Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
With concerns about the logistics of a continent-wide tournament growing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed this week that the UK would be willing to host the entire Euro 2020 competition this summer.
UEFA had originally planned to hold the 60th anniversary of the Championships in 12 host cities across Europe, however, fears over the possible spread of coronavirus have forced them to consider alternatives.
Last week the UK emerged as favourites to host the tournament and if UEFA decides to alter their strategy when they make their final decision in April, football could be coming home for the first time since 1996.
The idea of the entire European Championships being contested in the UK has already been getting supporters there giddy, and below, we’ve detailed 12 of the stadiums that could potentially host fixtures there this summer.
With the largest capacity of any club ground in the UK, Old Trafford has already hosted numerous international fixtures including matches from the 1966 World Cup, Euro 96 and the 2012 Summer Olympics games, while both a Champions League Final (2003) and two FA Cup Finals (1915, 1970) were also staged at the world-famous Theatre of Dreams.
Wembley Stadium had already been picked to host all three of England’s group matches, a Round of 16 clash, a quarter-final, both semi-finals and the final of Euro 2020 itself – making it the most important venue in the tournament by some distance, and self-titled “home of football” is certain to be equally central to UEFA’s plans if the competition is hosted in the UK in its entirety.
Something of a surprise inclusion, Stadium MK was actually one of the host stadiums chosen for England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, and the venue – which was opened in 2007 – would likely be included again in a UK-led tournament push. MK Dons’ Buckinghamshire home wins points for its prime location, while the facilities at the ground are also high-end despite the club’s lower league status.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Opened as recently as April 2019, the state-of-the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium reportedly cost over £1b to construct, and the venue is one of the UK’s most stunning football grounds. The stadium has yet to host its first international fixture, though Spurs’ home is definitely tournament ready and you won’t find a finer sporting arena anywhere in the world.
Scotland’s international football stadium in Glasgow is due to stage three group matches and one Round of 16 fixture in Euro 2020, though the number of games staged there will undoubtedly swell if the UK are given sole hosting responsibly. Scotland ended a 23-year wait to reach a major tournament when they qualified for the Euros, and that should ensure that Hampden Park is one of the most atmospheric grounds at the tournament.
St. Mary’s Stadium
While the capacity at St. Mary’s Stadium falls a little short of some of the other venues on the list, it remains the biggest ground in the south of England outside London due to its location on the south coast. Opened in 2001, St. Mary’s has already hosted six international matches and it is well-equipped to play a major part if the Euros are played exclusively in the UK.
The Welsh national team vacated the Principality Stadium (formerly the Millennium Stadium) in the early 2010s due to dwindling attendances, though the country’s rugby team moved in in their place. However, the beautifully designed arena would almost certainly be the country’s first choice for hosting Euro 2020 fixtures this summer. The stadium hosted the FA Cup finals from 2001 to 2006 while Wembley underwent a facelift.
Liverpool’s iconic ground on Merseyside increased the capacity of its Main Stand by 8,500 in 2016, making it one of the largest single all-seater stands in Europe, while the Reds that play there have developed into one of the continent’s biggest and best teams since. As one of the UK’s most famous and revered arenas, Anfield’ inclusion on any host stadium list is guaranteed.
West Ham beat city rivals Tottenham Hotspur to the punch when they successfully acquired the London Stadium in 2016, four years after the ground hosted the 2012 Olympics in the city. The arena, former called the Olympic Stadium, has yet to host an international match, though the 60,000-capacity capital colosseum is built for major tournament football.
Stadium of Light
Sunderland’s stadium holds less supporters than Newcastle’s St. James’ Park, though the Stadium of Light could still be selected as the north east’s prime venue due its more modern facilities. Opened in 1997, the Stadium of Light has already hosted three England international fixtures, while internationals superstar acts like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Oasis, Take That, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and the Spice Girls have all played there………..though not at the same time.
The Emirates Stadium
Opened in 2006 at a cost that had a crippling effect on Arsenal’s transfer clout, The Emirates Stadium has already hosted eight international matches since breaking ground – though all eight matches featured Brazil, while England have yet to play there. Only Old Trafford and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium can seat more supporters than the Gunners’ home.
The Etihad Stadium
Purpose-built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, Manchester City moved into the stadium from their old home at Maine Road in 2003, and the Citizens have leased the ground from the City Council ever since. The Etihad underwent a major upgrade in 2015, and while the overall capacity is dwarfed by Old Trafford, City’s newer home is a fresher feeling stadium with a more modern feel.
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