Best Football Stadiums For Away Fans

When it comes to football, everyone thinks that their club's stadium is the best. Even people who support sides with grounds that objectively awful will turn a blind eye to the worst aspects of the stadium as it is the home of their club, therefore it's perfect in their eyes. One thing that even the most partisan supporter will struggle to argue over, though, is whether it's a good ground for away fans.

Of course, what makes a ground good for away supporters will differ depending on the supporter that you ask. Is it simply about having the best view of the pitch once you're inside? Or do other aspects such as the pubs around the ground or the food come into play? Whatever criteria you opt for, there will always be disagreements over the list. Here is our top 10, in no particular order...

Top 10 Away Grounds

THE HAWTHORNS (WEST BROMWICH)

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The home of West Bromwich Albion might not immediately jump out at you as being one of the best grounds to head to as an away fan, but the overall experience of doing so means that it has to be in the list somewhere. It was brought up to a good level in recent years when it was modernised for the club's time in the Premier League, meaning that the facilities are decent.

On top of that, the position of the away fans is decent as they're right behind the goal with excellent views of the pitch. West Brom fans usually provide a decent atmosphere, literally bouncing to the 'boing boing Baggies' song that is a quirky little addition to proceedings. There's also the fact that it's located right next to the M5 for travelling convenience.

ANFIELD (LIVERPOOL)

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The interesting thing about Anfield is that the majority of supporters of other clubs are quick to point out how poor the sight lines are from the section of the Anfield Road Stand that they're asked to occupy, and yet it will still feature high on most football fans' list of grounds to visit. There are a number of reasons for that, not least of which is the atmosphere for big games.

Head to that particular part of Liverpool for a lunchtime kick-off between the home side and Stoke City and you're unlikely to experience anything special, but get a ticket for a European match under the lights and it will be a sight to behold. The facilities are decent, but it's the ability to visit the city of Liverpool itself, with its great sense of humour, tourist attractions and great nightlife, that make it extra-special.

MILLENNIUM STADIUM (Cardiff)

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Anyone who was lucky enough to visit the Millennium Stadium when it hosted the FA Cup final because Wembley was being rebuilt will be quick to tell you what an amazing experience it offers. That's not just in comparison to the soulless venue that the new Wembley offers, either. It's an excellent example of just how good a modern stadium can be, offering a brilliant atmosphere.

The atmosphere gets even better if the roof is closed and you feel like you're in some sort of dystopian vision of football in the future. There is a great view of the pitch wherever you're sat, so away supporters don't get treated like second-class citizens as they do in some grounds. It's also located in a perfect position to enjoy everything that the city of Cardiff has to offer.

MESTALLA (Valencia)

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The fact that this ground has been open since 1923 tells you something about the experience that you're likely to enjoy when you head to Valencia for a match. That isn't to say that it's crumbling to the ground, though, having been renovated and expanded since the turn of the millennium. It's more about the fact that it is steeped in history, with 'steeped' being the right word in more ways than one.

The North Stand, which houses the away supporters, is incredibly steeped to the point that those with a fear of heights will have to think twice about going. It is a visually stunning place to head for a football match though, which might help to explain why attempts to move Los Che out of the ground have continually failed. There's also the fact that you'll be in Valencia post-match, which is a gorgeous Spanish city.

STADIUM OF LIGHT (Sunderland)

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Sunderland made the move from Roker Park to the Stadium Of Light in 1997, with many supporters being sceptical at the time. It's fair to say that they've been won over since, even if the football club has struggled to live up to the billing on the pitch. The friendliness of the local fans adds to the experience of the trip, though the climb to the away section isn't for the feint-hearted!

The fact that the ground has enough room for 49,000 people means that the atmosphere around the stadium before kick-off is usually great fun, although it doesn't always carry over into the match itself. Even so, the pubs are well worth a visit before and after the game if you like a drink and a laugh, though you might want to keep your head down if your side won...

SUKRU SARACOGLU (Istanbul)

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It's maybe slightly misleading to suggest that it's a good experience for away fans to head to the home of Fenerbahce, but it's certainly one that football supporters should try to experience once in their lives. The Turkish club are known for making a hostile atmosphere for away clubs, desperate as they are to intimidate visiting sides to ensure that they don't leave with the points.

It's not a trip that away sides particularly look forward to, but if your club can emerge with the victory then it's all the sweeter. The fact that it is designed as a bowl means that the views are brilliant for everyone who attends, which is good news for away fans. Istanbul is a city that needs to be seen to be believed, offering such a mix of cultures that visitors can't help but be inspired.

