Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top TEN010 Football Stadiums List 2011-2012

Top TEN010 Football Stadiums List 2011-2012

1. Signal Iduna Park

Borussia Dortmund’s ground is a classic. Two huge end terraces (and they are terraces,
with the use of safe standing) that fling noise down at the playing area with deafening intensity.
This place was built for football and for fans to express themselves. Every European Cup final should be held here.
The best atmosphere on the Continent on a game-to-game basis.

2. San Siro

The first time you see the Giuseppe Meazza stadium (to give it its correct title), it is impossible not to gasp. Lit up,
it looks like a spaceship set down in suburban Milan. It could take on the Death Star and win, it’s that impressive. Inside,
the stands are like cliff-faces. Those with vertigo better hope they are not on the top level. A fabulous place to watch football.

3. Anfield

Not what it was by any stretch of the imagination, but — especially on European nights — it retains the capacity to astound.
Come those spring nights, the Kop gets a surge of energy and sound pounds down onto the pitch, crushing the weak-willed (Chelsea,
Real Madrid, Juventus), recreating Shankly’s “Bastion of Invincibility.” For Liverpool, home advantage has just a little more edge to it.

4. Inonu Stadium
You can make a case for the Sükrü Saracoglu and the Ali Sami Yen, homes of Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray respectively,
but Besiktas’s ground wins the day by virtue of its magnificent location.
If they get bored, the fans behind one end can look across the Bosphorus to Asia. But their boys don’t get bored, to judge from the row they kick up.
Brilliant atmosphere and a setting that’s unbeatable.

5. Allianz Arena

If you have to build a new stadium, this is the way to do it.
The architects who created the home of Bayern and 1860 Munich managed to equal the comfort level of the Emirates but also built in some atmosphere.
The iconic design — like a huge, discarded car tyre — has made it a tourist attraction, too. And it lights up at night.
More entertaining than some of the teams who play in it.

6. Bernabéu
The Nou Camp’s evil twin. Real Madrid’s palatial home does everything better than its Catalan counterpart except, perhaps, big-game atmosphere.
But it’s a close-run thing. Effortlessly stylish, the place has the easy charm of a brilliantly successful tycoon whose career has been underpinned by a ruthless streak.
Franco would feel right at home.

7. La Bombonera
There can be no such thing as health and safety inspectors in Argentina: if there were,
Boca Juniors’ ground would be closed in a heartbeat. Three sides of the stadium are traditional sloping seating areas but the fourth,
a vertical stand, makes the Bombonera a design classic. This stadium bounces, never more so than when River Plate come to play.
Nothing sweet about this “chocolate box”. It’s hostile.

8. Stadionul Dinamo
A running track is normally enough to destroy a stadium’s credibility. However, Dynamo Bucharest’s ground is a masterpiece of Cold War chic.
You are greeted by Stalinist statues before arriving at a sunken bowl.
A wide staircase behind the goal takes you pitchside — you can imagine a baby’s pram rattling down
the stairs — and the closest thing to executive boxes are the balconies of neighbouring tower blocks.

9. Nou Camp
Depending on the match, this place could easily end up on the list of worst stadiums.
When it’s dull, it’s deathly. But on nights when Barça fans are hurling pigs’ heads at Luis Figo,
it’s electric. The Cathedral of Catalan identity — even if the locals queue up to sell their tickets to tourists.
It’s a shame the Champions League has made visits to places like this commonplace. It was better when it was a rare treat.

10. Craven Cottage
In the era of identikit bowls, the ramshackle little ground on the banks of the Thames is like a throwback to a different age.
It’s a genteel place, but it feels right. Despite being situated in a wealthy area,
the approach to the Cottage is through terraced streets — and that’s the only way to approach an English ground. Homely and comforting.
Like a glass of warm milk at bedtime.

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