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Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

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Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

For millions – if not billions – around the world, football is home; a way of life. The feeling that we as devoted and passionate supporters of the clubs that we hold so dear have overcome our entire range of emotions when we arrive at the hallowed grounds of our beloved clubs is like no other.

Through decades of change, or no change at all, our connection to these grounds remains unwavering even if some went through a period of unfamiliarity. But the visceral connection and emotions attached to the places where we share memories remain the same.

With that in mind, here is 101 Great Goals’ look back at Premier League grounds thirty years ago and how they have changed.

Highbury | Arsenal

Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 25: Highbury football ground, home to Arsenal football club stands between the rows of houses days before it is to be sold off on July 25, 2006, London, England. (Photo by David Goddard/Getty Images)

Built: 1913

Average attendance 1992/93: 24,403

Average attendance 2021/22: 54,648

Current capacity: 60,260 (Emirates)

One of the most iconic grounds in the history of football in England and indeed of the Premier League era, Highbury bore witness to countless greats that called north London home while plying their trade for Arsenal. Most fans these days will remember the latter years of the ground; with the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and David Rocastle dazzling with effortless grace. Highbury went through two renovations during its service life between 1932-36 and 1992-93, and though its max capacity during its lifetime was once 73,000, the stadium as most will remember was just over 38,000; prompting the club to move to the Emirates in 2006 in a bid to push the club forward.

Villa Park | Aston Villa

Built: 1897

Average attendance 1992/93: 29,594

Average attendance 2021/22: 34,875

Current capacity: 42,095

Opened in 1897, Villa Park has been the one-stop-shop for Aston Villa for its entire existence. In the last 30-years, it was unable to witness the club bring home any major domestic honours other than a pair of league cups in 1993-94 and 1995-96. And though the club was highly successful in the earlier years of its existence, many of the Villa greats woven into club lore did not grace the pitch at Villa Park in the last thirty years. Two that did, however, made a lasting impression; Dwight Yorke, and Paul McGrath. The ground was subject to multiple renovations and redevelopments which have led to the current layout of the Holte End, Trinity Road Stand, North Stand, and Doug Ellis Stand, with further initial plans looking to expand its overall capacity to 50,000.

Griffin Park | Brentford

Built: 1904

Average attendance 1992/93: 12,300

Average attendance 2021/22: 14,442

Current capacity: 17,094 (Brentford Community Stadium)

No longer the home ground of Brentford, Griffin Park was synonymous with the idea of what it meant to be a local ground for the local supporter. Famous for featuring a pub on every corner, it was home to the Bees since 1904 and was one of the first grounds anywhere in English football to feature floodlights. It went through multiple renovations and additions that added four stands and terraces (the original ground had none) and though its record attendance for a football league match was 38,535, upon its closing its capacity was just 12,573. Plans to turn it into housing (much like Highbury) are being undertaken after Brentford moved to their new ground; Brentford Community Stadium in September 2020.

Goldstone Ground | Brighton & Hove Albion

Built: 1913

Average attendance 1992/93: 12,300

Average attendance 2021/22: 30,729

Current capacity: 31,800 (Amex)

Most Premier League fans will have never heard of the Goldstone Ground and rightfully so. The last time the former Brighton home patch featured in the top flight of English football was during the 1982-83 season before the club finished bottom of the former first division and has never seen a Premier League fixture. In the wake of the Hillsborough disaster and the resulting Taylor Report, Goldstone Ground eventually closed its doors for the last time in 1997 while the club was in the third division. By then, it had gone through multiple additions and renovations, which included adding all four stands of the ground between 1949 and 1984. It has since been demolished and the Goldstone Retail Park stands in its place.

Turf Moor | Burnley

Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

General view of the ground ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round match at Turf Moor, Burnley. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images)

Built: 1883

Average attendance 1992/93: 10,573

Average attendance 2021/22: 13,581

Current capacity: 21,944

The second-longest continuously used ground in English professional football, Turf Moor is a testament to Burnley and the surrounding area ever since it first came into service way back in 1883. The site of the ground has been used for sporting events dating back as early as 1843 and even bore witness to British royalty attending an event when Prince Albert Victor attended a friendly in 1886. It received its first grandstand in 1885 and all sides of the ground received terraces in that same year, while between the 1950s-70s, all stands were rebuilt and Turf Moor went through further upgrading in the 1990s. It now comprises the Bob Lord Stand, the Cricket Field Stand, the North Stand, and the Jimmy McIlroy Stand that faithfully serves one of the most heavily supported clubs per capita in England.

