17 Mud-Splattered Photos Of Truly Appalling Football Pitches

Chris Wright

10th, September 2014


By Chris Wright

With Gareth Bale griping that Andorra’s dodgy rubber crumb was “by far the worst pitch” he’s ever played on after Wales 1-2 Euro 2016 qualifying victory, we thought we’d one-up the mollycoddled Welsh whinger and bring you a clutch of photos of some truly appalling pitches from down through the years.

As anyone who’s spent any amount of time playing Sunday League football will be able to tell you, you can do an awful lot worse than Andorra’s plastic paradise…

Soccer - Walthamstow Avenue

James Lewis of Walthamstow Avenue FC surveys the pitch, or lack thereof, ahead of kick-off, 1937

Soccer - Football League Division One - Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town’s Alf Whittingham (left) cuts past Jock Campbell on Charlton Athletic’s infamously turf-less mudbath at The Valley, 1947

Soccer - Football League Division Three South - Queens Park Rangers v Exeter City

QPR’s Arthur Longbottom (No.8) goes sprawling headlong into the mud at Loftus Road after being stopped in his tracks by Exeter City ‘keeper George Hunter, 1957

Soccer - League Division One - Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers - Stamford Bridge

What a day to wear white: The Stamford Bridge pitch churns up a treat as Chelsea’s Peter Brabrook swipes mud at Bolton Wanderers’ Ralph Gubbins, 1957

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Gillingham v Port Vale

Gillingham officials give the “pitch” at Priestfield the once-over before deciding to call off their FA Cup third-round tie against Port Vale for the tenth consecutive time, 1963

Soccer - Football League Division One - Arsenal v Leeds United - Highbury

The sodden pitch at Arsenal’s Highbury stadium, circa 1966

Soccer - Football League Division One - Derby County v Arsenal - Baseball Ground

Derby County’s Baseball Ground boasted was one of the worst pitches in the history of football

Sadly, this 1975 photo of Archie Gemmill doing his best to dribble on it doesn’t really do justice the full horror

Soccer - FA Cup - Fourth Round Replay - Wimbledon v Leeds United

The aptly-named Plough Lane, former home of Wimbledon, seen here in all it’s glory circa 1975

Soccer - Intercontinental Cup Final - Toyota Cup - FC Porto v C.A. Penarol - National Stadium - Tokyo

Despite the abysmal state of the pitch, the 1987 Intercontinental Cup Final between Porto and Penarol at Tokyo’s sleet-filled National Stadium went ahead

Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Second Round First Leg - Tromso v Chelsea

Tromso fans do their best to clear snow off the pitch ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Alfheim Stadium, 1997

Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Second Round First Leg - Tromso v Chelsea

Never fear, the game went ahead with Tromso winning 3-2 in Norway only to get spanked 7-1 at Stamford Bridge in the return leg

Soccer - Nationwide League Division Three - Floods at Shrewsbury Town

Safe to say your pitch is probably a bit on the damp side if your club mascot (Shrewsbury Town’s Lenny the Lion, in this case) can paddle across it, 2000


Played on worse: Birds perch along the crossbar of a flooded football pitch in Cairo, Egypt, 2006

Swamp soccer championships

Again, played on worse: A suitably filthy player emerges from the depths during a “Swamp Soccer” game on marshland in Dunoon, near Glasgow, 2007

Germany Mud Flats Soccer Tournament

An incredibly dirty tackle (in the literal sense) flies in during the final of the Mud Soccer World Cup played on the mud flats of the Elbe River at Brunsbuettel, northern Germany, 2010

India WCup Soccer

Indian boys play football in the water-logged mud in Calcutta, 2010


How about this little beauty, as spotted by the folks over at Nonleague.co.uk?

Seriously Gareth, get a grip mate.

(Photos: PA)

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  1. Harry Catknapp says:

    Christ some of them are quagmires!(giggity) not football pitches. I remember watching the Tromso v Chelsea match on channel 5, to this day the best thing I’ve seen on that channel!

  2. Cornfed says:

    Sadly, all of the players in the Calcutta pitch developed Typhoid later that day.

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