The Top Four Traditional Stadia in the English Championship

London - Loftus RoadLondon - Loftus Road 14.09.2017: For the traditionalist football fan, many are of the opinion that the brand-new stadia in English football has failed to capture the atmosphere and character of older grounds. Some regard the ‘bowl-shaped’ stadiums as soulless, while others accept that these new stadia are a necessity to provide a cost-effective home that’s supremely safe for supporters.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of every season in the English Championship, supporters will no doubt be looking at their fixture lists for the best away days and that tends to include the following grounds which continue to offer a traditional match day experience.



Loftus Road – Queens Park Rangers


Certainly not one of the biggest grounds in the Championship, Loftus Road holds a modest 19,148 fans but it’s the fans’ proximity to the action that generates one of the best atmospheres in the division. Players and managers alike often remark upon how supporters feel like they’re almost literally on top of them, creating a hostile environment but one that’s incredibly entertaining. The view from the away end is pretty good, apart from the front rows of the upper tier, which struggle to see the goal line below them! It’s that kind of quirk which makes Loftus Road ooze with charm.
 
Loftus Road



Portman Road – Ipswich Town


Somewhat bigger than Loftus Road, with a capacity of 30,000, Portman Road is one of English football’s most original stadia. All four stands are different in capacity and design, blending the old with new to really good effect. It’s hosted full England internationals and remains a European fortress for Ipswich Town, who are still undefeated in all European competitions (31 games), which is the longest unbeaten record in European football. Portman Road is also another stadium which feels like the fans are exceptionally close to the action. Former Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked that Portman Road at full volume is one of the most vociferous in the country.
 
Portman Road, Photo: www.groundhopping.se



Villa Park – Aston Villa


The largest football stadium in the Midlands area is home to Championship outfit, Aston Villa. It’s been home to the Villains since 1897 and has hosted more FA Cup finals than any other stadium. Much of the renovation to all-seater standard was the work of former chairman Doug Ellis in the 1990s, with the Holte End a fantastic feat of architecture to create one of the biggest seated ‘kops’ in Europe. Although Villa Park is unlikely to be more than two-thirds full this season, the fact that the football betting suggests Villa are promotion contenders, at odds of 7/2, could mean full houses are possible towards the end of the season to celebrate a potential return to the top flight.
 
Villa Park, Photo: www.groundhopping.se



Hillsborough – Sheffield Wednesday


One of the most famous football stadiums in England for more than one reason, Hillsborough is a stadium that’s experienced its fair share of tragedy but remains an iconic ground for home and away supporters to visit today. It’s certainly one of the biggest stadiums in Yorkshire and when full generates an incredible atmosphere as the stands are steeped around the pitch, keeping much of the noise inside. Hillsborough is a must-visit for any football fan who’s not yet been, especially with plans to modernise the ground if Sheffield Wednesday ever return to the Premier League.
 
Hillsborough, Photo: www.groundhopping.se

Other notable mentions for a traditional football stadium experience in the Championship go to Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, Norwich City’s Carrow Road and Leeds United’s Elland Road.

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