Stamford Bridge | Chelsea

Built: 1876

Average attendance 1992/93: 18,754

Average attendance 2021/22: 37,758

Current capacity: 41,837

Completed in 1876 and opened for service the following year, current long-term tenants Chelsea moved into the ground in 1905 and has been the home patch for the Blues ever since. ‘The Bridge’ has gone multiple major changes over its shelf life as a football ground, but was not fully modernized until the 1990s when it was finally converted into an all-seater stadium commensurate with the club’s status as a Premier League outfit. It was recently subject to plans for further redevelopment and expansion that called for its max capacity to be improved to between 55,000-60,000. Those plans were suspended in 2018 however, and as it stands, the current iteration of the ground is as it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Selhurst Park | Crystal Palace

Built: 1924

Average attendance 1992/93: 15,726

Average attendance 2021/22: 23,944

Current capacity: 25,486

Built and opened in 1924 thanks to the famed stadium designer Archibald Leitch, Selhurst Park is a prime example of a quintessential and intimate English football ground seen around the country. Now with a capacity of just under 25,500, Crystal Palace‘s home patch has gone through four renovations and two expansions across its service history in the English capital which included serving as a temporary home for both Charlton Athletic (1985-91) and Wimbledon (1991-2003). Selhurst has been renovated as recently as 2014 and as of 2018 Palace announced that £100m worth of renovations were imminent with a view of bringing it fully up to the standard of what a modern Premier League club should be able to boast for a home ground.

Goodison Park | Everton

Built: 1892

Average attendance 1992/93: 20,457

Average attendance 2021/22: 38,799

Current capacity: 39,414

The venue that has hosted the most top-flight matches in the history of football in England due to Everton only spending just four seasons outside of the top division in its history, Goodison Park has been arguably the shining light of football in the country since it opened its doors in 1896. Famously, it also hosted the semi-final match of West Germany vs the Soviet Union in the 1966 World Cup. So often cited as one of the toughest places to play given how close the supporters are to the touchline, Goodison – like most grounds built over a century ago – has gone through massive renovation and redevelopment projects but the charm of it has never taken a hit and remains a leading example of what it means to play football in England. But Everton will eventually be moving on from this hallowed ground, with the construction of the club’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Docks officially underway.

Elland Road | Leeds United

Built: 1897

Average attendance 1992/93: 29,228

Average attendance 2021/22: 30,637

Current capacity: 37,792

Leeds United has called Elland Road it’s home since 1919 but it has been in place since 1897 and was first used as a stadium for former Rugby League outfit Holbeck Rugby Club and the now-defunct Leeds City FC until 1919. Once United moved in, changes to the ground unfolded almost immediately and across its service history as six renovations and nine expansions have been observed across its 103-years of service to the Yorkshire club. And 30 years ago, Elland Road was one of the hotbeds of English football where Leeds were just off the back of being crowned champions of England during the 1991-92 season. Countless memories of European nights a few years later under David O’Leary’s side also left fond memories and though the club has since struggled, their storied ground remains.

Filbert Street| Leicester City

Built: 1891

Average attendance 1992/93: 15,326

Average attendance 2021/22: 23,944

Current capacity: 32,312 (King Power Stadium)

Officially named City Business Stadium but much more affectionally known as Filbert Street (its address), the former Leicester City ground had seen it all and them some across its storied service to the city. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Filbert Street had already gone through multiple renovations and expansions, but like most ground across England, was not converted into a stadium that could sustain fully-seated attendance until the publishing of the Taylor Report. But after that modernization, which ended up being the course of action the club opted to take rather than looking for a new home, the ground reached its final evolution in 1994 and remained as such until its demolition in 2003 after the Foxes changed addresses to the King Power Stadium in 2002.

Anfield | Liverpool

Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

Built: 1884

Average attendance 1992/93: 37,009

Average attendance 2021/22: 44,165

Current capacity: 53,394

Not just a symbol of football in England but across the globe, Liverpool’s storied ground Anfield has been deeply rooted in football lore in the country and on Merseyside since 1884 when it was first occupied by bitter city rivals Everton before the Reds took up sole occupancy in 1892 and have remained intimately entangled with the ground ever since. Like all grounds around the country, Anfield was subject to plans to come up to code after the Taylor Report but even after renovations in 1992, the stadium went through multiple further projects to improve the matchday experience as well as expand its capacity. Though plans to build a new ground at Stanley Park began to gain steam in 2002, they have since been scrapped, and instead, Anfield has once again been targeted by further redevelopment projects under owners Fenway Sports Group and by the end of 2024, its capacity increased to 61,000.

