World Cup games at Home Park, Plymouth? In Milton Keynes? Or at a spanking new stadium in Bristol, where top-class football has not been seen since 1980? Such things will remain possible if the respective venues survive the culling process on Wednesday, when 15 applicants are cut to a maximum of 12. Then all that will remain is for England to win the right to stage the 2018 tournament.
The more obvious cities such as London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester are all in the hunt, though of those only the latter pair know exactly which grounds would be used. Liverpool has little idea which stadiums will even exist in nine years' time, following the rejection of plans for Everton's proposed new one. As well as Wembley, Arsenal and Tottenham, London is proposing the 2012 Olympic stadium, but it may yet be scaled down to 25,000; World Cup venues must have a minimum capacity of 40,000.
A committee comprising Lord Mawhinney, Simon Johnson and Andy Anson must decide whether to stick with established football venues or go for a wider regional spread by including the West Country, which was ignored when England staged tournaments in 1966 and 1996. Cities used for Euro '96 were London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Stadium: Villa Park
Celebrity backers: Jasper Carrott, Graham Taylor
Stadium: Pride Park
Celebrity backers: Archie Gemmill, RoyMcFarland
Stadium: Elland Road
Celebrity backers: Jack Charlton, Chris Moyles
Stadium: Walkers Stadium
Celebrity backers: Gary Lineker, Sir Steve Redgrave
Stadiums: Anfield (old or new)
Celebrity backers: Kenny Dalglish, Gerry Marsden
Stadiums: Wembley, Emirates, new White Hart Lane, Olympic Stadium
Celebrity backers: Boris Johnson, John Terry
Stadiums: Eastlands, Old Trafford
Celebrity backers: Andrew Flintoff, Bryan Robson
Stadium: St James’ Park
Celebrity backers: Alan Shearer, Sting
Stadium: New City Ground
Celebrity backers: Rebecca Adlington, Carl Froch
Stadiums: Hillsborough, Bramall Lane
Celebrity backers: Michael Vaughan, Howard Wilkinson
Stadium: Stadium of Light
Celebrity backers: Paul Collingwood, Eddie Izzard
What they say: “We are a region immersed in sport at every level... an enthralling, international destination”
Stadium: New ground in the south of city.
Selling point: Large regional centre denied Premier League football
Unlikely selling point: “More people cycle in Bristol than in any other UK city”
Celebrity backers: GaryMabbutt, Wallace & Gromit
What they say: “A region in love with sport. The city is undergoing a dramatic renaissance”
Stadium: Redeveloped KC to hold 46,000
Selling point: Community spirit; sympathy for the underdog.
Unlikely selling point: Rugby league
Celebrity backers: Alan Johnson, Phil Brown
What they say: “It’s our vision and willingness to think differently that in 2004 saw Milton Keynes become England’s newest football city”
Stadium: stadium: mk to be extended.
Selling point: Freshness of 43-year-old town
Unlikely selling point: “Our unique road grid system”
Celebrity backers: Eddie Izzard, Lord David Puttnam, Lord Neil Kinnock
What they say: “This is a Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall bid. A beautiful setting for the beautiful game.”
Stadium: Home Park. “We will build the Wembley of the South-west”
Selling point: Location, location, location
Unlikely selling point: “A surf-themed FanFest site in Newquay”
Celebrity backers: Tom Daley, Helen ChamberlainReuse content