CELTIC PARK (GLASGOW)

 

Another ground that offers a bowl design and therefore decent views from pretty much everywhere is Celtic Park. Away supporters will be treated to a hostile welcome, but it's always good natured as an attempt to ensure that the home team gets the win - unless it's Rangers that are in town, of course. As with Anfield, the rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone can be spine-tingling.

If you can attend an Old Firm derby at Celtic Park as a neutral then you're in for a treat, even if you will have to pretend to support Rangers to ensure you're welcomed into the away section with open arms. The Scottish know how to be partisan when they need to, so soak up every second. After that make sure you get into Glasgow for a drink and a look around a city filled with personality.

WESTFALENSTADION (Dortmund)

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Labelled the Signal Iduna Park for sponsorship reasons, the Westfalenstadion is known as being a place where Borussia Dortmund's fans display just how important fans are to football clubs. With room for 83,000 people and the ability to stand in some sections, it's a ground that comes to life for night games. Perhaps there's something about stadiums that play You'll Never Walk Alone that makes them special?

The Yellow Wall, as one of the stands is known, is a genuinely incredible sight to see when it's in full-flow, even if you're having to watch your team be beaten in the process. When the Westfalenstadion is in full-voice you're going to be in awe of the atmosphere, but unlikely in England you'll be able to supplement your football going experience by having a pint as you watch the match.

NOU CAMP (Barcelona)

There isn't an order to this list, but if there were one then there's a chance that the Nou Camp would be close to the top of it. You can do a tour of the stadium whilst you're in Barcelona, which is definitely worth your time if you can spare it. Given that it's big enough to fit just shy of 100,000 people in for a football match, it's entirely fair to say that it is spectacular.

It is a huge bowl of a football ground, with cover only offered in one section. That means that if you pop along for a game on the right day you'll be able to get a suntan as you watch the match play out. In all honesty, if you're at the top of the away section then you're barely going to be able to understand what's happening on the pitch, but the experience will more than make up for that.

BRAMALL LANE (SHEFFIELD)

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To move from the home of Barcelona to the home of Sheffield United is an odd shift, but there's something fitting about it on account of the fact that they're such different propositions for away fans. The city of Sheffield is not Barcelona, but if you want a real English footballing experience then there aren't many better places to head than to the home of the Blades.

The two-tiered stands that exist most of the way around the pitch may not offer the best views, but you'll certainly feel closer to the action than at most stadiums on this list. The away stand is quite old by most standards, so it's more of a throwback to the way football used to be than a guarantee of comfort. Regardless, it's a brilliant place to visit to watch a match.

What Makes The Best Trip For An Away Fan?

fansThere are so many factors that need to be considered when it comes to what makes the best trip for an away supporter. You can head to the best ground with the most amazing facilities in the world, for example, but if it's in the middle of nowhere and you've got to either drive or pay for a taxi to get there then you're not going to enjoy your experience.

Equally, of course, a trip to a stadium located right in the middle of a brilliant city, surrounded by bars with a great atmosphere and cheap drinks will mean absolutely nothing if you get into the ground and can't see any of the pitch because the slight lines are so bad. The very best stadiums have to offer something of a balance of experience to really tick a box.

In the above list the likes of Anfield, the Nou Camp and Celtic Park have made it because they are iconic, but also because they offer a little bit of everything. Liverpool, Barcelona and Glasgow are all excellent cities to spend a bit of time in, with the atmosphere within the stadium promising to special if you're there on the right occasion.

Then you have stadiums such as Bramall Lane, the Mestalla and the Hawthorns that are included on the list because they're storied venues that promise a brilliant experience overall. Of course, when it comes to something as arbitrary as deciding what is the 'best' of something, everyone will have different things that they look out for.

If you're the sort of person that is focussed on the football, the football and nothing but the football then you might not enjoy Anfield if you're right at the back of the Anfield Road End stand and can't see the pitch. Likewise if you're someone that thinks having a few drinks and a good laugh with your mates is the most important part of the match-going experience then you will love the Westfalenstadion.

Hopefully the list here has given you a little taste of the possibilities of the experiences that you can enjoy when you're on the road following your football club. A visit to Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu is unlikely to be 'enjoyable' in the same way as a trip to the Millennium Stadium is, say, but it's likely to be right up there in terms of memories you cherish forever.