Where You Can Watch Football For Free?

Northampton Sixfields Stadium from a nearby Embankment - Ian Rob [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In this day and age of ever-expanding technology the phrase ‘watch football for free’ will inevitably take you to some dodgy site that promises ‘streams for 3pm kick-offs’. Not only are these are legal and moral grey area they’re also invariably a complete waste of everyone’s time.

Don’t worry, though. Thankfully if you’re willing to lift yourself up off the couch and go on a bit of an adventure then there are plenty of ways you can watch football for free that won’t get the police knocking on your door or have you trying to throw your laptop out of an open window. You’ll even be able to see matches live and in person. Sound crazy? Trust us, it’s not.

Nearby Buildings and Houses

The vast majority of football grounds in England, Scotland and Wales are built in residential areas. Of course there are some that were deliberately built away from the hustle and bustle of housing estates, but most were built at a time when space and cost were both at a premium so they made do with the areas that were readily available.

This means that there are a host of stadiums that are surrounded by nearby buildings from which you can see the action on the football pitch. Palmerston Park, for example, is overlooked by houses on Terregles Street from which people can often be seen watching the home matches of Queen of the South.

Palmerston Park
Palmerston Park - By Guinnog (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Likewise Exeter’s St. James’s Park - not to be confused with its namesake in Newcastle - has houses next to it that can see the action from the upper story windows. Grays Athletic’s Recreation Ground has a housing estate built where the Main Stand used to be. The flats include balconies from where the pitch is as visible as if you had a season ticket.

Viewing A Match From The Natural Surroundings

Of course the big problem with all of the above suggestions is that they’re only really open to people that either live in the houses already, know someone who lives in one of the residences with a good view or else to someone who fancies making friends with the owners of the flats and houses. So what of stadiums that have pitches which can be viewed without having to sweet talk your way into someone’s home?

How about Lancaster City’s wonderfully named stadium The Giant Axe? That is located right next to Lancaster Railway Station and you can see the pitch from platforms one and two of the station. Obviously your view might be slightly impeded every time a train comes in but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Ewood Park
Ewood Park - Kenneth Yarham [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ewood Park is the home of Blackburn Rovers. They may not be in the Premier League any more but they remain the only club to break the Manchester United/Arsenal monopoly of the top-flight during the 1990s and so their games are still worth a watch. Head to the hill on the opposite side of the River Darwen in Blackburn and you’ll be able to see any of the action that happens in between the Riverside and Darwen End stands during a match.

Non-League Day

Ok, we’ll be honest: None of the above options will let you watch football for free in a completely unimpeded way without making friends with strangers or breaking into their home when they’re away. There is a way that you can get to see some live football for free, though. Well, sort of.

Non-League Day occurs every year and is a way of encouraging fans who normally only watch Premier League or Championship clubs to see a level of football that they might not have much experience of. On Non-League Day most non-league clubs have special offers on or reduced ticket prices so that you can get in for a fair price to watch some football, have a laugh with your mates and stand in a terrace with a pint of beer in your hand.

Some clubs also have offers on where season ticket holders at nearby ‘big’ clubs can get in for free to watch the match on Non-League Day. Now obviously you have to have a season ticket in order to do this, so it’s not exactly free. But you’re not paying money to the club you actually turn up to watch so it sort of counts.

Other Options For Free Live Football

There are numerous grounds around the country that, for whatever reason, don’t have stands on every side of the pitch. Normally the end without a stand is inaccessible because it’s a cliff-face or a hotel or the like. Some of them are wastelands where, theoretically, you could get in and watch the match for free from there.

The problem is, of course, that the clubs realise this. For that reason they often make it impossible to actually get into the waste area in order to see the action. They put large fences or walls up in order to block your view and have security stopping you from getting into an area where you might be able to see the football for free.

So what other option is there for people who want to get their fix of live football but can’t afford to pay an entrance fee? The very best answer is: Go to your local park.

Sunday League sides, pub teams and student clubs often play football on pitches in local areas. You can head down to your nearest park on a Saturday or Sunday and you’ll be able to watch amateur football for free pretty much every single weekend. The standard might not be the best you’ve ever witnessed, it’s true, but it’ll be free and visceral and that’s what matters.

Football started as a game that a load of friends or work colleagues played in a park on a suitable space and the public came and watched for free. What could be better than taking the game back to its basics, heading to your local park and supporting a load of people who have previously only dreamed of getting support from a live crowd?