Jamie’s Top Five: Atmospheric Stadiums
In a career spanning more than 250 games, Jamie O’Hara played at some of the game’s most iconic stadiums, but which ones had the best atmosphere? Read on to find out his top five…
5. Upton Park – West Ham
Upton Park was incredible, I loved playing there. It was really close to the pitch, so the fans were on top of you. It was always hostile. We had our fans behind the goal, and they were really close to us, which is class because when you’re playing well, you can hear them right behind you.
I remember scoring there and it was just an incredible feeling – it completely silenced the ground. You could hear a pin drop after the ball nestled into the top corner! I always loved it there. A great ground. I don’t think they have got that atmosphere back yet in the new place, the track and field stadium they are playing at. It’s bigger but it just doesn’t feel quite as loud.
4. Dacia Arena – Udinese
We played Udinese away from home in a Europa League game when I was at Spurs and the atmosphere was ridiculous. They had flares flying around and everyone jumping up and down.
I actually got sent off. Antonio Di Natale was absolutely pulling my pants down! He gave me the run around and I steamed into him twice in about five minutes. I remember walking off and seeing the crowd bouncing up and down. That was a bad moment, but the atmosphere was good.
3. St James’s Park – Newcastle
I remember walking out at St James’s Park and it’s weird because in the tunnel, you come up some steps and you walk out on to the pitch – but I had never been to St James’s Park before I played there with Spurs – and I remember walking out and the first thing you see is the small stand. I walked up and thought to myself, ‘This isn’t the colosseum that everyone is talking about, this looks like a Championship stand!’
Then I turned around and it was three tiers high and I was like, ‘Oh my God’. A ridiculous atmosphere and they put the away fans in an absolute disgrace of a position in the top tier, right behind the goal and right up into the clouds.
I remember scoring, I nicked it off Steven Taylor and I was thinking, ‘Where are the fans?’. I couldn’t even see them! They were absolutely miles away. An incredible stadium and they always sell it out.
2. White Hart Lane – Tottenham
The old White Hart Lane, when you turned down Bill Nickelson Way, and you had the pubs there on the left coming into the ground. It just had that real, traditional, home of football atmosphere.
I absolutely loved playing there with Spurs. It was incredible and filled out every week. We have some great memories. Because they have the new stadium, they have lost the stuff outside of the ground which kind of made it your home. Some of the pubs have gone and the people you used to see walking out aren’t there anymore but still it really is an incredible ground. But, back in the day, I loved it.
1.Anfield – Liverpool
At number one, it just has to be Anfield. It has to be. I have gone there, played there for two or three different clubs and every time it is just incredible. Goosebumps!
The moment when you walk out onto the pitch, and they are singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’… by the time they have finished the song, we were probably 3-0 down! When you have Mascherano, Alonso and Gerrard running around you and the fans singing behind them, you really do think ‘Oh my God, I can’t get near this team’.
The Kop was really something special to play in front of, that’s for sure.