Anorak | The 20 indignities at English football grounds (featuring Arsenal, Aston Villa, Celtic, Charlton, Fulham, Newcastle, QPR, Spurs and Wolves)

The 20 indignities at English football grounds (featuring Arsenal, Aston Villa, Celtic, Charlton, Fulham, Newcastle, QPR, Spurs and Wolves)

by | 14th, October 2013

FOOTBALL fans and all decent people everywhere will have been cheered to hear that Fulham Football Club has finally got round to taking down the statue of Michael Jackson that has besmirched Craven Cottage for the past few years. Former owner Mohamed Al Fayed, who erected the statue in 2011, is apparently considering selling it to raise money for charity.


Good news for all those who believe that sporting establishments should be treated with respect and dignity.

Not such good news from Tottenham Hotspur , however. A man has appeared in court charged with having sex with a sheep next to Spurs’ state-of-the-art training complex in leafy Hertfordshire. The club has wisely maintained a dignified silence on the matter, but it surely can’t be a coincidence that the team lost 3-0 at home to West Ham.


Here’s a consoling thought for the north London underdogs: worse far worse fates have befallen other football grounds over the years…


St James’ Park


The stadium has had its share of lows, including its hosting of auditions for X Factor and Big Brother . But the Toon Army were up in arms when St James’ Park was renamed the Sports Direct Arena, prompting a graffiti campaign to put things right.


When took over sponsorship of Newcastle United, there was outrage of a different kind. Wisely, having purchased the naming rights, the company decided to revert to the traditional stadium name.


Villa Park

The Birmingham ground was no stranger to bushy sideburns and long lank side-parted hair in 1972. But it had surely never seen anything like the scenes following Danny McAlinden’s defeat of Jack Bodell for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight title, as the ring almost collapsed under the weight of excited Irishmen.


McCain Stadium

The late Scarborough FC’s roof suffered a premature partial demolition by one rogue Wolves fan in 1987…


Loftus Road

QPR’s stadium which is like a football ground, only smaller became infamous for its appalling Omiturf plastic pitch in the 1980s. Manager Terry Venables allegedly offered visiting teams the opportunity to train on the dry surface the day before each match, only to have it heavily watered before the game. Even the Rangers players hated it, and it was abandoned later in the decade.


Yet worse, far worse, was to follow, when the place was soiled by the Wasps rugby union team taking residence.




In 1992 the legendary North Bank was demolished, to be replaced by a luxurious new stand. During the building works, a giant mural of fans was placed behind the goal at that end. A bizarre idea in itself, this then provoked controversy for not including enough black fans. This was then rectified.


When Arsenal moved to the Emirates, the ground has been decorated with tributes to the club’s history. Here, it was the presence of a black face that created anger, as ‘Cashley’ Cole’s face was defaced in this vintage line-up.



White Hart Lane

No contest here.

Arsenal win the league at the Land. Not just once…

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Posted: 14th, October 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink