Venue names

by Chris Riordan

I’ve never been to Anfield – “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – but the hype preceding the EPL clash with ManU  rekindled a life’s ambition to visit the Merseyside stadium  – and I support neither Club.

St. Kilda at Etihad or Arsenal at Emirates doesn’t carry the charm of El Clásico at the Bernabau or even the Bombers when at Windy Hill.

I love distinctive sports venue names…rather than Glenelg Oval or more recently Gliderol Stadium, my SANFL  side’s home ground was always “The Bay” to me.

Yankee Stadium or Candlestick Park…there is an aura surrounding the mention of some sites that sets them apart.

Anyone else feel this way?

Comments

  1. As much as I loved EJ, I still can’t call it Whitten Oval. It’ll always be Western Oval to me.

  2. Not a favourite venue but always loved the moniker “Arctic Park”.

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Madison Square Garden

    Longchamps

    The Curragh

    Stamford Bridge

    Wembley

    Maracana

    Pebble Beach

    Augusta National

    Old Trafford (cricket ground)

    I’ve always liked UK racetrack names e.g. Pontefract, Uttoxeter etc.

  4. Ian Syson says:

    It’s still Lang Park to me.

    As you know Chris, we can go back a long way. Fitzroy Cricket Ground, Richmond Cricket Ground, the Motordrome.

  5. Peter Flynn says:

    The Crucible

  6. The Colosseum

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    PAOK FC’s home ground in Salonika is known as ‘Toumba’ translated as ‘The Tomb’ because it was built on ancient burial site. Many visiting teams have also been ‘buried’ there over the years.

  8. Alovesupreme says:

    There are many European soccer and other sport grounds which make a romantic’s heart race. I’m sure that’s more a consequence of the memories they conjure up, and distance certainly intensifies the feeling. In the case of Australian venues, it’s often about the moment when we were there.

    Croke Park
    Hampden (it is Park, but the qualifier is as superfluous as the Stadium attached to Wembley)
    Cardiff Arms Park
    White Hart Lane
    Craven Cottage
    Goodison (see Hampden above)
    Maine Road*
    St. James’ Park
    The Hawthorns
    Upton Park
    Roker Park (replaced by the gorgeously named Stadium of Light, sad that it’s plagiarised from Benfica’s home estadio de luz)
    Trent Bridge
    Lords
    the San Siro
    Camp Nou (or Nou Camp, according to taste)
    Madison Square Garden
    * now superseded as Man. City’s home by the distinctively unimaginative name the City of Manchester Stadium.

    I liked the street appelations for the VFL grounds, Punt Road, Arden Street, Brunswick Street.
    I’ve also always had a soft spot for the Coodabeens’ mockery of SA footy fans with “foopball park”.

  9. Ian Syson says:

    ALS — All good except for Sid James Park, the travesty of symmetry built on the assumption that those who owned the houses in the street opposite would sell up. It’s like a monster biding its time to eat up little people one by one. I’ve never been there, but it looks so cold — concrete and steel and the horrible colours only add to that sense of bleakness. At least we had the good grace to memorialise the industry that provided the club with so much of its heritage.

    Rather than plagiarism . . . more . . . ermm . . . translation.

  10. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Syson,

    never mind Sid James.

    Estadio de Malograr = Stadium of Blight…which is more appropriate for Sunderland’s history in civilized times.

  11. Mick Jeffrey says:

    As a Southampton FC fan, we always remember our old home ground with fondness. The Dell was the smallest premier league venue for many years (17000 capacity), and teams hated coming down there. Man Utd often lost down there as they were chasing titles while we were chasing houdini acts of escapology from relegation (that we lost ironically to United when we moved to St.Mary’s)

    SOME OTHERS

    - We used to call Football Park in Adelaide “Squark Park” until the Power came into the comp
    - The Baseball Ground was home to Derby County FC before they went to the stupidly named Pride Park
    - Filbert Street was the home of Leicester City when they had their best years in the Premier League, now they play in a ground that many know as the Chip Bowl (Walkers Stadium)
    - Veterans Stadium (The Vet) in Philadelphia, best know for the jail inside the ground
    - Mile High Stadium in Denver (now the carpark to the corporate sponsored name at Mile High), a tribute to the altitude in Denver
    - Ballymore, which should still be home to Qld Rugby Union for the games against the non-Australian teams.
    - Road America, the motor racing facility at Elkhart Lake which many American Open Wheel racing fans want to return to
    - The trio of domes in America…The Silverdome in Detroit, the Superdome in New Orleans and the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
    - Wrigley Field in Chicago, home of the Cubs with the hedge covering the outfield wall
    - Fenway Park in Boston with the distinct Green Monster for a Left Field wall

