Since the Premier League began in 1992, football stadia in England have completely changed.
Almost every one of the 20 top-flight clubs have redeveloped their stadium or built a new one, with Tottenham the latest to have spent huge sums on transforming their home.
While Spurs’ new arena looks mightily impressive, it’s unrecognisable from the old version of White Hart Lane.
We’ve been trawling the archives to see what the stadiums of the clubs competing in the 2018/19 Premier League season looked like back in 1992, and how they compare to their grounds today.
They weren’t quite so impressive back then…
The Gunners kicked off the inaugural Premier League season with a shock 2-4 home defeat to Norwich, but that wasn’t the only surprise greeting fans on the opening day. Where the old North Bank terrace had stood, fans were greeted with a giant mural of the soon-to-be-constructed new North Bank; a two-tier, all-seated stand in keeping with the art deco splendour of the East and West Stands.
With all-seater requirements reducing Highbury’s capacity to 38,000 and little room to manoeuvre due to neighbouring housing on all four sides of the ground, Arsenal said goodbye to their beloved stadium in 2006. The Gunners moved a short distance across Islington to the Emirates Stadium, with its 60,000 capacity and vastly more profitable corporate facilities.
A third tier team in 1992, Bournemouth’s Dean Court was a small ground with terracing on three sides, including the compact stand pictured below.
The ground was completely rebuilt in 2001, with the pitch rotated 90 degrees from its original position. Now known as the Vitality Stadium due to sponsorship, it remains a small ground, with an all-seated capacity of just 11,464. Plans to build a new stadium in Kings Park are currently being drawn up by the Cherries.
David Beckham made his professional debut for Manchester United at the Goldstone Ground in September 1992, but not in a Premier League game. The Seagulls had just been relegated to the third tier and faced the Red Devils in the League Cup, and top flight football seemed a distant prospect at that point. Financial woes led to the sale of the Goldstone Ground in 1997, without a new home lined up. Despite having seen better days, the old ground was loved by Brighton fans, with its open East Terrace pictured above, set against the backdrop of nearby houses.
After more than a decade of playing at an athletics venue, the Withdean Stadium, and two years ground sharing with Gillingham (75 miles away in Kent), Brighton moved into the impressive Falmer Stadium in 2011. Now known as the Amex for sponsorship reasons, it hosted Premier League football for the first time in the 2017/18 season. Certainly a contrast to life at the Goldstone in 1992.
Burnley’s home since 1883, in 1992 Turf Moor was a ground dominated by terracing, including the Longside Stand (below, left) and the uncovered, brilliantly named Bee Hole End.
In the mid-1990s the old terraces were replaced by the James Hargreaves and Jimmy McIlroy Stands, leaving Turf Moor as a smart, historic home for the Premier League Clarets.
Back in ’92, Cardiff were playing at Ninian Park. It was their home for 99 years before its closure in 2009 and was also used as the home of the Wales national team from 1911 to the late 1980s.
It has since been converted into a residential housing estate.
Cardiff City Stadium has been Cardiff’s home since 1992. It is the second largest stadium in Wales with a capacity of 33,280.
This is what Stamford Bridge looked like when the Premier League kicked off in 1992. The Blues were founder members of the breakaway division, and have been there ever since, but their home ground has almost completely changed. Only the three-tier East Stand, built in the 1970s at a cost that nearly saw Chelsea go bust, remains today. Otherwise the sweeping bowl terracing, what remained of the old greyhound track, and the notorious West Stand with its concrete benches, have all disappeared.
The Bridge bowl was replaced in the 1990s, when the new Shed End and Matthew Harding stands were built, followed by the new West Stand in 2001.
On the opening day of the Premier League in 1992, Selhurst Park played host to a thrilling 3-3 draw between Palace and Blackburn, with Rovers’ British record signing Alan Shearer scoring twice and the home side notching a 90th minute equaliser. Back then, Selhurst featured a large open terrace at the Holmesdale Road end.
The Holmesdale Road terrace was replaced in 1994/95 with the impressive double-decker stand pictured below, while the Whitehorse Lane terrace at the opposite end, with its executive boxes perched on top, was roofed and made all-seater in 1993. The much maligned Main and Arthur Wait Stands remain on either side of the pitch. Palace were recently granted permission to build a new main stand at Selhurst Park that will increase capacity from 26,000 to more than 34,000.
