I guess that I’ve always been interested in stadiums, god only knows why. After all my first live experience was as a seven year-old, standing at the front of the partially completed North Stand at Bristol Rovers old Eastville Stadium. Hardly one of the great stadiums of the world! But even then, the uneven lines, the pick and mix styles of the stands and covers and Eastville’s flower beds behind the goal had me hooked.
When watching Match of the Day, I’d look at the wide angle footage and follow the stands and terraces rather than the play on the field. I’d begrudgingly acknowledge to my friends that Bristol City’s Ashton Gate was the better stadium in Bristol and I was probably the only Rovers fan that didn’t mind watching Rovers at Ashton Gate, when they made it their temporary home in the early 1980’s.
Simon Inglis then provided the next hit for my growing addiction. His seminal work The Football Grounds of England and Wales was the first book that having finished, I wanted to immediately read again. His follow up, The Football Grounds of Great Britain was just as addictive and then the hook... the book that started this obsession with Spanish stadiums, Inglis’s The Football Grounds of Europe. It is the Gutenberg Bible of Stadia Books, a thing of rare beauty and I wanted more. More of those sun-drenched and exotic stadiums, particularly those in Spain, that were still fresh in my mind from the 1982 World Cup.
Over the past dozen years or so, thanks to my travels and predominantly the internet, I’ve built up an archive of over 18,000 images of Spanish estadios and campos de futbol. Yes, all the biggies are there, but also the small and unusual. There are some great images of former stadiums and some prior to redevelopment. Altogether, nearly 400 stadia are covered.
The story of these stadiums and the resident clubs is the very essence of Estadios de Futbol en España. Yes it's niche and ever so slightly indulgent, but occasionally, just occasionally, you might uncover something fascinating and you'll want more. Be careful though. That's how my obsession started!