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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own