Best UK Cities To Visit For Soccer Culture

Any American who has ever been to visit the UK will know that one of the cardinal sins you can make is to refer to the local sport of football as soccer.

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Of course, there can be no doubting that American football was invented a long time after football, and this means that there is a raft of rich history connected to the game – one which used to be played on cobbled Victorian streets with a stuffed pig’s bladder.

Things have come on quite a bit since then and European football has now spread to all four corners of the globe. The US is no different with the MLS beginning to put down some serious roots on both coasts. This has meant that there is now a wealth of travelers from North America and beyond who dream of going to visit some of the footballing heartlands that exist in and around the UK.

Here we detail just some of the famous stadiums and surrounding areas that are vital for any budding footy fan to visit, and which will leave anyone with a much better understanding of the Beautiful Game and its traditions.

The UK is where the sport of football was first devised and now the country hosts the best domestic club league in the world, the English Premier League

London

If all the English capital’s football teams joined together, they would probably form the most unstoppable club known to man, but that’s just not how the tribalism in English football works, and so instead London plays host to a great number of top-class sides.

The main players at the moment include the Champions League holders Chelsea, alongside other Premier League teams like Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham, Brentford and Crystal Palace. And that’s just the Premier League teams, with there being plenty more like Fulham, QPR and Millwall.

Of course, some teams are more worthwhile watching than others and some grounds are more alluring than their counterparts. For a truly original experience, in an old-school stadium packed with history, people cannot go wrong with Fulham’s Craven Cottage whose white wooden stands and façade will remind people that this was once an amateur sport rather than a billion dollar industry.

If high-tech stadia with enormous capacities are more your cup of tea, then there is the brand spanking new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to check out, as well as the national Wembley Stadium, where England recently came close to winning their first major title since 1966.

Manchester

While London is impossible to beat when it comes to the sheer amount of pro football clubs it offers, Manchester is undoubtedly the country’s most successful footballing city. This has become even more so the case with the recent rise of Manchester City, who are now regularly the odds-on favorites for the Premier League crown. They contest Manchester bragging rights with Manchester United.

It is impossible to go anywhere in this northern city without someone sparking up a conversation about football and that is probably why the UK’s very own National Football Museum is based there. This really is the ideal place to wile away a few hours and leave with some tasty historical titbits with which to regale your friends back home. The current 21/22 Premier League season could be the perfect time to visit Manchester, as both clubs are expected to take the title race right down to the wire, with online odds makers unlikely to be able to split them until the final few weeks of the league campaign.

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Few cities are as divided along sporting lines as Glasgow is, with the green of Glasgow Celtic opposed to the blue of Glasgow Rangers

Glasgow

While most of the biggest rivalries in UK football bubble away south of the border, there is one north of the border in Glasgow that eclipses all the rest. That is the game that takes place between Celtic and Rangers, two clubs that have dominated Scottish football for generations and whose fan bases do not care for one another.

Although it can be a little intimidating heading to Glasgow when an Old Firm Derby is afoot, it is also a thoroughly worthwhile venture if you really want to get a taste of what a game of football can mean to people in a city. With Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium and Celtic Park only a 90-minute walk away from each other, a stroll to one from the other is something to behold on a matchday.

Liverpool

While the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic can get particularly spicy, there are others like the Merseyside derby that remain jovial. This is because people on the same street or even the same household will hold different allegiances, supporting either Liverpool or Everton.

The red half of Merseyside has historically always had more to cheer than the blue half, but both Anfield and Goodison Park boast some of the best atmospheres around. If you do manage to get your hands on a ticket to the main stand known as The Kop at Anfield, then it could be worth you getting to know the words to the club’s most famous anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, which is often sung just before kick-off and at the final whistle.

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The entire city of Newcastle becomes a bowl of noise on matchdays, with the crowd noise from St James’ Park pouring down onto the quayside

Newcastle

Last but by no means least there comes Newcastle, which is a city that lives and breathes football, and boasts a 52,000-capacity stadium despite only being a city with a population of 270.000.

Football in this city is completely unavoidable, with St James’ Park perched on the rim of a bowl in which the rest of the city sits. This means that the crowd’s cheers and chants reverberate through town, leaving no one in any doubt about whether the team known as “The Toon” were victorious or were sent packing by a visiting team. The team have fallen on hard times of late, but there are no other football fans as dedicated as the Geordies, whose passion for their club is infectious, especially when it comes time to play their local rivals Sunderland.

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