top of page

What Was The First Football Stadium In England?

Sporting venues and sports shelters are amongst the most complex and acutely tested large-scale temporary structures in the world and often tend to be temporary structures that endure so much that they become permanent.

One of the most notable examples of a stadium both temporary and permanent is Stadium 974, a 44,000 seater FIFA stadium made using modular steel supporting elements and the very shipping containers used to transport said components to the venue.

Long before this, however, football tended to be played wherever a stadium was available, and because of this mixed history, three football grounds have been claimed to be the first football stadium ever based on wildly different qualifying criteria.

First Stadium To Hold A Football Match

Three years before the Laws of the Game were first codified by the then-London Football Association in 1863 and 26 years before those laws were passed onto the International Football Association board, the first-ever football match between the two oldest clubs in the world was played.

Played on Boxing Day, 1860 the “Rules Derby” between Sheffield FC and Hallam FC was the first football match in the world, but it would take another two years for the same teams to play a match at Sheffield’s cricket stadium Bramall Lane.

This would make it the first ever stadium to host a football match, and it would be followed by hosting the final rounds of the Youdan Cup, the first football tournament ever, the first inter-association match that codified the FA as we know it, and the oldest stadium to host a football club.

All of this gives it a significant case for being first, but it would not be until the second year of the Football League in 1889 that it would have a permanent resident in Sheffield United, and before then it would juggle hosting tournaments and matches for The Wednesday with cricket matches.

Oldest Continually Used Stadium

The other oldest starting point for football was Deepdale, the continuous home of Preston North End since the football team started playing in 1878.

Whilst this is 16 years after Bramall Lane’s first match, Preston North End have played continuously (aside from a point during the Second World War when the stadium was occupied for military use) at the same stadium ever since.

Because of the constant breaks Bramall Lane had for use by other sports, it is claimed (not without controversy) that Deepdale is the first football stadium, even if it was also used for cricket and rugby for a brief period.

First Purpose-Built Football Stadium

In the first few decades, football was played, the rules constantly altered and the game was played largely wherever a stadium of any kind was available, including cricket fields such as The Oval.

However, after a surge of popularity in the 1870s and 1880s, it became clear that purpose-built steel and wooden facilities would be needed, and to that end, Anfield was constructed, with covered stands and terraces that were more than mounds of earth.

Interestingly given its connection to Liverpool Football Club, it was initially the home of their rivals Everton for nearly a decade before a dispute forced the move to Goodison Park and Liverpool FC was formed to ensure that the stadium would not be a waste of money.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Social Icon ShelterIt
  • Instagram Social Icon ShelterIt
  • Twitter Social Icon ShelterIt
  • Pinterest Social Icon ShelterIt
bottom of page