The Bucket List, part five
5. Out with the Old and in with the New
Welcome to the Headers & Volleys Bucket List. World football is a big place and sometimes there seems almost too much to see. In this series we will be looking at the top things to see and do, before you pop your clogs. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below, or contact us here and we will feature the best entries on the site.
Change isn’t always good in football, however, the Hillsborough disaster proved that some areas of old football grounds were unsafe. The subsequent Taylor report, amongst other things, decided that all clubs should have all-seater stadia. This is a requirement for all teams in England’s top two tiers of football. I believe it is a shame to an extent and whilst I accept that safety must come first, there really was something special about the atmosphere on the ‘terraces’. I remember going to Elm Park to watch Reading play as a teenager. Little kids were running behind the goals sticking their tongue out at the upcoming penalty taker and supporters could change ends to always stand at the side where their team was attacking. I am told that at some grounds this still happens and supporters actually have to physically move to another stand as they swap like the players do at half time. Whilst accepting the obvious flaws, get yourself to a day on the terraces before they are extinct. There are currently 20 clubs still operating with terracing with the largest being Peterborough, who are actually playing in the championship – naughty boys. If however you still want to sample the terraces as it was, get over to Germany. Hamburg and Bayern Munich have the facility in their new stadiums to offer controlled terracing. Knowing the Germans it will be efficient and safe, ensuring a measured and orderly terracing environment. But if you want the traditional Bovril and meat pie experience get yourself down to the Underhill in Barnet.
Coming up next time: Ryan discusses the most important thing any supporter can find in a football ground in Passion and Atmosphere. Click here to see the previous articles in the series and get in touch if you’d like to contribute.