For many football supporters that feeling of walking into a football stadium cannot be surpassed. It’s the part when you walk into the football ground – where you have all of the stand above you – and you look forward and the ground opens up all around.
As you step inside the ticket is checked and a sense of excitement builds. The grass pitch (often that one living connection to the historical players of the past) emerges and the atmosphere builds towards kick-off.
It is these anticipatory emotions which help many fans justify the price of a match ticket and takes hundreds of us back to childhood when we first entered or approached a football stadium.
Once inside stadiums, supporters are at the mercy of events on the field of play. That suddenness of noise and the speed of action. That long walk up to the terrace of old, comfy seat or pitch-side stand can be long forgotten in the midst of yet another defeat.
Many of us love watching football live – an experience that is far and away a better one than watching at home in an armchair. Being surrounded by gathering crowds all wearing the same colours; singing the same songs and expressing a sense of communal accomplishment makes football watching worthwhile.
Sharing energy with others who share the same passion can be intoxicating.
Of course, not all football stadiums are about marble halls, claustrophobic stairwells or Art Deco facades. While hundreds of clubs around the world still choose to make space for loyal tribal hoards and the noisy soul of the most passionate fan groups, lots of teams are choosing to leave traditional homes and say goodbye to the architecture of old.
Many stadiums remain recognisable even where they have been around for over 100 years but stadium concourses these days can be a den of soulless burger joints and high street coffee brands rather than crumbling traditional entry zones.
Football supporters are however only part of the game. Although they will always outnumber those on the field a football stadium is shared with several parties including referees, players and coaches all of whom share the emotions of anticipation and excitement that fans feel. Together we do all share the field of play where the ultimate expressions of winning, judgement, skill or defeat are decided.
The object of this photo set is to capture ‘Stairways to Heaven’, namely photos that reflect the moments when the participants (whether these are footballers, referees and fans) enter a stadium or the field of play.
See the full set of images here