Goal nets & stanchions

                  I confess I’m a connoisseur of goal types; the stanchions and nets. One of the sad things about the modern game (apart from the oft-cited and obvious) is that all goals are becoming standardised, much like the new grounds, programmes and coffee. You take a look in any of the numerous new stadia built recently and they all have exactly the same goals – back stanchion posts tied to the top corner. Is this a new FIFA ruling? It all began around the mid-eighties and the Mexico 86 World Cup.             

 One thing that disturbed me about Mexico was the size of the goals. Obviously the frontage was the standard issue 24’ by 8’, but the size of the nets behind was cause for grave concern. The style of goal they used was rarely seen in England at that time, but very popular on the continent: where the netting is tied to a post each side of the goal by chords strung from each top corner. I wasn’t keen on these but Mexico took them to new heights (and depths) of repugnance. They were simply enormous. They were as deep as they were high. They must hold the record for the largest volume inside a goal. You could easily have fit a car in there facing outward with it’s bumper all the way behind the line.

 The problem with this was that a scored goal just didn’t look as good flying into these nets. Top Corners (my favourites) were lost inside these voluminous onion bags. There’s nothing nicer than a long shot smacking right in to the top corner against the triangle or the corner of the back stanchion, but at Mexico ’86 to score a proper top corner would almost require breaking the laws of gravity. You’d have to shoot fast and low but rising steadily upward to hit the corner where the netting was attached to the supporting post. Vasili Ratz did manage it though for Russia; needless to say this was my favourite goal of the tournament.                           

 Most goals, however, were marred by the horrendous billowing of the ball as it swished around in the mass of netting. The sad thing is that these became commonplace in England.  All new grounds built since 1986 come with these as standard. Admittedly they’re not as deep as the ones in Mexico, but I still don’t like them; and like a lot of things in football, such as new Stadiums themselves, their uniformity has taken some of the charm and individuality away from the sport. Is it just me or can the net and the type of structure of the goal-frame make quite a big difference to the beauty of a goal? Nets in the eighties were so personal to each club; there was an array of different styles back then. I could tell you the ground straight away by the goals alone. (try doing that now).             

  There were back stanchions of different colours, triangles, small holed nets, large-holed nets, criss-crossed diamond patterned nets, coloured nets etc etc. This may be a wild claim but I reckon I could tell you what sort of goals every league club had circa 1986. Some grounds’ goals stand out particularly for me. Do you remember the Dell’s goals? They were strung with really coarse small-holed netting; so tight that shots fired at any speed flew back out again. There were Anfield’s red nets and Everton’s blue ones, both of which you could hardly see through, and on the same theme Sheffield Wednesday’s small-holed white nets were virtually opaque. Swansea’s were unusual in that they were strung diagonally so the holes were diamonds rather than squares – a nice effect. They all had the triangle. Arsenal had the back stanchions, which were red, with small holed nets.              

               Brighton’s Goldstone Ground also had back stanchions but were unique in that the stanchion didn’t start exactly at the corner of the bar and post but about half a foot down, and the stanchions had an extra kink at the bottom, about a foot off the ground. Our netting was large holed. Stamford Bridge had unusual goals; this was when the Bridge was shaped like Wembley with two enormous semi-circular gaps at either end where the terracing swung round in a semi-circle. (Is it my imagination or were there cars parked in these spaces?) They had the back stanchions but instead of just one bend had two so were  shaped like this:Chelsea Goals

Loftus Road was also home to some peculiar stanchions (and I’m sure some Subbuteo goals I bought were modelled on them). They had back stanchions like at Chelsea but which curved down smoothly rather than bending at an angle and the netting, rather than being wound round the back of the stanchions, dropped down a couple of inches short of them so they looked a bit like this:  

QPR goals 

Dartford’s Watling Street Ground had some unusual goals that reminded me of ones used in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. They had jet black stanchions that kinked in two places, Like Chelsea’s, but with the top bit being much shorter than their white Stamford Bridge counterparts. A little bit like this.Dartford goals Stanchions were definitely rarer than the common triangle. Though the triangles themselves came in a variety of colours, sizes and styles. Some weren’t even triangles! I saw some pretty awful approximations of a triangle at some of the Conference grounds while watching the FA Cup round-up on Match of the Day. Some were more like Rhombuses (Rhombai?). One of the rarest type was triangle and stanchion together in the same goal! This was like the Penny black of stanchions. I saw it a couple of times but usually on school pitches seen from the train on the Brighton to Victoria line. Nowadays most clubs have moved over to the new style stanchions and nets. I think every club in the Premier League has the big continental nets with the posts at the back. It’s a shame. I miss the triangle. Never again will we see a football get stuck in the triangle like Trevor Brooking’s goal against Hungary in the early eighties, nor will we see the ref wave play on after a free kick rebounds out off the back stanchion a la Clive Allen, also in the early eighties.

