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Footy Scran: England’s best football stadium food

The footballing world has undergone a cultural shift in the culinary offerings. Football is no longer merely about the game; it's about the entire matchday experience. Clubs throughout the pyramid are eager to appeal to a new generation of fans who seek not only thrilling football but also a feast for the senses.

Football stadium food: The culinary revolution

The culinary journey isn't limited to the elite clubs. From Tooting & Mitcham FC’s jerk chicken box to doner meat and chips at Cranfield United, lower-league teams are making strides on the food front.

Boneless Jerk Chicken, Rice & Plantain at Tooting & Mitcham FC – £13

 

Fans now want to be fed well, and the football food renaissance has found its chronicler in @FootyScran. The X account stands as a vigilant watchdog, documenting the best and worst scran across England's stadiums. The platform sparks debates among fans and serves as a platform for supporters to express their culinary grievances.

Large doner meat and chips at Cranfield United – £7.50

This new age of delicious football scran has even gone to the other side of the world with Croydon City Soccer Club, a football team based near Melbourne, Australia serving up this delicious burger for just under £10.

Double beef and bacon burger at Croydon City – $18 AUD (£9.30)

The shift in football stadium food isn't merely a change in menu; it's a cultural and economic transformation. Clubs are recognising that the matchday experience extends beyond the match on show, and culinary offerings play a pivotal role in engaging fans. The economic impact is evident, with clubs introducing a variety of dishes to cater to the diverse tastes of their supporters.

Loaded fries with salt & pepper chicken at Barnsley – £6.95

 

Best examples of top footy scran and football stadium food

Butter chicken tikka and rice at Preston North End – £6

 

BBQ Chicken loaded fries at Luton Town – £10

Steak pie, creamy mash, peas, gravy and mint sauce at Harrogate Town – £11

The chippy tea butty – fishcake on a bed of chips, topped with mushy peas and tartar sauce at Doncaster Rovers FC – £8

 


This change is not without its critics, with some labelling it as a form of gentrification. However, as clubs continue to experiment with their menus and embrace culinary diversity, the matchday experience becomes more inclusive, appealing to a broader audience.

And not every stadium has embraced this culinary revolution. @FootyScran, with its legion of followers, serves as judge, jury, and culinary critic, publicly shaming clubs that still dish out sub-par fare.

Burgers gone bad – the worst footy scran and football food

While the culinary landscape has undeniably improved, not every football club has jumped on the gastronomic bandwagon and some clubs are even missing the mark on burgers!

This series of tweets from @FootyScran reveals a string of disappointments, highlighting the questionable state of burger affairs at certain grounds.

Take, for instance, the cheeseburger at Hartlepool United, priced at £3.90. This burger showcases a lacklustre creation that leaves much to be desired. 

Oxford United doesn't escape the scrutiny either. Their cheeseburger, priced at £4.40, is another culprit in the lineup of subpar stadium burgers. Dry patty, awkwardly dry and half-melted cheese, and a hesitantly central dollop of sauce.

 

Leeds stumbles in the burger department with a £5 chicken burger that, despite its premium price tag, leans more towards the basics. Stripped down to less than the essentials, one can't help but hope there's some sauce waiting to rescue this basic burger.

Walsall adds its name to the list with a dry cheeseburger priced at £5.30. This poor patty looks like it has spent too much time under the stadium floodlights. And let's talk about the cheese—or should we say, the cheese's failed attempt at a dramatic entrance. Melted cheese is the unsung hero of a great cheeseburger, and here it is, having an identity crisis.

Solihull Moors showed these clubs how it is done.

Sustainability and veganism: A greener goal for football stadium food

As the culinary revolution takes centre stage, so does the call for sustainability and veganism in football stadium food. The global movement towards environmentally conscious practices has found its way to the pitch, with clubs making strides in reducing their carbon footprint and adopting sustainable practices.

While many clubs are making strides in sustainability, Forest Green Rovers stands as a pioneer in veganism. Declared the world’s first vegan football club by FIFA and certified as the world’s first carbon-neutral football club by the United Nations, Forest Green Rovers have made sustainability and veganism integral to their identity.

Their menu, featuring plant-based pies, sausage rolls, burgers, and more, not only caters to vegan fans but also challenges the perception of vegan food. The club's commitment to sustainability goes beyond the culinary offerings; they have become a global example of how a football club can lead the way in environmental responsibility.

Vegan football food at Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers' journey is a testament to the impact a football club can have on shaping perceptions and inspiring change. From burgers to pies, they've shown that sustainable and vegan options can be not just environmentally conscious but also delicious.

Throwback to Duncan Ferguson’s appointment as Forest Green Rovers manager and revealing that he had never eaten vegan food.

Meat-free options have become a staple in many stadiums, aligning with a broader effort to reduce the environmental impact of meat consumption. Clubs are not only offering vegan alternatives but are actively working with meat-free providers to ensure the quality and taste of these options.

Liverpool FC's partnership with Quorn is a notable example, not just for providing tasty alternatives but also for the significant reduction in carbon emissions at Anfield. The environmental impact of food choices is becoming a key consideration for clubs, and initiatives like the Sports Positive Leagues matrix are evaluating clubs' sustainability efforts, including their commitment to “Plant-Based, Low Carbon Food.”

From the pitch to the plate, the beautiful game transforms

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The culinary transformation in English football stadiums is more than just a change in menu; it's a cultural and gastronomic revolution. The days of limited choice are long gone (in many grounds), replaced by a diverse menu that reflects the global influences on and off the pitch.

From the best to the worst, the culinary landscape at football stadiums tells a story of evolution and diversity. Clubs are not just serving food; they are creating an experience that engages fans beyond the ninety minutes of play.

The economic impact is evident, with fans now expecting a range of culinary options to suit their tastes. The shift towards sustainability and veganism reflects a broader societal change, and football stadiums are not immune to this wave of environmental consciousness.

As clubs carve out their unique culinary identities and embrace the diversity of global flavours, the beautiful game extends beyond the pitch to the plate. The next time you find yourself at a match, relish not just the goals and the atmosphere but the scran as well.

Photos by Icon Sport


Luke Martin

Manchester-based Luke Martin joined Football Ground Guide in September 2023 and covers fan culture and stadium news. He grew up in Oxford and has travelled across England watching Oxford United play. He also supports Premier League club Arsenal.

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