Maine Road | Manchester City

Built: 1923

Average attendance 1992/93: 24,698

Average attendance 2021/22: 52,592

Current capacity: 53,400 (Eithad)

The former home of Manchester City for 80 years, Maine Road bore witness to days of glory and moments of pure heartbreak across its service in English football. Built and opened in 1923, Maine Road went through four renovations and one expansion project during its shelf life and once even was the temporary home of City rivals Manchester United between 1945-49 (due to bomb damage to Old Trafford) and 1956-57 (due to floodlights necessary to host European cup fixtures). By 1995, Maine Road featured the tallest stand in England – the Kippax Stand – but City would get relegated that season and would spend six of the next seven years outside of the Premier League. By then, the club already was in plans to move to the new City of Manchester Stadium after abandoning plans to expand Maine Road to 45,000. Since then, it has been demolished in favour of housing.

Old Trafford | Manchester United

Built: 1909

Average attendance 1992/93: 35,132

Average attendance 2021/22: 52,157

Current capacity: 74,140

The largest ground in English club football and the home of the most storied top-flight outfit in the history of the sport inside its borders, Old Trafford and Manchester United are true global icons in the beautiful game and have been partners on that journey since 1910 when the stadium opened its doors to fans for the first time. The Theatre of Dreams had survived damage suffered during the Second World War, but only just, and today only the central tunnel remains as the last piece of the original framework of the stadium that can date back to its inaugural season. After a gargantuan effort to give OT a facelift and move past the scars of war, the ground was subject to constant renovations and upgrades which most impressively included the redevelopment of both the Stretford End in the 1990s and later the East Stand in the early 2000s but has been left undeveloped since 2006, which the club plans to rectify moving forward.

St. James’ Park | Newcastle United

Built: 1892

Average attendance 1992/93: 26,511

Average attendance 2021/22: 51,175

Current capacity: 52,305

St. James’ Park has been the home of Newcastle United and a mecca of football in the northeast of England since 1892, but the location of the Magpies home patch was used for football matches since as early as 1880 and for almost the entirety of its existence has been subject to clashes with the local government and population regarding expansion and redevelopment efforts due to a cramped location. Thanks to Sir John Hall, St. James’ Park finally went through proper upgrades and expansion across a history that featured little. By 1995, the ground finally had all four corners filled and the eventual upgrade – and most recognizable, the lopsided look of the Leazes End and northeast Corner – was finished in 1998. The East and Gallowgate Stands were also redeveloped during the first few years post-2000 taking the ground to its current look today.

Carrow Road | Norwich City

Built: 1935

Average attendance 1992/93: 16,453

Average attendance 2021/22: 22,793

Current capacity: 27,359

Built in 1935 and one of the ‘younger’ grounds in the Premier League, Carrow Road is as quaint a football stadium that you’ll find in the English top flight and has gone through a wealth of changes and adaptations across a service history to Norwich City that is, on average, fifty-years less than many of the current stadia around the country. Forty-four years after its completion, Carrow Road went through it’s first of six expansions in 1979 before receiving a second in 1984 and a third in 1992 while three additional face lifts took place after the turn of the century as recently as 2010 which brings us to its current iteration today. Once dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ after its original completion (which only took 82-days) and the largest building effort since the erection of Norwich Castle, Carrow Road remains near and dear to Canaries supporters to this day.

