FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World: 90-81

Our countdown continues with a classic English ground, an Australian moths' nest and the home of a crowd so boisterious that their ground is known as ‘Thunder Castle'. Come on, what football fan wouldn't want to go to Thunder Castle?

Words: Andy MurrayScott McIntyre,  James Fielden, Gregor MacGregor,  Kris Heneage, Kritikorn Thanamahamongkhol, Joe BrewinJohn DuerdenLee Roden and Chris Flanagan

#FFT100STADIUMS The 100 Best Stadiums in the World: list and features here

craven cottage

90. Craven Cottage

Stadium facts

  • Located London, England
  • Opened 1896
  • Tenants Fulham
  • Capacity 25,700
  • Record attendance 49,335 

There’s no stadium quite like Craven Cottage. In an age where identikit bowls dominate, this is a piece of authentic Little England tucked away on the banks of the Thames in South West London.

Coming out of Putney Bridge station, you pass independent eateries and one of London’s best second-hand bookshops, then into the tree-lined confines of Bishops Park, eventually emerging onto Stevenage Road.

It’s here that Fulham’s home since 1896 truly reveals itself. Fronting the oldest football stadium in the capital – the first ‘Cottage’ was built in 1780 and supposedly counts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Florence Nightingale and even Queen Victoria as former tenants – the redbrick façade of the Johnny Haynes stand is the typically beautiful work of prolific architect Archibald Leitch. 

This stand, along with the titular Cottage nestled in the corner of the ground, is a Grade II listed building. Throw in the Riverside Stand, brilliant for a half-time drink looking over the Thames, and you’ve got a picture-perfect little ground. And no amount of Michael Jackson statues can change that. – AM

FEATURE Simon Inglis on the early history of football stadiums

FEATURE Simon Inglis on Archibald Leitch, the man who invented football grounds

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shanghai

89. Shanghai Stadium

Stadium facts

  • Location Shanghai, China
  • Opened 1997
  • Tenants Shanghai SIPG
  • Capacity 56,842
  • Record attendance 56,842

Asia does a good job in squeezing maximum value out of stadium space: some come with shops or restaurants built into the structure, some with discos, some with government offices and some with hotels.

If you fancy a good night’s sleep, Shanghai Stadium and its Regal Hotel may not be the place when a match is on, but then again if you want a room with a view it may be the most comfortable bed in the house. Several rooms come with a view of the actual stadium, although there have been complaints from disgruntled guests whose only vista was the top of the roof.

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Home to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG, the venue itself is quite spectacular, set amongst a cluster of skyscrapers and complete with a curved roof that resembles a white wave about to wash over the city. It also has the world’s longest cantilevered steel truss roof – whatever that means – with a span of some 300 metres. - SM

#FFT100STADIUMS The 100 Best Stadiums in the World: list and features here

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