Everton’s Goodison Park in 1992 – One of the most historic grounds in world football, little has changed at Goodison since the Premier League kicked off 25 years ago, apart from the replacement of standing terraces, and a new Park End Stand, built in 1994.
Everton’s Goodison Park in 2018 – The Bullens Road and Gwladys Street End (pictured right and left, respectively), designed by legendary British football stadium architect Archibald Leitch in the 1920s and 1930s, remain at Goodison, with their distinctive balcony trusses. As does the towering Goodison Road stand, completed in 1971. How long the Toffees remain at Goodison is questionable, though, as the club look to the future and a possible move away.
Craven Cottage has been Fulham’s home since 1896. In 1992, when the Premier League launched, the Hammersmith and Putney stands were terracing and the lower section of the Johnny Haynes stand was also a standing area.
After Fulham were promoted to the Premier League in 2001 they were forced to carry out major rebuilding work on Craven Cottage to comply with top-flight rules. Due to restrictions on standing, they were given three years to make their ground all-seated. This meant they had to groundshare with QPR at Loftus Road during the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons while Craven Cottage was rebuilt as an all-seated stadium.
The capacity is currently 25,700 but will soon be boosted by more than 4000 with the development of a new £80million Riverside Stand.
In 1992 Huddersfield were a third tier side, playing at their old Leeds Road ground, which the had called home since 1908. By then the capacity was around 17,000, despite boasting a large terrace on the ‘Popular Side’.
Huddersfield left Leeds Road in 1994 for the new McAlpine Stadium, now known as the John Smith’s Stadium. When the stadium opened in the summer of 1994, only two sides were ready, with the South Stand not completed until December of that year, while the North Stand didn’t open until four years later. Each stand features a curved roof, and the stadium hosted Premier League football for the first time in the 2017/18 season.
The home of the Foxes since 1891, Filbert Street was a rather lopsided affair in 1992. The two-tier South Stand (pictured below, right), towered over the East Stand and the North Stand at the opposite end, with its executive boxes perched on top. The Main Stand was demolished and rebuilt in 1992/93, replaced by a large, two-tier structure.
The Foxes left Filbert Street in 2002 for their new home, now known as the King Power Stadium, which witnessed the making of, not just Leicester, but world football history, when the club incredibly won the 2015/16 Premier League title.
Liverpool celebrated the club’s 100th birthday in 1992 by opening a new two-tier stand on the Kemlyn Road side of Anfield, naming it the Centenary Stand. It is pictured above next to the old standing Kop, a vast concrete bank which had changed little since having a roof added in 1928, although safety restrictions had reduced the capacity of the famous terrace from around 30,000 at its height to 16,000. The Anfield Road end last rebuilt in 1965 was already all-seater, as was the 1971-built Main Stand. Capacity stood at just below 45,000, and this was the last season Anfield was the best attended stadium in English football, albeit courtesy of a reduced capacity at Old Trafford, as Manchester United carried out redevelopment of their stadium.
Anfield is much changed since 1992, though the Centenary Stand remains albeit now named after club legend Kenny Dalglish. The old Kop was demolished in 1994, and replaced by a 12,390 all-seated Kop. Meanwhile, the Anfield Road end become a two-tier stand in 1998, and most recently a huge new Main Stand was opened in 2016, taking overall capacity to 54,074.
Maine Road was once the largest club ground in England, but by the early 1990s was showing its age. The Main Stand and its distinctive roof was built in the 1970s, with the giant Kippax terrace opposite. The Platt Lane end was rebuilt during the first Premier League season, complete with executive boxes, and renamed the Umbro Stand. Little did City fans know back then that Maine Road’s days were numbered, while a major turnaround in the club’s fortunes was on the horizon.
With Maine Road requiring extensive redevelopment and becoming a drain on City’s meagre resources, the club jumped at the chance to move in to the new Eastlands Stadium in 2003. It had been built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and was brilliantly designed to be repurposed after the event to host football, not least by removing the athletics track. In 2015, with City having won two Premier League titles in the previous three years, the club added another tier to the South Stand, taking the capacity up to 55,000, with another tier to be added to the North Stand in future.