  12. Craig Down says:

    Crio

    I’ve always liked “Crooked Stick” golf club in Indiana for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, the enigmatic J Daly won a PGA there in 1991.

    Secondly, the name aptly describes the shape of some of my clubs after a round.

    CD

  13. johnharms says:

    Mick #11

    I used to follow West Ham when I was a kid – becuase they were often on Brian Moore’s Match of the Day. Then I fell in love with Matthew Le Tissier so I kept an eye on Southampton for many years, and used to love watching the matches from The Dell. So olde worlde and full of atmosphere. Le Tissier is one of my favourite sportspeople of all time.

  14. John, Matt Le T is arguably my favorite sportsman from Guernsey! Was going to be for another time – obscure origins! Other Guernsey notables are also expressive in their endeavours…try Olly Reed and Victor Hugo. Now there’s a dinner party!

  15. Dave Nadel says:

    #11 Mark, It was always referred to as “beautiful Wrigley Field” by the stadium announcer (allegedly on instructions from management). I have only seen it on TV but it does look like a beautiful ground. Pity the Cubs have played there for almost a Century without winning a World Series.

    South Warrnambool plays at the Friendly Societies Park, which I think was also the first name for the Melbourne ground later known as the Motordrome and still later as Olympic Park. I liked it as a name for the South Warrnambool Roosters’ Ground, not least because when I used to watch Hampden League football in the 80′s, “friendly” was the last term you would use to describe the Roosters’ style of footy.

  16. Peter Flynn says:

    I remember now. The consumption of several snakebites on the night in question have served to dim the memory somewhat.

    After finding some dodgy accom on Earls Court Road one cold February afternoon in 1997, I watched Matt Le Tissier’s last game for England on TV at the smoke-filled King’s Head Hotel (you’ll have seen the pub in The Adventures of Barry McKenzie).

    I reckon he was surprisingly recalled and unfortunately played a shocker getting substituted in the 2nd half. The tabloids and radio 5 talkback callers got stuck into him subsequently.

    Zola scored the winner after a goalie howler. Ian Walker?

    I reckon that Matt Le Tissier could easily have played cricket for Pakistan. Wasn’t he part of a scam to win a crap-load of money by organising to take the first throw-in of a match?

  17. Rick Kane says:

    Here are a few venues (sme may be fictional):

    1. Ebbets Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn, at one time home to the Brooklyn Dodgers and other teams from other sports and codes. It was demolished to make way for apartments but lives on, being referenced in the film, Field of Dreams …
    2. The Cornfield (from Field of Dreams)
    3. Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, home venue for the Syracuse Crunch Hockey team, but more importantly it was used for the making of the film, Slap Shot
    4. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington doubled for the Pimlico Race Course in the making of the film Seabiscuit
    5. Talladega Superspeedway (it’s real and fictional)
    6. Beaver Bowl, from Kingpin (Tenpin bowling is a legimate sport)
    7. Surfrider Beach & Sunset Beach, from Big Wednesday
    8. Paradise City Athletic Club, from a great 1949 boxing film called The Set Up
    and (drum roll please)
    9. Bushwood Country Club, the setting of one of the best, nay, the best sports film of all (Hollywood) time: Caddyshack

  18. Peter Flynn says:

    Eden Gardens.

    I’d love to go there one day.

  19. Rick Kane says:

    Prior to settling at Glenferrie Oval in 1906 Hawthorn had several home grounds. These were:

    St James Park 1902
    Richmond Racecourse 1903
    Richmond Cricket Ground 1904
    East Melbourne Cricket Ground 1905

    In 1906 the Hawks moved to Glenferrie and stayed there until 1973.

