Following a famous match between Celtic and preeminent European powerhouse Barcelona at Celtic Park, which was won 2-1 by the home team, Leo Messi testified thus: “I’ve been fortunate to play in some great stadiums in Europe with Barcelona, but none compare to Celtic."
“The atmosphere their fans create makes it a very special European night of football.” Very little can top the big match atmosphere in Glasgow.
Interest in Scottish football had waned ever since the troubles of city rivals Rangers. However, the Glasgow outfit have returned to the top-flight and are currently managed by former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, who has brought the feel-good factor back to the club.
Watching a match at Celtic Park has, for long, featured on football fans’ bucket lists for a reason.
Several online polls have revealed that the biggest chunk of Turkish football fans are believed to back the country’s most famous side, known for creating one of the most hostile and intimidating atmospheres for visiting teams.
Ryan Giggs had this to say following an away game at the Turk Telekom Arena: “I’ve never experienced anything like Galatasaray. Two hours before kick-off, we went out to have a look at the pitch, and the stadium was packed!”
Their fanbase has famously gone overboard, on several occasions in league play, throwing flares and various other objects onto the ground during the Fenerbahce-Galatasaray derby. Still, their level of passion is quite legendary, as is apparent from the confessions of several players who can testify to jangled nerves on the ground as they walk on to the pitch to play in front of thousands of these high-voltage fans.
#3 Manchester United
Old Trafford has held the reputation for being the loudest stadium in the Premier League for a long time, and with their squad receiving a makeover in the past summer, the United faithful have a season to look forward to in optimistic anticipation.
The good times at Old Trafford had never really gone away, as the fiery atmosphere at the stadium has visibly affected many a travelling team and made their life difficult throughout football history in Britain. The stadium is the most crucial part of United’s legacy, and it houses the statues of Sir Alex Ferguson and the three most famous Busby babes.
United boasts of being probably the biggest brand in football, and has one of the world’s three largest fan bases on social media (the other two being Real Madrid and Barcelona). Their global appeal gives them a solid fanbase in Asia, Africa and even North America, where they have played in front of over 100,000 football fans in the preseason for the International Champions Cup.
The 2005 Champions League final was the best European night for Liverpool fans, and they made sure their stamp was felt in the game, as they continued to cheer on their team which had fallen three goals behind to the well-oiled Milanese machine.
The support certainly played a role in assisting Liverpool’s resurgence into the game, and in their eventual penalty shootout victory.
Liverpool fans are spread far and wide into the world, and they take particular pride in making a full public display of their passion. The lone blemish on their otherwise squeaky-clean and fanatic reputation is their involvement in the Heysel tragedy after the European Cup final of 1985.
The YNWA anthem is sung by the travelling support in each Premier League, and also in every game they play outside of Britain. Even in preseason, in locations as far-flung as Melbourne, Australia, this anthem is belted out by their fanatical supporters.
#1 Borussia Dortmund
For a city with a population hovering around the 500k figure, the Wembley stadium authorities offered a total of 44,000 tickets for the UEFA Champions League final in 2013. They received over 450,000 enquiries for these tickets, which indicates that nearly 90% of the city’s population was willing to travel from their Rhineside homes to see their heroes through the biggest game of their club careers.
This, by itself, indicates an immensely high level of deep-rooted love for the club among the fanbase.
Dortmund fans are also reputed for their fantastic support while travelling, as 20,000 of them travelled to Madrid for the second leg of the semifinal that year and cheered their team past Real at their home stadium.
The Westfalonstadion, now called the Signal Iduna Park, witnesses an average turnout of over 80,000 spectators in every game, which is consistently among Europe’s highest figures. They are a nice, well-behaved fanbase, which succeeds in establishing a bond with the localities even in travelling game.