Trying to get a ticket to a top flight football match can be difficult, but it can be even harder to grab one when your club plays in one of the smallest stadiums in Premier League history.
Not every team can play in the mega bowls that are being constructed these days, but demand almost always outstrips supply when a so-called ‘smaller’ club is hosting the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United every other week.
The atmosphere in these smaller stadiums is often better than what you find in the soulless structures where the biggest clubs play.
This alone can make them worth visiting. Many Premier League fans will be making the journey to Kenilworth Road this season for the first time after Luton Town won promotion. The ground is tiny, but also not what supporters of the biggest teams will be used to.
Does it make the list of the smallest stadiums in Premier League history, though? Here are the top ten, with Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth, just missing out.
The ten smallest stadiums in Premier League history:
10: Liberty Stadium – Swansea City
Swansea City’s home ground saw seven years in the Premier League before they were relegated to the Championship in 2018. They groundshare with United Rugby Championship side Ospreys, which keeps the groundskeepers busy during the season.
9. Loftus Road – QPR
A proper old-school ground, Loftus Road is boxy and tight, with the fans practically breathing on the players. It can make for a brilliant atmosphere – or a febrile one. The stadium, first opened in 1904, also hosted Fulham for a brief period in the noughties while Craven Cottage was being revamped.
8. Baseball Ground – Derby County
Opened in 1890, the Baseball Ground bore witness to the finest moments in Derby County’s history, including two league title wins under Brian Clough in the seventies and a run to the European Cup semi-finals. It was closed in 2003 and later demolished as the Rams moved to Pride Park.
7. Brentford Community Stadium – Brentford
Brentford moved into the Gtech just in time for their first foray into the Premier League back in 2020. Costing £71 million to construct, they groundshare with Premiership Rugby club London Irish.
6. Bloomfield Road – Blackpool
Blackpool spent just one season in the top flight in 2010/11, but they were a breath of fresh air under manager Ian Holloway, who came close to keeping them up. The ground is now slightly bigger, with a capacity of 17,338, and has seen the club bounce between the Championship and League Two since those heady days.
5. The Dell – Southampton
Anyone who watched Matt Le Tissier balling in the nineties will remember The Dell very fondly. The ground with its asymmetrical terrace was charming, but Southampton needed an upgrade, which is what they got in 2001 when they moved to St. Mary’s.
The Dell, Southampton pic.twitter.com/uc5wDGi3O7
— Old Days Football (@OldDaysFootball) February 20, 2021
4. County Ground – Swindon Town
Swindon spent just one pretty awful season in the Premier League. The Robins managed to concede 100 goals (in a 42-game season) in 1993/94, the most of any club in a single campaign. They pulled off at least one memorable result at the County Ground that year, beating Manchester United in a game that witnessed Eric Cantona being sent off for a vicious stamp on John Moncur.
3. Boundary Park – Oldham Athletic
Oldham took part in the first ever Premier League campaign in 1992, but this past year they became the first former Premier League side to exit the EFL and get relegated to the fifth tier of the English pyramid. In its early years it could hold almost 50,000 spectators, but only holds a fraction of that these days.
ON THIS DAY 119 YEARS AGO…
STADIAlive: Coming Soon! pic.twitter.com/9mMwr0kOZj
— STADIAlive (@csmLabs5) August 1, 2023
2. Vitality Stadium – Bournemouth
It’s remarkable that a club with such a small ground can survive in the top flight, but thanks to the division’s immense riches Bournemouth have been able to do exactly that. Although the Cherries are seeking to move to a new, bigger home, they can always say they topped the list of the smallest stadiums in Premier League history – until now.
1. Kenilworth Road – Luton Town
Luton’s home ground is such an anachronism that it has dominated conversations over the club’s promotion this year. Situated right in the middle of a housing estate, some stands can only be accessed by walking between the terraced houses that surround the stadium. Upgrades costing up to £10m are being made to bring Kenilworth Road up to Premier League standard.
It still won’t be ready for their first home game of the season against Burnley, which has been postponed while works continue.
I’m not sure those who haven’t been to Kenilworth Road really have a sense of just how closely the terraced houses jut up against the ground ….. pic.twitter.com/95WWkf9bPI
— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) August 6, 2023
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