Cancel your weekend plans, load up on bar snacks and bring on the armchair punditry – Premier League football is back at last, and oh how we’ve missed it.
There’s something strangely invigorating about a brand new season – a sense of misplaced hope that, given the unpredictability of football, there’s always a chance of your team ‘doing a Leicester City’.
So, before your early-season optimism crumbles amid managerial sackings and dressing room turmoil, here’s a few of the world’s maddest and baddest football fields to help get you back in the groove…
1. The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore
The world’s largest floating football pitch (yes, there are others), and an ingenious defence against pitch invasions, this aquatic arena takes pride of place in the middle of Singapore’s Marina Bay.
Opened in 2007, the pitch hasn’t hosted as many football matches as hoped (a relief, no doubt, for the ball boys), and has recently found better use as a concert venue.
2. Henningsvær, Norway
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A fishing village in the Norwegian Arctic squeezed onto a tiny archipelago flanked by snow-capped peaks and freezing seas, this might not seem an intuitive place for a Sunday afternoon kickabout.
But that hasn’t stopped the good folk of Henningsvær, and this surprisingly well-looked after football field has attracted international attention for its stunning scenery and slightly surreal feel, a popular spot among intrepid drone operators.
3. Allianz Arena, Germany
We know, it’s a bit of a jump from a remote Norwegian fjord to one of the largest, most prestigious stadiums in the world, but the uniqueness of Bayern Munich’s home ground has nothing to do with its location.
The entire external facade is layered with light-up plastic panelling which can change colour at the press of a button, resulting in a stadium that looks almost computer-generated. At full brightness the Allianz can be seen from miles around, and slightly resembles an Amazon smart speaker.
4. Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium, Switzerland
Next time you’re moaning about a hard-to-reach away game, spare a thought for visiting fans at the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium in Switzerland.
Perched precariously on a mountainside near Zermatt 2,000 metres above sea level, the pitch is officially the highest in Europe, and can only be accessed by cable car or climb. Home to Swiss village side FC Gspon, the 3/4-sized pitch is surrounded by netting, but that doesn’t stop footballs plunging into the valley several times a game.
5. Adidas Futsal Park, Japan
Technically a futsal pitch (full size football pitches don’t tend to fit on skyscrapers), this altitudinous arena adorns the roof of the nine-storey Tokyu Toyoko department store, overlooking Tokyo’s iconic Shibuya Crossing.
Opened in 2001 ahead of the Japan and South Korea World Cup, the pitch is open to the public, but get your bookings in now. The whole complex is set to close its doors in March 2020.
6. Stadion Gospin Dolac, Croatia
Outrageously instagrammable, this stadium is not recommended for fans with vertigo. Carved into the base of a crater and ringed by precipitous cliffs, the main stand is backed by a sheer, 500 metre drop into the water below.
Home to third-tier Croatian side NK Imotski, we can only imagine the stoppage time if the ball were to end up in the lake.
7. BBVA Bancomer Stadium, Mexico
The largest and arguably most modern stadium in Mexico, the home ground for CF Monterrey went viral in 2017 for these extraordinary pictures of the mountainous ridge that skirts the northern end of the arena.
The perfect place to play out a nil-nil bore draw, fans can instead spend 90 minutes admiring the view.
8. Tasiilaq Stadium, Greenland
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Though nowhere near full size and without a shred of real grass, this pitch was built in 1960 on the only flat land for miles around, and remains something of a social hub for the tiny, 2,000-strong town.
Summer in Greenland is short (and winter is, to say the least, not football weather), so much of the country’s east coast descends on Tasiilaq in July for an intensive, two-week championship. There aren’t any stands, so spectators make themselves comfortable on the abundant supply of volcanic rocks.
- Press Association