    Cheers

  20. smokie88 says:

    # 17. Rick, I am glad that someone referenced Ebbets Field…I have seen photos
    of it, and it looked like a glorious piece of architecture. It would have had a
    wonderful atmosphere, I reckon. It was demolished after the Brooklyn Dodgers
    relocated to L.A.

  21. Mic Rees says:

    Dave #15 – It’s the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field.

    Originally Named Weeghman Park after Charlie Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Whales of the upstart Federal League of the mid 1910′s who were the original tenants.

    Wrigley bought in in the 20′s, re-named the stadium “Wrigley Field” in the mid 20′s. Alledged, whilst lying on his death bed, to have told his son Phillip Knight (PK) – “Don’t sell the team”.

    Mike Royko referred to the stadium as “Cubs Park” in his columns -his memorial service was held there in 1997.

    The Rickett family bought 95% of the club & stadium a few years ago – Ricketts Reserve ?

    Doesn’t matter who owns the team, they stink !

    I still love ‘em

  22. Richard Jones says:

    #13, John: our English son-in-law took me to a game at Upton Park in Dec. 2009 when the Hammers hosted Aston Villa. Villa was floating around 5th-6th spot at the time and fancied their chances.

    It was 1-1 going into injury time before West Ham scored the decider. The goalscorer was a player roundly derided match-long by those East Londoners seated around us.
    “Don’t *#@^ing pass it to him,” sort of stuff.

    They don’t often get to sing their decidedly non-threatening theme song “We’re Forever Blowing Bubbles, Pretty Bubbles in the Air etc… etc…” but they did that freezing night.
    Over and over.

    And then the sight which beheld us leaving Upton Park for a convivial boozer had to be seen to be believed. It was a mid-week night and with the thousands of spectators marching up the main thoroughfare everything — and I mean everything — had to come to a halt.
    The big red double-decker buses sat there with engines switched off, black taxie were at a standstill. Traffic couldn’t move for up to a quarter of an hour as the masses spilled all over the street.

    Son-in-law and his mates said as we stood shoulder to shoulder in the pub that was just what happened when West Ham played at home.

  23. Millwall’s old Den was rundown and fearsome before gentrification and seated stadiums. Back when the Isle of Dogs was not for the faint hearted – it is now “tech-centre”- the Millwall Lions were a rough side and their supporters were notorious…”We are Millwall, We are Millwall, No-one likes us, No-one likes us, We don’t care, We don’t care”.

  24. smokie88 says:

    #23, Crio: my large group of London-Irish cousins all barrack for Arsenal. However, one of the girls married a Millwall supporter who is an absolute nutter. There were all manner of barneys in the family every time the Gunners played Millwall.
    #22, Richard; I had a similar experience visiting Highbury in 1990 on a midweek night when Arsenal were playing Luton. And all night long, nearly every song was about how Arsenal were going to beat (and beat up) Tottenham, whom they were playing the following Saturday in the North London derby.

  25. Mark Branagan says:

    When Fitzroy moved to the Junction Oval in 1970, the VFL tried to con everyone by using the Football Record to rename the ground the “Fitzroy Oval” (despite being in the heart of St Kilda). The public did not respond and the name drifted back to the ether. An early sign of people power.

    This was also of course during the era when the VFL managed to describe VFL Park as “Waverley”, despite the ground being in the suburb of Mulgrave. Was this an early case of “brand distortion”, rewriting history or dare I say, rewriting geography?

  26. Dave Nadel says:

    #21 If you are a Cubbies fan I’ll bow to your superior knowledge Mic, but I have read in at least one sports academic source the assertion that Ground announcers were instructed to refer to the stadium as “beautiful Wrigley Field”

  27. Mic Rees says:

    26 – Thanx Dave.

    Rather appropriate you mention the announcers at Wrigley Field, I believe the job has just been advertised for the 2011 season.

    If you can stomach sub-standard ball (at least on behalf of the hosts) it would be the ideal way to spend 81 afternoon/evenings.

    MCR

  28. Chalkdog says:

    #24 Smokie
    1984 fresh off the plane I went to White Hart Lane to watch Spurs play my Liverpool. Spurs went 1 up after about 20 mins and the crowd chanted ” Are you watching, are you watching are you watching on the box Aresenal?” for the remainder of the game.

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