Perhaps I’m the only person in the world who cares?


96 thoughts on “Goal nets & stanchions

  1. As a former goalkeeper and as someone who despices uniformity I can only say that you’re absolutely right. I remember oval shaped and square goalposts, which were had their own distinctive effects on balls, but by ’94 they were all gone. As for stanchions, I’m a fan of curved stanchions, but that’s just because they make it easier to climb in the nets.

  2. I used to be a goalkeeper too! I loved it in goal, especially 5-a-side. Albert Camus, the existentialist philosopher/writer played in goal for an Algiers side. His book L’étranger (or The Outsider) is a play on words because the French slang for goalkeeper is outsider (apparently).
    I was never much for the curved stanchions. I preferred a definite point which could be called the ‘top corner’. I think my favourites are like the ones that used to be at Highbury.

  3. I throughly agree and I mourn the passing of these nets (I thought I was one of the few who could name a ground by its goalnets)

    I think Sheffield Wednesday are reverting to the old style of net, would be great if others followed suit.

    I never liked Southamptons goals, not one bit.

    I once hit the triangle whilst scoring a belter in a sunday league game but alas it didnt stay in it. which did take some of the shine off the goal.

    Its worth noting that although the ‘box goals’ as I called them were popular on the continent, my favourite goals were circa 1987 in the Stadium of Light, they billowed about 6 foot when a well struck shot hit them, perfection.

  4. RT,
    There’s someone else! We’ll have to test each other on goalnets from the eighties!

    The Dell’s nets were awful, weren’t they. Like they were strung with wire.
    Shame your Sunday league goal didn’t gain Trevor Brooking status!
    There used to be a lot of multi-coloured nets – do you remember Brundell Park’s? Unless I’m dreaming they were like green and black fat stripes, the netting looked so thick, like they’d stolen it from a local trawler.

    A bit of billowing is good. Do you remember the Roy of the Rovers cartoon ‘Tommy’s Troubles’? It was my favourite because the artist used to draw the billowing of the net – and they were usually 25 yard screamers!

    Anyway, thanks for the comment, maybe it will encourage a whole swathe of net enthusiasts to come forth!

    [Check these goals of Leek Town. This is the non-league ‘triangle’ I talk of. More like a rhombus (or tetrahedron) stretching half way down! Classics!]

    1. Interesting topic – I am another one of them goalnet enthusiasts. I wish you would be right when you say the old distinctive goalnets should come back on the various pitches. Yet, I am afraid that our claims and advocations will mostly (though not entirely) go unheeded. I have also done a bit of asking around, you know, on an informal-survey basis, but the most I have been able to get is a fairly long streak of whocares and whogivesa…s about these trifle things, on the grounds that it is the game itself that counts. the idj..ts they are, they do not know what they are missing from their “game itself”. Me, I personally love the Mexico’70 ones, with a lot of billowing, yes, so as to almost never allow the ball back out of the net into the playing ground again after a goal is scored. I consider this the most emotional moment of the “game itself”. To further ensure this, I would like to suggest some modifications that I happened to think of after looking at some examples where these were achieved just by chance, so they were probably not even intentional, never mind fancied. What I am referring to is basically an almost invisible ground support for the net, instead of the horrible white ones that we almost always see today, or the net just pegged to the ground at various points, or better still the loose transparent-plastic-lined lead ring (which could even be lighter than it is where it is used nowadays and take whatever shape it spontaneously does). One more thing which I consider most important to the whole loose net claim is that the entire frame, if looked at from beside the goal should have a 7-shape, almost like this, ———–
      |, so that the ball, after the billowing, will eventually seat past the ring (or whatever invisible support) on top of the back-bent net and very very rarely come back out again. The reason why I would like the ground support to stand mostly away from the goal line but not as far away from it as the top is to guarantee a nice ball-soaring effect when a low-shot goal is scored. The very loose net should increase ball retention on high-shot goals. pls tell me what you think of it.

      1. Hey, it is still me, I am sorry that the pagination here destroyed my modern art goalnet work, but it was something like a seven (7) with a reverse leg (imagine the top of the seven with a round close bracket instead of the leg).

