League Two Stadiums – Overview
With League Two being the final frontier as far as professional football is concerned in England, it comes with the territory that the various stadiums in this league don’t quite have the financial backing as some of the larger stadiums in higher leagues. But a lack of financial backing doesn’t mean that the various League Two grounds are not full of character, and in fact, there are still a few clubs in League Two that have previously enjoyed Premier League football. This means that while they have now dropped a few divisions, more often than not, the current stadium has been purpose-built to accommodate top-flight football.
Either way, we’ve shortlisted some of our favourite League Two stadiums in 2021 right here, and they are well worth a visit as and when you get the chance.
Boundary Park – Oldham Athletic
Let’s kick things off with one of the best League Two grounds in the North, with Boundary Park. Being located on the edge of Manchester, hence the name, this ground isn’t all that far from several other popular football stadiums – with Old Trafford arguably being the most well-known. At the time of writing, Boundary Park can squeeze in just over 13,500 fans when full, which means that it isn’t actually inside the top 5 for League Two, as far as capacity goes. But the reason we’ve included it is because it’s full of character, having been built over 100 years ago in 1904, and being one of the only stadiums (ever) to have changed the pitch into some sort of plastic material.
Believe it or not, this change of the pitch allowed Oldham Athletic to burst into the top-flight, up until they had to change it back to a natural pitch in order to comply with league rules. And finally, if you are planning a visit to Boundary Park, just make sure you pack a jacket, as it is officially listed as the coldest football stadium in England.
Valley Parade – Bradford City
Speaking of top-flight football, Bradford City has been involved in the Premier League during their time, hence the large stadium that the club currently plays their home games at. In fact, Valley Parade creeps in at number two on the list of largest stadiums in League Two, with a maximum capacity of just over 25,000. The stadium opened its doors all the way back in 1888, and right the way through until 1985, the stadium barely changed. Of course, in 1985 the stadium witnessed the now famous ‘Bradford City fire’, where more than 50 fans lost their lives. This was the catalyst for major change at the club, and it even prompted change all over the country, as the use of wood to build stadiums was essentially scrapped altogether.
But moving beyond that awful day, Valley Parade is now a spectacle – standing tall above the skyline of a city that was once a bit of a Northern powerhouse. Naturally, the multi-million-pound redevelopment that has taken place here was done with the intention of hosting Premier League games, but this has not remained true for very long at the club.
University of Bolton Stadium – Bolton Wanderers
Up until 2018, this stadium was known as the ‘Reebok Stadium’ thanks to the sponsorship deal it had at the time. However, Bolton’s steady decline has resulted in a change of sponsorship, hence the new name that we see today. And out of the many League Two stadiums currently used in this tier, this one is the largest, with a maximum capacity of more than 28,000 fans! The actual aesthetics of the stadium also compliment this record, as the stadium looks pretty cool we must say! It’s not just the visuals that make it stand out either, for the stadium is one of the few that actually has a hotel as part of its design – with some rooms actually being located with a great view of the pitch.
When this stadium was actually built back in 1995, it was one of the very best in the land, and it was built for a price tag of £25 million. And during night games, the stadium really does shine bright above the city of Bolton!
Vale Park – Port Vale
Despite the fact that this stadium has a maximum capacity greater than 19,000, it’s fairly rare that a home game sees more than 10,000 fans enter the ground. While we can’t say for sure, we’d imagine that this is because the club has lost a bit of its appeal given that Port Vale has been struggling in League Two for a while. And concerning the history of the stadium, it has been in its current location since 1950, making it relatively new compared with some of the other League Two grounds we’ve covered. Since this date, the ground has undergone a few changes, even if they haven’t been all that major.
Specifically, the notorious drainage problem has been resolved, and modern floodlights have also been installed to allow for night matches to be played. All of this has been done on a pretty tight budget too, so we must say well done to the clever minds behind the changes.
Prenton Park – Tranmere Rovers
Last but not least, Prenton Park is a stadium that has a fairly solid reputation all over the land. It’s probably not a great place to go and watch a game of football if you are an away fan mind you, as fans are packed into a stand referred to as the ‘cowshed’. Then again, it’s only 90 minutes that you’d need to ensure the cowshed for, and the stadium itself is actually pretty cool to enter. With tall stands on all sides, completely enclosing the pitch, Prenton Park can build an intense atmosphere rather quickly, which makes it very exciting to watch a game of football in!
Since more than 16,000 fans can enter the ground to watch Tranmere Rovers in 2021, it’s towards the larger end of the scale too.