8 weird, wonderful, and not always real, football grounds

In this week’s video I went to cover some NYC playoffs on the rooftop of Upper 90 in Astoria - a brilliant unique football environment in NYC. It got me thinking of some other unique footy locations. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some great alternative places you might find football being played.

1. Indoor Mode In Striker

OK, granted, my first example isn’t even in the real world, but it was too much fun not to mention. Striker is a Super Nintendo soccer video game from the early 90s that me and my friends would play endlessly. The game had a unique mode that allowed you to play indoor. It was certainly unique at the time, and was particularly fun because the ball could bounce off the walls, making the gameplay lightning fast.

2. The Pontiac Silverdome

Speaking of indoor football, the Pontiac Silverdome hosted the first ‘indoor’ game in World Cup history when the USA played Switzerland in the 1994 World Cup. Having a roof over a stadium is now much more common, but in 1994 it felt very unique. In its heyday, the Silverdome hosted all manner of high profile sporting events, but sadly now has been left to crumble. 

3. The Colosseum in the Good v Evil Nike ad

In writing this article, I have just realized hat unique football locations in the world of make believe are more fun. And there are few better companies at coming up with makey uppy football theatres than Nike. In the Good v Evil ad from the last 90s - Eric Cantona, Paolo Maldini and a raft of other superstars take on Satan’s footballers in a far away colosseum where the pitch lines are marked by flames. It’s a classic. 

4. Airport 98 

The next great football location in the Nike cannon is Rio airport which was used for a television ad pre-World Cup 1998 in France. The ad which was directed by legendary action director John Woo features a bored Brazilian national team deciding to have a kick about around the airport. The spot has been described by FourFourTwo as the greatest ad ever. The music really makes it for me. 

5. The Secret Tournament ships hull

The last of the 3 Nike ads that spring to mind was made in advance of the 2002 World Cup. The location - a cage inside a cargo ship’s hull. The commercial was directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame and featured a kicking remix of the Elvis track ‘A Little More Conversation.” The track went on to reach No.1 in 20 countries on the back of the ad’s success. It was all a bit convoluted if you ask me, but it stuck in the head.

6. AS Monaco's training field

I was actually going to reference AS Monaco's football stadium, Stade Louis II, which has always stood out to me watching TV as having a unique look and feel to it. But, upon just a couple of minutes research it appears to me that Monaco's training field may be an even greater footy location. Have a look.

7. Estadio Hernando Siles – La Paz, Bolivia

This one on the list is more of a good trivia piece than having any particular resonance with me. Estadiou Hernando Siles in La Paz is always referenced as being one of the highest stadiums in the world at 3,601 metres (11,932 feet) above sea level.  The stadium is so high that Lional Messi got sick on it during a game, and Neymar described the conditions as inhuman while wearing an oxygen mask at the arena.

"Inhuman to play in such conditions. Pitch, altitude, ball... everything bad," he wrote on Instagram.

Did we mention, it’s apparently home to paranormal activity as well?

8. Estadio Nacional, Lisbon

A nostalgic final choice for me. Estadio Nacional in Lisbon in where Glasgow Celtic won the European Cup (Champions League) in 1967. I recently took a pilgrimage to the stadium and had a walk about inside. You can see the video of that adventure above. What is interesting about this Estadio Nacionals characteristics is that it hasn’t really changed much since its look and feel in 1967. The stadium is surrounded beautifully by greenery and is close to the beach. It has a great retro feel to it in an era of soulless modern stadium development.

Estadio Nacional still hosts the Portoguese Cup Final if you are curious. 

That's all folks.