At this moment, we sadly have next to no atmosphere in grounds. With Covid-19, it’s been almost a year since we’ve seen full stadiums around the Premier League.
This has left me desperately missing the unique Premier League atmospheres so today we’re ranking each Premier League ground based on atmosphere alone.
20. The London Stadium
I once described West Ham’s ground as a marvel. It is a special design but the distance between pitch and supporters stops any sort of atmosphere from building. Of course, results haven’t helped and I’d like to know what the atmosphere would’ve been like this season given their on field success. Nonetheless, I still miss Upton Park.
19. The Emirates
A modern stadium that lacks the atmosphere and character of its predecessor, the Emirates perhaps has failed to capture its own unique feel because of Arsenal’s struggles in recent years. The Gunners have lost their identity and are no longer a mainstay in the top four and that’s bound to stifle the atmosphere at the ground.
18. The Etihad
Much has been made of the Etihad’s lack of atmosphere. Home to one of England’s finest teams, the atmosphere at times fails to reflect that. Perhaps that owes a lot to its modern design which leaves it lacking character. Many have tried to pinpoint why City have failed to win the Champions League, maybe their lack of atmosphere is the reason why.
17. St Mary’s
As with plenty of modern grounds, St Mary’s lacks the signature atmosphere of some of its more retro counterparts. For me, St Mary’s is more about the football the Saints produce and less about the hostile atmosphere. It’s home to a good team who don’t exactly require the extra boost of a special atmosphere.
16. Craven Cottage
Fulham’s ground is a unique design but lacks a unique atmosphere. At times the ground can make it tough for teams to play there – just look at Liverpool’s result there with just a fraction of the fans in – but at times they fail to influence the result as much as they’d like as seen by their relegation in 18/19.
15. Stamford Bridge
I love the design of Chelsea’s stadium, but the atmosphere at times leaves something to be desired. When they’re not winning the atmosphere can dissipate given the club’s absolute need to win. In truth you can’t blame them.
14. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham’s new ground is one of the most visually spectacular. But I’d have to say it’s loses something White Hart Lane once had. Being in its infancy, it may yet soon achieve that special something. It leans into its modernity and creates a cinema-like sensation and soon could boast one of the league’s best atmospheres.
13. Old Trafford
I do think Old Trafford is a special ground and in times gone by the atmosphere was one to behold. However, in recent years as their wait for a league title goes on, the atmosphere has perhaps pilled more pressure on the home players rather than belief. Maybe that’s why the Red Devils are impressing this season – there’s less pressure when playing at home.
12. The Amex
As one of the more modern grounds, The Amex is one that you might not expect to have that good of an atmosphere. I’d argue that’s not entirely the case. Their fans have generated a good atmosphere in recent seasons often buying into the direction of their club. Their continued survival owes much to their supporters.
11. The King Power
For me, Leicester’s ground sits right in the middle when it comes to atmosphere. It’s modernity takes a little bit away from it and I wouldn’t exactly class it as one of those dreaded away games. However, it’s still capable of generating a lively atmosphere especially when Leicester won the league five years ago.
10. The Hawthorns
One of those small yet intimidating places to play, West Brom’s ground is a tough place to try and win when full. Their fans feel close to the action and play their part in making their side a robust unit difficult to play through. Perhaps their return to the top flight would’ve been smoother with fans in the ground.
9. Turf Moor
A lot of the top Premier League managers will tell you Turf Moor is a tough place to go. Not only does Sean Dyche set up his side in a way that is designed to frustrate, but the small and compact nature of the ground allows the atmosphere to feel louder and more intimidating.
8. Villa Park
A famous old stadium, it’s a shame the Villa fans aren’t allowed to fill it as their team put together a fantastic season. Its history prompts greater noise as does its traditional and intimate design allowing the cheers of supporters to feel that much closer to the players below.
7. Bramall Lane
Last season, Bramall Lane was a special place to be. Believing in the unbelievable – the prospect of European football – the Blades fans were one of the loudest sets of supporters. They turned their ground into a lively yet intimidating place to be. Perhaps this season would’ve been a better campaign for Sheffield had they had fans in.
6. St James’ Park
The design of St James’ Park makes the atmosphere special. It’s height turns the stadium into a pit of noise which, when the Newcastle faithful have something to believe in, has made the ground one of the toughest places to go even for the biggest teams. The Magpies defeated eventual Champions Man City at home in 18/19 and gave Champions League winners Liverpool a scare in the same campaign. It loses marks purely because so often the fans don’t have much to cheer about.
5. Goodison Park
When a top tier team rolls into Goodison – and especially when their neighbours come round – the atmosphere goes up a few notches. The Everton faithful make the ground an awful place for the top teams to come and win at. They intimidate opponents whilst also offering the home players an extra burst of energy.
4. Selhurst Park
The atmosphere at Selhurst Park is no doubt bolstered by its size. Its compact nature allows the fans to feel really packed in. Thus, the noise they generate grows tenfold as it reverberates inside the tight ground creating a hostile atmosphere. This has made Palace a very difficult proposition at home over the years.
Wolves have done a superb job in making their Premier League ground a fortress in their return to the top-flight. The intimate nature of the ground makes it appear as though it’s rocking and most sides have struggled to get anything when it’s been full. Take Manchester City for example, when Molineux was packed in 18/19 and 19/20 City failed to win either of their games away at Wolves.
2. Elland Road
The Leeds fans are very rarely quiet. It never fails to feel like a party in Elland Road especially last season as United romped to promotion. It’s a rotten shame the retro stadium wasn’t full to the brim when Leeds returned to the Premier League but they’ll be as loud as ever when they’re allowed back in.
Anfield is a special place made more special by those in it. In a rare departure from modern football fandom, under Klopp the Liverpool faithful never get on their team’s back. They remain loyal to the very end and always dream. Of course, they have their signature songs topped by You’ll Never Walk Alone which makes the whole place that much more intimidating. There’s a reason Liverpool went unbeaten for 68 home games with that run only coming to an end when empty. As with Leeds, it’s a shame Anfield wasn’t packed when the Reds won the league.