The Dell | Southampton

Our Sacred Home | A look back into the grounds of current Premier League sides thirty-years ago

SOUTHAMPTON – APRIL 13: Matthew Le Tissier of Southampton shoots at goal as Ryan Giggs of Manchester United makes a challenge during the FA Carling Premiership match between Southampton and Manchester United held on April 13, 1996 at The Dell, in Southampton, England. Southampton won the match 3-1. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Built: 1897

Average attendance 1992/93: 15,148

Average attendance 2021/22: 26,914

Current capacity: 32,384 (St Mary’s)

Upon its completion in 1898, Southampton‘s former home of football did not have a name but eventually would be dubbed ‘The Dell’ and it stuck ever since. Expanded in 1927 and again in 1929 due to a fire that destroyed the East Stand on the final day of the 1928-29 season, Saints home patch had an interesting history that involved a German Luftwaffe bomb creating an 18-foot crater at the penalty spot during raids on the port city. The Second World War touched the stadium once again a year later when a munitions stockpile explosion caused fires that destroyed the West Stand which was soon rebuilt. After being the first ground in England to receive permanent flood-light instalments, it then largely remain untouched until the 1980s when it went under numerous additional projects to modernize as well as in the 1990s but unfortunately was demolished in 2001 when the club moved into St. Mary’s where it remains.

White Hart Lane | Tottenham

Built: 1898

Average attendance 1992/93: 27,878

Average attendance 2021/22: 54,677

Current capacity: 62,850 (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)

Built nearly 124-years-ago, Tottenham had already been playing its matches on public land at Tottenham Marshes for 16-years and therefore was unable to charge an admission fee for fans; the coming of White Hart Lane would end up being a symbol of a bitter rivalry with Arsenal that remains to this day. ‘The Lane’ opened in 1899 and went through expansion as early as 1904 due to overcrowding issues and was already one of many stadiums that famed architect Archibald Leitch sunk his teeth into. Within a decade the stadium reached a capacity of 50,000 but saw service in defence of its country when part of the stadium was converted to help the British war effort during the First World War. It would go through many renovations, facelifts, and redevelopments in its history until its ultimate demolition in 2017. But the Lane will always be remembered, with Tottenham’s current stadium standing almost on the exact spot of its historic predecessor, keeping the visceral connection between club and supporter alive and well.

Vicarage Road | Watford

Built: 1922

Average attendance 1992/93: 8,275

Average attendance 2021/22: 20,572

Current capacity: 22,200

Vicarage Road has been a fixture of the Watford landscape since it was built and opened in 1922, providing the long-term home for the Hornets ever since after the club first began play at their former ground, Cassio Road, which served as their home pitch from 1898 until the year ‘The Vic’ opened. Both the Vicarage Road Stand and the The Rookery Stand were completed between 1992 and 1995, and those completed projects give us the stadiums current iteration where it remains largely unchanged since. Seating just over 22,000 it remains one of the smallest grounds in the Premier League but is befitting of the passionate fanbase that it continues to serve on the outskirts of the English capital.

Boleyn Ground | West Ham United

Built: 1904

Average attendance 1992/93: 16,001

Average attendance 2021/22: 53,345

Current capacity: 66,000 (London Stadium)

Boleyn Ground – often referred to as Upton Park – was the home of storied club West Ham United for 112-years after the Hammers combined with local outfit Boleyn Castle in 1904. Famously and unfortunately, Boleyn Ground was hit by a German V-1 flying bomb in the summer of 1944 which forced West Ham to play its matches elsewhere before returning in December of that year, but major changes were undertaken on the stadium in 1990 given the outcome of the Taylor Report and multiple redevelopments were seen in 1993 and 1994 with the completion of the Bobby Moore stand and the North Bank. Its final metamorphosis was seen in 2000 when the 15,000 seat “Dr. Martens Stand” was completed, but it would only be another 12-years until the club eventually migrated to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Olympics which would ultimate lead to the demolition of the ground.

Molineux | Wolves

Built: 1889

Average attendance 1992/93: 13,052

Average attendance 2021/22: 27,979

Current capacity: 32,050

Though many fans will not be entirely familiar with the history of Wolves, the club have a bigger connection to football in England than many realize and some of that is due to their long-lasting connection to the Molineux. Completed in 1889, it is one of the oldest grounds anywhere in the country and was the first stadium built for use by a Football League club and was also one of the leading grounds to install floodlights while also playing host to some of the earliest clashes in European club competition starting in 1950s after Europe had recovered enough from the Second World War. It went through many periods of development and redevelopment, like all grounds on this list, and was subject to a massive period of decline to the clubs horrific financial situation that required a bailout in 1986 from local sources. Thankfully, the ground thrives once more after refurbishment and tiered-plan for redevelopment could see it reach 50,000 capacity in the future.

*All data correct as of February 28 2022, with data sourced from Transfermarkt.

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Aminat Aigbe

Aminat Aigbe is the first lady of afronaija and a very good blogger ( Original Mrs AfroNaija )

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