillars. Any advocate of Anfield would jump to these claims and ask: "well, what about the Kop?"
Admittedly the Kop has roused some of the best atmosphere this country has ever witnessed, but with some of the moments Steven Gerrard and co. have supplied, who would expect any difference?
Even the Emirates Stadium, the quietest ground in the Premier League, can get a lot of noise on an exciting European night. On a rainy Tuesday night against Wigan, if you want some atmosphere in a huge single-tiered stand, look no further than Villa's Holte end, which ousts the Kop in every way.
2. Carrow Road | Norwich City
Norwich fans will never forget the sight of their owner, world famous Delia Smith parading legless around the turf, screaming for them to raise their voices.
It may say a lot that when visualising Carrow Road, it is her that first pops into the mind. A very uninspiring stadium, with a small capacity, an appalling colour scheme and incredibly mismatched stands, Norwich is fortunate not to be at the top of this list.
So, what comes top of our list? There are a few omissions from this list that may have made it on to others. Goodison Park is one, but its unique overlapping stands and traditional old fashioned style brings about a great match-day experience with fantastic atmosphere.
The Liberty Stadium is another, but its perspex roof and modern look makes it the brightest and smartest looking stadium around. Of the promoted teams, Cardiff's new stadium is fantastic, where Ninian Park would have been a sure inclusion, and Hull's KC Stadium and its dipping bowl offers a great alternative to the expected stadium shape. Which leaves us with our number one choice...
1. Selhurst Park | Crystal Palace
This is a classic example of a stadium that has really struggled over time. Back in the day, many would have looked forward to a trip to Selhurst Park, but through the years it has seen no improvements and really feels like a stadium from the dark ages.
The Main Stand is ancient, but even worse is the Arthur Wait stand opposite. When the Premier League brought in regulations on terracing and demanded all-seater stadiums, Crystal Palace had to raise the lower tier to meet the upper tier and place seating across the whole stand.
This has created a terrible angle, and the views leave a lot to be desired. The coloured seating is mismatched, the words "Palace Eagles" are a colourblind person's worst nightmare, and Selhurst somehow screams 'Sunday League' despite its 26,000 capacity.
The other inclusions on this list could probably offer some arguments in favour of their ground, but Selhurst Park is the undisputed worst ground in the Premier League.
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