Inspired by Bursaspor's idosyncratic new home we took a look around the world to find the most peculiar and exciting stages for the beautiful game...
Literally translated as ‘crocodile arena’, this will be the new home of Turkish side Bursaspor, who are nicknamed the ‘green crocodiles’.
In the pipeline since 2011, this 45,000-seater stadium is shaped like a crocodile, with a giant screen for a mouth and light up eyes. What a time to be a Bursan nine year-old…
The Sapporo Dome seems pretty unassuming at first glance – whilst it’s chrome exo-skeleton seems faintly futuristic, it would look at home in most modern cities. Alas, only in Japan would you find something this deceptively advanced.
An extraordinary feat of engineering, the dome meets its dual-purpose baseball/football requirements with a fully interchangeable pitch. Through a process that is frankly beyond me, the pitches are switched from inside and outside the stadium, with an entire stand collapsing down Transformers-style to make way for the externally stored ‘hovering soccer stage’ as the charmingly retrofuturistic video demonstrates.
Built in 1981 by an (apparently slightly mad) Russian architecture firm, the stadium is shaped like a diamond, with the stands at a 45 degree angle to each side of the pitch. The viewing platforms, which in total seat 59,000 spectators, are also slightly disconnected from each other, which makes it look like poorly-built Ikea furniture.
Built for an eye-watering $600m for the FIFA World Cup 2010, the Cape Town Stadium hosted a number of games, including the Netherlands’ 3-2 defeat of Uruguay in the semi-finals.
Whilst undeniably beautiful – especially at night, when the whole structure lights up through it’s semi-transparent exo-skeleton – the stadium has faced criticism for out-pricing the majority of South African football fans, most of whom live in the lower-income townships outside of the middle-class Green Point area where the stadium is located.
Space comes at a premium in Singapore, and ‘The Float at Marina Bay’ is a product of that necessity mixed with a little ingenuity.
Seated beneath the beautiful Singaporean panorama, the platform is entirely made of steel and can bear the load of 9,000 people. The separate stands, sat opposite, can hold 30,000 people. Marvellous as it is, none of us fancy a gig there as a ball-boy.
On that note, the Ottmar Hitzfeld Gspon Arena would arguably be an even tougher gig. They supposedly lose only 5 balls per game, but as that statistic came from a player for the resident FC Gspon, we suspect that it may be far higher.
A move from the highest pitch in Europe has been considered, but the inconvenience – no vehicles can reach the pitch, so players, spectators and officials have to take a cable car up – is thought of as being worth it for the spectacular alpine views.
Rounding off our list of unique football stadia is the devastatingly beautiful Á Mølini stadium, native to the Faroe Islands; a self-governing country within the Danish realm, about halfway between Norway and Iceland, due north of the UK.
In footballing terms an undeniable fledgling, EB/Streymur play their home games here – apart from their UEFA Cup qualifying tie against Manchester City in 2008, which was played at Tórsvøllur Stadium, the home of the Faroe Islands national side: presumably, because no one knew how to get to Á Mølini.