Football is riddled with clichés. I mean, it certainly is a game of two halves, but some clichés could soon be a distant memory. After all, what exactly is the criteria for 'a tough place to go'?
'Idenitkit' stadiums have taken the mantle, and old-school football stadiums are slowly fading over the horizon. Being able to watch international stars from a padded seat with chicken balti pie and no restricted views sounds like modern football utopia, right?
Sitting on the other side of the see-saw is the fantastically gritty bricks and mortar ground. The terraces are practically sat on top of the pitch creating a menacing atmosphere - it feels like you're a part of something.
Now, you and I may have differing definitions of beautiful, but doesn't the beautiful game deserve a beautiful place to live? Let's take a look at some Europe's strangest stadiums.
Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium - Gspon, Switzerland
The Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium in Gspon, Switzerland.
It’s the highest stadium in Europe at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level. pic.twitter.com/cXDr8OjFkE
— When Sunday Comes (@WSCsupporters) March 16, 2020
Situated high up in the Swiss Alps, FC Gspon's home is inaccessible by road. Two cable cars are needed to reach the stadium (which becomes a ski resort in the winter). Quite a remarkable away day journey, that.
I've never thought about mountains and glaciers while knocking a ball around, but the English countryside seems a little bleak now. With the air being so thin, it's an intangible that should into the hands of FC Gspon - now that is home advantage.
But, alas, every rose has its thorn and there are claims that over 1000 balls have been lost in 40 years. Are they taking ballboy applications? I knew my Duke of Edinburgh Award would come in handy.
Henningsvær Idrettslag Stadion - Henningsvær, Norway
Amateur Norwegian club Henningsvær IL play their home games in the Idrettslag Stadion, located on the Lofoten Islands. Easily the most picturesque location for a stadium that I have ever seen.... pic.twitter.com/bdzgN1XSPx
— Sam Wilson 礪 (@snhw_) September 5, 2018
Maybe not a stadium and more of just a pitch but I'm having it because, wow, just look at it! Up on the rocky islands of the Arctic circle, you can find this breathtaking piece of scenery.
The remote fishing village on the Lofoten Islands has a population of less than 500. The uneven landscape is decorated by jagged peaks and open sea, and surrounding the stadium are vast amounts of cod-drying racks, which are the only barriers preventing the ball from landing in the choppy waves.
Stadion Gospin Dolac - Imotski, Croatia
Take me here.
Stadion Gospin dolac, Croatia pic.twitter.com/egPFXcKGDp
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 28, 2019
Feels like this stadium was built with Instagram in mind, huh? Built into a natural valley on the Croatian/Bosnian border, this was plucked straight from a contemporary European romance novel.
Home to NK Imotski, views of the forest, mountains, the famous red and blue lakes and old town ruins can be seen from the stadiums only stand. Yes, the stand is red and blue.
TJ Tatran Čierny Balog Stadium - Čierny Balog, Slovakia
The Stadium of Slovakian side TJ Tatran Čierny Balog with trains running through#Slovakia #Stadiums #Trains pic.twitter.com/5bc0LHYmiz
— Football Memories (@footballmemorys) February 11, 2017
You think you've seen it all and then BOOM - a steam train is chugging along the touchline. The only stadium in the world with a set of live railway tracks cutting across it, not surprising really.
When the railway was laid in 1914, there was no football pitch. That was built later, as the village grew. You'd like to think the TJ Tatran Čierny Balog players look up the train times prior to games and try to box in opposition in the far corner. Great scare tactics.
Estádio Municipal de Braga - Braga, Portugal
The Estádio Municipal de Braga was finished in 2003, it hosted two matches in Euro 2004.
A breathtaking stadium! pic.twitter.com/4tyNEdfMii
— Football Remind (@FootballRemind) May 11, 2017
Perhaps a stadium you are all familiar with by now, but still beautifully breathtaking nonetheless.
Built for Euro 2004 and now the home of S.C. Braga, this stadium is a notable feat of engineering. With only two stands, it was built into the natural landscape presenting unbelievable views. The perfect mix of modern architecture and a quarried fortress.
Eiði Stadium - Faroe Islands
@glorymag_ Belatedly enjoyed the launch edition although the underdogs feature lost me! Here's how the Eiði stadium looked when I visited last month. pic.twitter.com/zc9fhTybaO
— Up for the Cup (@facupunofficial) September 21, 2018
If playing and/or watching football at the Eiði Stadium isn't on your bucket list then football really, really isn't for you.
Differing colours of house roofs dotted around all the greenery and the mountains like the football stadium is the chassis of the village is perfect. You could probably look out the window of any house there and see the game being played. Football is great, isn't it?
Stadion Vozdovac - Belgrade, Serbia
Football ground of the week - Stadion Voždovac (FK Voždovac Beograd) pic.twitter.com/CnP9ct2uGj
— James M. Gowland (@jimmylad86) August 25, 2015
Admittedly there is some sort of trend in this article, so the home of FK Vozdovac Beograd is here to break it. There are few rooftop stadiums in the world, let alone Europe. This is built on top of a shopping centre.
Imagine Manchester United's ground on top of the Trafford Centre - kind of a weird concept to stomach. It looks so mundane and lifeless, the stadium itself looks like it was made on Minecraft. Not a good idea at all.