Paul Newman: Clubs on the move swap character for revenue streams

The FootbalL League column: For people to watch football, modern stadiums are far superior

There was a time when any self-respecting schoolboy could reel off the names of every Football League ground in the country, but not anymore. Besides the fact most youngsters are more likely to be able to tell you where Schalke play (the Veltins Arena) rather than Shrewsbury (Greenhous Meadow), it is quite a task these days to keep track of the rapidly changing addresses.

When Scunthorpe left the Old Show Ground in 1988 for the purpose-built Glanford Park, it was the first new Football League stadium to be built for more than 30 years. Since then, another 26 of the League's current 72-strong membership have upped sticks.

While some Premier League clubs have also moved – Arsenal, Bolton, Manchester City, Stoke, Sunderland and Wigan have all relocated over the same period – the pace of change is greatest within the Football League. In the Championship alone, 11 of the 24 current clubs – Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Hull, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Reading, Scunthorpe and Swansea – have changed grounds.

Chesterfield, who played at Saltergate for 139 years, and Morecambe, who spent 89 of their first 90 years at Christie Park, are the latest Football League clubs to have joined the rush. Chesterfield have won their first two matches at the rather less romantically named b2net stadium, while Morecambe began life at the Globe Arena with a Carling Cup victory over Coventry.

Burton, Northampton, Oxford, Rotherham, Shrewsbury and Wycombe are the other League Two clubs to have moved, with Brighton, Bristol Rovers, Colchester, Huddersfield, MK Dons, Southampton, Walsall and Yeovil from League One also relocating.

If some lament the passing of so much football history and the lack of character of many of the new stadiums, it should be remembered that it was the 1989 Hillsborough disaster that provided the impetus for such sweeping changes.

Moving into purpose-built arenas has not only created safe environments but has also transformed the fortunes of many clubs, providing income from facilities up to seven days a week rather than once a fortnight. Morecambe's £12m stadium, for example, has function rooms that can cater for anything from weddings to business conferences.

Simon Inglis, who edits English Heritage's "Played in Britain" series and is one of Britain's leading authorities on football stadiums, rejects the claims that the modern trend might be regrettable, architecturally speaking.

"It depends on what you define as architecture," he said. "If it's providing good facilities for people to watch football, then modern stadiums are generally far superior to what we had before. Children can watch matches in safety, elderly supporters have barriers to lean on and staircases to use, women are provided with proper toilets.

"Some of the old stadiums, particularly those built by Archibald Leitch, had good facilities, but many of the rest were cobbled together by people who weren't specialist stadium builders at all. Now you have maybe half-dozen specialist companies which use computer technology and modern methods to build stadiums quickly and efficiently.

"The main difference between so many of the new stadiums and the old ones is their location. For very good practical reasons – affordability, availability of space, traffic, access – many modern stadiums are built on out-of-town sites, and it can be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'."

As for some of the new stadiums in the Football League, go to the top of the class if you can name the clubs that play at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, the Liberty Stadium, the Pirelli Stadium, the Keepmoat Stadium and the Galpharm Stadium. Schoolboys lacking self-respect can turn to page 16 for the answers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
people
News
20. Larry Page: Net worth: $23 billion; Country: U.S; Source of wealth: Google
business
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A collection of 30 Banksy prints at Bonhams auction house in London
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness