As a result of the feedback we got on our twitter (click the jump and follow us) as well as our recent blog post, we decided to compile a list of the top five stadiums as an opposing player, you’d hate to play in. We did our best to sift through the responses and pick the stadiums that provided the most hostile atmosphere and craziest supporters. So, without further ado, here’s our list, in no particular order…
1. Luzhniki Stadium - CSKA Moscow
The stadium has been used in the UEFA Europa Cup Final as well as the Champions League Final, while playing host to numerous Russian clubs. The environment is known for being hostile, and in 1982, sixty-six people were killed in a stampede during a UEFA match which went down as Russia’s worst sporting disaster in its history. Along with the freezing cold, honestly, what could be worse than thousands of screaming Russians, spitting while they talk, and eating their kholodets (some sort of jellied chopped pork or veal meat). I mean, let’s be real here people, anyone in a fur coat and hat with a burly mustache is intimidating. Who wants them in the crowd while you’re on the pitch, doing this:
and causing a ruckus. It’s all fun and games until you get hit by a Russian firework (which I hear are 10 times more powerful than the ones here in the United States). I’ll just take the forfeit.
2. Estádio do Dragão - Porto FC
Not only is this one of the coolest stadiums I have ever seen, it’s also pretty hostile. First of all, we’re talking Portugal here people…and everyone knows the Portuguese are just seen as the little brother to Spain, a premeditated slap in the face. Second, this place is home to FC Porto, and with the supporter groups of the squad placed at each end behind the goal, opposing players are going to hear it, no matter which end their in. Third, the stadium literally means Stadium of the Dragons. Come on, not many stadium names get cooler than that. With 70 total titles in their history, Porto has the best record of any club in the land, and their fans certainly never live it down. If you don’t believe me…check out this video (Click the jump).
3. Estadio Azteca - Club America and Mexico National Team
This place is just flat out awesome. So much history behind the stadium, including hosting the 1970 and 1986 World Cup Finals, playing host to the infamous “Hand of God" goal and the "Goal of the Century" (Check out the links to view the goals). It has also been the host of plenty international friendlies as well as hostile club matches. The stadium is huge, with available seating for 104,000 screaming Mexicans chanting and yelling at opposing players and fans. This one just about speaks for itself, unless you’re not fluent in Mexican…or awesome.
4. Fratton Park - Portsmouth FC
Now this one, I had to throw in from personal experience. I witnessed Portsmouth play Manchester United a few years back, defeating United 2-1. This place is just something different from all the others, and honestly one of the most incredible stadiums I have ever been in (and yes, I’ve been in quite a few). The stadium is surrounded by rows of housing, bars, and narrow alleys. The walk in is less than pleasing. If you’re anywhere but the main entrance, you’ll walk down a tiny allow filled with graffiti and barbed wire, while walking through a small gated door to enter the ground. Just too cool. Not only is the stadium itself just rugged, but the fans are extremely hostile. You’ll hear chants of Play Up Pompey (Click to hear the song) and screams for their Blues. It’s a blue-collar, small scale stadium, that packs a lot of noise.
5. Azadi Stadium - Iranian National Team
Touted as one of, if not the most, hostile environments in football, Iran’s Azadi Stadium has a capacity of 100,000. It plays host to numerous Iranian club teams, but is most recognized for it’s home for Iran’s National Team. Riots are frequent, and crazy fans seem to come by the thousands, as this place ranks as one of the most feared stadiums by opposing players. Not only are the fans crazy…
but from what I hear, Iran’s nuclear missile warheads are stationed around the pitch, aimed at opposing players and fans, for any of them who act out of line (scoring a goal against their beloved Iran, yelling at the ref, etc.). Personally, this is no place for me…please and thank you.