      2. Best modern styled goal net pattern on the link..plus the rigidity was not too tight. Schillachi’s goal in 1990 was great although it was only a header, so the force was not that strong if it were a hard shot or seeing a lofted strike into the goal net i am sure the ball would have got lost into the net.(The main point here is that the looseness of the goal net makes the goa that is scored look 10 million times better and gives the goal extra character!) So sad to see these goals go!! plus anyone remember those shitty Ipswich goals with the hoops and the strange 1 metre high out posts???!!!! wtf were they! Plus no one has mentioned the Beardsley goal at St James Park when he got the ball right into that hoop. Must have tried scoring like that for months in the garden! Masssive shout out to ITSA GOAL. was fortunate enough to have a large garden as a kid and had the 12×6 one growing up then got the 16 x 6’6 metal goal. Stantions obviously. Goal netting is not the same will certainly have to agree with the lads that the uniqueness of each clubs goals made it so more over welming to see agreat goal to be scored! Alson mention to Norwich and Carrow roads old yellow netting with the holes! loved them!

      3. this is the goal net i refer to below… (modern design from italia 90 with the loosely tied and big netting)

      4. HERE IS THE BIZARRE HOOP AND STICK I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT AT IPSWICH PORTMAN ROAD …I think both groundsmen got in argument – one wanted the hoops in the top corner and the other wanted a bizare 1 metre high stick at the back…the only thing i can think of really though is that the net they ordered was too big and they decided that because the small netting looked so sexy they decided to keep it!

      5. i do not think net size matters. the more mesh u have the looser the net cage. so much the better. it is the tension, shape and orientation that count. more than one pair of stanchions makes it ugly, though.

      6. ‘want my opinion on the ipswich town nets in the video attached in the mail I got? well, no need for the back stanchions sticking halfway up from the ground, i daresay. or if we do want them, they should be off the net cage, outside it, at the back with stripes to hold the net back up, but INSTEAD of the top-corner stanchions which would be without basis for want – that would bring us back to the old Polish style nets, if you remember.

  5. Ah, a fellow net enthusiast! We’ll have to test each other.
    Yes, The Dell’s nets were awful, weren’t they.
    It’s a shame your sunday league goal didn’t make it into the Trevor Brooking ball-stuck-in-triangle club but it sounded like a peach all the same.
    It’s a pity the nets are all white now. There used to be a lot of colourful ones. Did Blundell Park have alternative fat stripes of green and black netting, so thick it looked like they’d stolen it off a local trawler.

    I didn’t know about Sheff Wed’s plans but it’d be great if we can bring back the triangle!

    [Check out Leek Town’s nets in the pic. It’s one of those non-league ‘triangles’ I mentioned – more like a huge tetrahedron.

  6. multi-coloured nets were good, although as your piece above mentions, Liverpool and Evertons were so colour coordinated that you could tell they were there.

    for net-billowing perfection I thought fellew Roy of the Rovers alumni ‘Hot Shot Hamish’ was the uber-netbuster with his habit of sending both ball and netting into row z?

  7. I have to say I’m a fan of the modern ‘box nets’, mainly because the ball cannot bounce back out of the goal like it can when it hits internal stanchions and they generally look neater. However, I have to say I preferred it when nets were pegged to the turf rather than having these hinged net anchors which, if a powerful strike hits the net, fly up, making it look like the ball could roll right under it and below the net. Also, why do nets appear to be getting more shallow? At Notts Forest and Stockport they seem tiny nowadays.

  8. George,
    Thanks for your comment. I’m not much for the box nets but if they have to be then I actually prefer the shallower ones. The deep ones, as mentioned, make top-corner goals almost impossible! I like stanchions. I quite like the old lottery of the ball perhaps bouncing out again. Football is becoming too safe and predictable!
    I’ll have to check out the Stockport and Forest nets.
    Thanks again.

  9. Does anyone know the reason why most clubs have moved away from traditional stanchions? I don’t remember any high profile incidents involving stanchions around that time (in fact, the only high profile case I can remember was that Clive Allen one which was years before the change). Was it just fashion or was there more to it than that?

    The one thing going for those box goals was that shots didn’t nestle in the corner. When struck with power they went on a fantastic and circuitous journey inside the net which had an aesthetic quality all of its own.

    On a similar vein, does anyone have a particular penchant for the grainy footage showing games played on pitches with stripey or even square goal posts? I’m sure that was going on even in the 50s at some grounds in Eastern Europe.

