So many of the grand old football grounds of England have disappeared in recent years - The likes of Highbury, Maine Road and the Boleyn Ground have been consigned to history. Even fans of these respective clubs will largely admit that things are not quite the same anymore in their ultra-modern, sparkling new homes. However, if you look hard enough, you can find some old gems still thriving, playing host to football matches across the country. Here are the oldest football grounds still in use in England.
Bramall Lane - Sheffield United
This 32,000 all-seater stadium is in fact the oldest league stadium in the world. Football was first played here in 1862 and has been in constant use ever since, hosting the very first floodlit game along the way in 1878. Home to Sheffield United since 1899, the ground was named after the Bramall family, who were prominent local landowners. Although the Blades have fallen on relatively hard times of late, Bramall Lane is still considered to be a cauldron where away teams are rarely given an easy ride.
Field Mill - Mansfield Town
Technically, this ground is now called the One Call Stadium. However, it is commonly known as Field Mill and is thought to have first hosted football in 1861. It has also been used as a cricket ground and a venue for greyhound racing and rugby league. Since 1919, it has been home to Mansfield Town. For many people, The Stags will only be familiar through an accumulator in free bets offers by bookmakers! However, Mansfield Town have been Football League members since 1931. They haven't experienced much glory since then and are currently languishing in League Two. However, their home is a real point of pride.
Deepdale - Preston North End
Preston North End are one of the grand old clubs of North West football. Founder members of the Football League, they were the very first team to win the league and cup double. And their ground - Deepdale - is also steeped in history. It first hosted football in 1878 and has since then also been home to the town's cricket and rugby teams too. Although Preston have not experienced too much glory since those early days, 1966 World Cup winners Bobby Moore and Nobby Stiles both managed the club during the 1970s. Another reflection of Deepdale's place in the game is that it housed the National Football Museum from 2001 to 2010.
Stamford Bridge - Chelsea
Well, here's a ground which will be familiar to most. Set in one of London's more exclusive neighbourhoods, Stamford Bridge has been Chelsea's home since 1905. However, it has been hosting football all the way back since 1877. The stadium today is familiar the world over, and with a capacity of just over 41,000 it is the eighth biggest ground in the Premier League. However, it wasn't always that way. Until the mid-1990s, Stamford Bridge was considered to be a crumbling and inhospitable venue for football. And with crowds often averaging at around 15,000 at the time, much has changed in a short period for both Chelsea and Stamford Bridge.
St James' Park - Newcastle United
Home to The Toon since 1992, St James' Park stands both figuratively and physically as the castle looking down upon Newcastle. With a capacity of 52,405, it is simply the focal point of an entire city and the venue for some of the most passionate support in the country. Unsurprisingly, St James' Park has received international recognition down the years - It has hosted England internationals, Olympic football and even Rugby World Cup matches.