Unlike other historic English football grounds, in 1992 Old Trafford had been developed with an overall masterplan in mind. First the United Road Stand was built in the 1960s, with a cantilever roof meaning there were no pillars to obstruct fans’ views. This was extended to the East Stand in 1973, then the Main Stand, so that three sides of Old Trafford formed a continuous bowl. Only the old Stretford End terrace broke the uniformity, at a time when English football grounds were renowned for being a mishmash of designs. By 1992, with all-seater requirements looming, United demolished the Stretford End, and kicked off the inaugural Premier League season with an open end and reduced capacity of initially around 32,000, although the completion of the bowl lifted this to 44,000 by the season’s end.
If you had told a Man United fan in August 1992 that the Red Devils would win 13 league titles in the next 25 years, they probably would have said you were mad. And that crazy run of success came with an astonishing redevelopment of Old Trafford. When the original Theatre of Dreams masterplan was completed in 1992/93, the capacity was just 44,000 the lowest it had ever been, as all-seater requirements reduced the number of fans who could see United play. So the club promptly added another two tiers to the North Stand in 1996, taking capacity to 55,000. The East Stand and Stretford End also received additional tiers in the next six years, making a total of 68,217 seats, then the north-west and north-east quadrants had tiers added in 2006. Capacity now stands at just over 75,000, with only the single tier Main Stand (now known as the Bobby Charlton Stand) remaining from the ground as it was in 1992.
In 1992 Newcastle were actually playing in the second tier, but the club won promotion that season to take their place in the Premier League in 1993/94. And St James’ Park looked a lot different when Kevin Keegan’s team embarked on that promotion-winning campaign 26 years ago. Pictured below is the 1980s-built Milburn Stand, which had standing on the lower tier, while there were two uncovered terraces at either end of the ground, reaching an overall capacity of 36,000.
The Milburn Stand is now a huge three tier structure, joined in the late 1990s by the equally imposing Leazes End, while the Gallowgate End was turned into an all-seated, covered stand in 1993. All the corners were filled in, and only the East Stand built in the 1970s, on a side of the stadium where the club are unable to build higher due to a row of Georgian terraced houses behind remains from 1992.
The Dell was Southampton’s home for more than 100 years. It was converted into an all-seater in the early 1990s with the erection of two new stands at either end.
The Dell was consigned to history in 2001, when Saints moved to the larger St Mary’s Stadium.
White Hart Lane underwent extensive renovation in the 1980s, including a new East Stand in 1989. Financial constraints meant the roof was built with pillars, at a time when this was already an outdated practice. That wasn’t the only controversy surrouding the redevelopment, because the installation of new executive boxes had led to the removal of the East Stand’s much loved ‘Shelf’ terrace, though standing places remained in the lower paddock. Fans could also stand in the Park Lane and Paxton ends, though the roofs only covered seated sections at the rear.
Spurs played their last ever game at White Hart Lane in May 2017, before it was demolished to make way for their new stadium, which is due to open in 2018.
A quarter of a century ago, Watford were a second tier club playing in a ground dominated by terracing, apart from the Rous Stand, which had been opened in 1986, thanks in part to a loan from Elton John.
The Rous Stand remains, but has now been renamed after the Hornets’ legendary manager, the late Graham Taylor. In the meantime, the terraced ends were replaced in the 1990s by the Vicarage Road and Rookery Stands, while the Elton John Stand replaced the dilapidated Main Stand in 2013.
The Hammers had dropped into the second tier by 1992, but would gain promotion to the Premier League that season. Upton Park, meanwhile, was on the brink of major redevelopment. In 1992, the old South and North Bank terraces remained behind the goals, soon to be replaced by double-decker seated stands. The old main West Stand (below, right), with its pillars obscuring views, towered over the ground, though it would be demolished in favour of the new Dr. Martens Stand in 2001.
Upton Park is no more, demolished in 2016 after the Hammers moved to the repurposed London Stadium. Built originally to host the 2012 London Olympic Games, the stadium underwent an expensive revamp to allow seating to be placed over the athletics track, which had to remain as a condition of West Ham’s tenancy.
Sir Jack Hayward’s takeover of Wolves in 1990 sparked major redevelopment of Molineux, which has been the club’s home since 1889. The North Bank terrace was demolished in October 1991 and the Stan Cullis Stand was completed in August 1992. Next came the demolition of the Waterloo Road Stand, with the new Billy Wright Stand opening in August 1993.
Molineux is now a 31,700 all-seater stadium and will host Premier League football in 2018/19 for the first time in six years.