  10. Mr Horseplay, (or maybe Ms)
    Thanks for your comment. I don’t know why all stanchions became the same after a certain date. Maybe there is a manufacturer that has a monopoly on billowing style nets. It’s a shame that the variety is disappearing. I don’t remember any grainy footage of stripey or square goalposts, but at school I remember every games having to help erect the posts which were all wooden and four sided and had a system of squares locking into other squares.

  11. I was also a stanchion obsessive in the 70s/80s.

    When Scottish fans invaded Wembley in the mid seventies I didn’t fear for the pitch or the fans I feared for the stanchions which in my opinion were second to none.

    Luckily the original shape returned only to be eclipsed at Euro 96 by the standard European stanchion first seen at World Cup 74.

    The top 3 for me were
    3.Hampden Park (although often the nets were too tight
    2.Stamford Bridge (a class of their own)
    1.Wembley. A top corner goal here was worth waiting for but very rare.

    The poorest were West Ham/QPR with very por net retention.

    The most boring wre the classic Teardrop style often seen on your average village green.

    See the new stanchion web site Goalposts from mars which is run by my equally obsessed brother!!y

  12. Step,
    Thanks for your comment. I don’t share your love of Wembley’s or Hampden Park’s old nets. I like the style but I thought they were just slightly too large, especially Hampden! Chelsea’s were good though, agreed. Yes, QPR’s had poor net retention, but I liked the style. Southampton’s had to be the worst for the ball springing back out, though, don’t you think!?
    I quite like the teardrop style. Never heard it called that before – is that with the triangle in the top corner? Some of them can be really nice. Particularly Leicester’s at Filbert Street. I’ll definitely check out your brother’s site – thanks.

  13. the box net off current is a brilliant invention i understand the beauty with a ball getting stuck in a stanchion [mike whitlow for leicester against norwich around 94/95 , filbert street, mega! However the box is more elegant and with the new bar that follows the net all the way around the bottom it can bounce out a great speed!, not to mention the black colouring of this style seen at the bridge and the last game at highbury also with the emblen being mowed into the center circle that game, nice touch! Can anybody remember the nets at ipswich around 94/95 very strange shape never seen them like that ever again they sort of dropped down on the angle to near the bottom then squared off with mini posts right at the back. [ian marshall era, i believe lee dixon lobbed david seaman at that groundin those nets check these out on old footage of ipswich highlights on youtube, a must see for net enthusiasts! bang!

  14. thenetman,

    Now you mention Portman Road, it is bringing back memories. They did have unusual nets, they were blue, too. The box net isn’t too bad in itself, especially if it’s not too deep, but I disagree with you on the bar at the bottom – I prefer the net to be staked into the ground! It would just be nice to have the variety back.

    Thanks for the comment.

  15. I’m pretty sure that Euro 96 was a watershed moment for goalnet diversity in England, as I guess UEFA insisted that all participating stadia had to have the standard ‘box’ with external post and cable support. This meant the end of the more individualistic goal types at Wembley, Villa, Old Trafford, The City Ground et al.

  16. hey Groundhog, my apologies, I’m a bit late to your great blog. I’ve recently been blogging re goalnets and stanchions @ http://goalnets.blogspot.com/ (can we link)? Though I despair of the uniformity of today, if I had to have boxnets I’d actually like the nets from Mexico ’86 but hey, who can account for personal taste?

  17. Hi Tony,
    Thanks for dropping by. A site all about goal nets – superb. I’m going to check it out now. Yes, I’m happy to link.
    Non-league still provides some individuality in goal nets. Shifnal’s were excellent!

  18. Hi Tony,

    Thanks for listing me as a recommendation. I love your site and will add it to my list. As for my Shifnal pictures, they were truly awful! It was my 7 yo’s camera and there was just no light in them. My usual pics are much better and clearer. However one does show clearly the Highbury circa 89 style goalnets!


  19. Its been great reading through these comments, I’m glad others have noticed the different styles of nets over the years.

    Leon’s comment re Euro 96 is quite correct- it was the catalyst for things to change with each ground being given the standard box type with white netting.

    I was fearful for the old Wembley goals in particular, the large area behind the goal line with sometime tight, sometimes stretchy white nets and green stanchions having been there for decades. These fears were realised when England took to the field v Switzerland to see the new goals in place.

    After the tournament some clubs reverted back to what they had before, Villa and Leeds for example. Sadly Wembley wasn’t one of them.

