Modern football stadiums are beacons of cutting-edge design and futuristic technology, but we can’t help feeling nostalgic about some of the iconic arenas that are sadly no longer with us.
Barcelona’s world-famous Camp Nou is the latest to be extensively renovated, with millions of fans saddened to see the old, steep stands being demolished to make way for a new super-dome.
The photos of the Camp Nou exteriors being demolished got us thinking of 11 more history-steeped grounds that don’t exist anymore.
The former home of Atletico Madrid hosted World Cup matches, Michael Jackson concerts and had a dual carriageway passing directly under one of its stands.
An imposing Spanish bowl, Atleti won five La Liga titles and seven Copa del Reys during their 51 years at the Calderon before moving across the city to the Metropolitano.
Like many of the other stadiums on the list, the land where this magnificent construction once stood has been developed into housing and shopping centres.
The Vicente Calderon pic.twitter.com/VwsdlOlgnD
— The League Magazine (@Theleaguemag) July 7, 2023
Old Wembley Stadium
The stadium Pele once called the ‘cathedral of football’ was a dump by the time of its 2003 demolition, but remains iconic to generations of football supporters.
While the rebuilt Wembley is massive, it holds little of its predecessor’s charm.
Glorious days like today always make me think back to the old Wembley Stadium.
There was no better view in English football than seeing those sun-kissed twin towers when you came out of Wembley Park station. ☀️
Feel very lucky to have been there before it was demolished. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/TwLJ2EuCOz
— Stu’s Football Flashbacks (@stusfootyflash) June 17, 2022
Stadio delle Apli
Built for Italia ’90, the Delle Alpi was universally despised for its poor design and atmosphere that made the moon seem like La Bombaonera.
Both Juventus and Torino moved out within 20 years, but it does bring back nostalgic memories of Champions League nights on ITV with Clive Tyldesley and Ron Atkinson.
🧵Old stadiums that are demolished/abandoned:
1. Stadio Delle Alpi
The much maligned Delle Alpi was built for the 1990 Wold Cup, but would see low attendances due to poor visibility and a lack of shielding from the elements. In 2011 Juventus and Torino would move out. pic.twitter.com/yXXfuWfYgy
— HE_FOOTBALL 🔰🥨 (@HE_Ftbl) January 24, 2023
Arsenal Stadium, colloquially referred to as ‘Highbury’ and home to Arsenal between 1913 and 2006, is without a doubt one of the most iconic stadiums in English football history.
While some criticised Highbury’s lack of atmosphere, many more were drawn to the grandeur seeping out of every pore of its bricks, mortar and marble.
And Arsenal still haven’t won the league since they left.
White Hart Lane
It’s amazing that Tottenham played at White Hart Lane for 118 years without anybody pining for a cheese room.
White Hart Lane (1899-2017) pic.twitter.com/5hiKP1zLRQ
— SANTOS Football Planet (@SANTOS_Magazine) July 11, 2023
Estadi de Sarria
One of the best football matches of all time, Italy’s win over Brazil at the 1982 World Cup, was staged at Espanyol’s old ground.
Despite being demolished just after the death of Diana (no connection, we think), it retains an immortal place in the history of the sport.
2. The game was played at the Estadio Sarriá the home of Espanyol. The Stadium was demolished in September 1997. But a few months earlier I paid a visit to the Stadium made famous by the great Italy v Brazil game and the very steep side terracing. I was a teenager watching on TV. pic.twitter.com/BEEid7EyTS
— Douglas Bagley (@dougbagleyfdl) July 5, 2023
Known for decades as Upton Park, West Ham’s old place was suddenly christened the ‘Boelyn Ground’ during its extended farewell tour in 2015-16.
Always intimidating for opposing sides, especially when the Hammers faithful were in the mood, queuing at Upton Park station after matches was always a hoot.
But the London Stadium cannot compare to it. West Ham fans still mourn their departure from their spiritual home.
Stop sniggering at the back. It’s just a name.
The venue of the 1954 World Cup final, where West Germany shocked Ferenc Puskas and Hungary, was iconic due to its towers and charming clock. It was demolished in 2001 and replaced by the Stadion Wankdorf on the same site.
🏟️ (+) As imagens da demolição do Wankdorf Stadium em 2001, 47 anos depois de um dos maiores jogos da história do futebol. pic.twitter.com/cCgRlDit9m
— Guia do Futebol ➕ (@GuiaFutebolPlus) February 25, 2022
Estadio das Antas
Demolished and replaced by the Estadio do Dragao on the same site as Portugal prepared to host Euro 2004, Porto’s old stadium was the kind of roofless bowl that just screamed ‘awkward European away day’.
FC Porto's Estádio das Antas in the 90s. pic.twitter.com/yf6qqH0bsR
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) June 14, 2022
Interestingly, Maine Road still holds the record for the highest attendance for an English club playing at their own stadium when 85,000 fans attended an FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Stoke in 1934.
It’s now been 20 years since City upped sticks and left for the Etihad. Where has the time gone?
#StadiumSunday Maine Road
— 80s&90sFootball ⚽ 🏴 🇺🇦 (@80s90sfootball) July 9, 2023
This gorgeous stadium in Stockholm hosted the final of the 1958 World Cup and matches at Euro ’92 before being replaced by a somewhat soulless enormo-dome around 10 years ago.
We’re all poorer for the absence of grounds like this, with their four distinct stands and fans right on top of the pitch.
Rasunda Stadium, Stockholm. Old school at it’s best. pic.twitter.com/rLYpwtIcWL
— Michael Woods (@MichaelWoods32) November 28, 2020