    Liverpool had changed from the decades old ‘red with large holes’ to ‘red with small holes’ (complete with triangle stanchions) in 92-93 and after Euro 96 they had these goal frames back with white small hole netting. Box type goals arrived at Anfield in 1999-2000.

    The best goals to score in will always be the triange stancion type with white, large holed, nets- best demonstrated by Brammal Lane’s examples in the early 90’s.

    There are so few grouns left with the old types now, Glandfield Park being one of them, and if I remember correctly these have both a stanchion and a triangle incorporated into them.

    Black nets are on the increase including examples at Everton, Fulham and Man City. Rochdale’s nets are ghastly, the ball seems to hit an invisible wall when it goes in as the nets completely blend in with the background.

    My own club Charlton started life back at the Valley with ‘triangle’ red and white nets though curiously not of the striped variety but with red at the back and white at the sides. These changed to all red for a few years, then all white and, when we entered the Premiership, the familiar box type came in. Nowadays we have red and white diagonals which lift up after the game has finished- not to my liking at all.

    Finally worst nets in the league- and this is surprising as they are of the traditional type – are at Barnet. No depth and as springy as hell.

  20. Hi,

    Sorry I posted the same thing three times! Another uninspring weekend net-wise, I visited stadium MK for the first time and had to look at their boring box type nets. Still we scored the winner in one so its not too bad!

    I watched the Yeovil v Leeds game, very pretty green and white check on show at Huish Park, very nice.


  21. Just Reading this and being a palace fan i completely agree with alot of what is written! After the bristol city farce last season! It proves not even box style nets are flawless! Palace also have one if there goals way too close to the advertising boards which means the ball pings out fast when hit! Asking for trouble i feel ! Our maybe thats me being pessimistic a after having 2 goals not given after the ball hitting the net twice!! Ps we had fantastic nets in the early 90s plenty of netting would’nt of happend with them!!

  22. Oxford United had the triangle stanchions at start of the season but strangle have box type goal nets now. I think only Scunthorpe, Walsall, Cheltenham and Bradford have the triangle stanchions now.

    Best ever nets I think were the ones at the Baseball Ground in the late 80s early 90s where if there was a shot right in the corner the ball would literal get stuck in the net. I think the nets at Maine Road were similiar style around that era also.

  23. I think United were the first to get box nets, they had them before Euro ’96. If I remember correctly, so did Upton Park, Ewood Park, Stamford bridge and the riverside.

    1. upton park had them in the eighties, Chelsea and utd in 94, arsenal and Blackburn 95. liecester city and Bolton had the old style until 02

  24. Well, I stumbled across this site by accident and it’s great more people obsessed by goal nets! 1973 was the first cup final I saw with my Dad and I was hooked on the beautiful game and the individual style of the nets and stantions was a joy. For me its a pity they are almost all the same now. I particularly liked the Wembley nets and stantions I thought that was one of the things that made the games there special

  25. What a fabulous site! I too came across this by accident but what a treat.

    As a child of the 70s, I was obsessed by football nets/back-posts etc. I loved the Azteca goals: a ‘top’ stancion, with a slight drop at the back, and the rest all netting (Carlos Alberto v Italy). Manchester City were one of the first to have full back-post, it straight from the top and then down at an angle (30-40 degrees maybe?), but the net hanging loose from the end of the top part of the stancion. Manchester United in the later 70s and Arsenal in the 80s followed suit. Crystal Palace of the 70s and early 80s had a board running across the bottom of their goals. Hated Hampden for being too deep, and Wembley for being too tight, albeit both unique. Given everything nowadays is almost uniform, the nets at the Olympic Stadium in Rome stand out for their retention factor.

    I could go on for hours…

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the comment. Great to hear from another net connoisseur. Brighton’s also had the net hanging down just before the back stanchion, like Arsenal’s.

  26. I definitely agree with you about the stanchions and triangles and I feel that they should be brought back. I’ve noticed that in some grounds in Scotland such as Stenhousemuir’s, Airdrie United’s, and Alloa Athletic’s, that they’ve reverted from the “box style” goals to the triangle, which is pleasing. Having noticed your bit about some goals having both the triangle and the stanchion, this video suggests that they had both at the Dell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vRya0_9kCg Pause on 0:27 to see what I mean.
    Being a Sheffield Wednesday fan, what I found weird was how the triangle in our goals started about half a foot down from the crossbar. Though we now have the “box style” nets, we have become like Everton and made our goal nets all blue. Great website by the way.

    1. James,
      Thanks for the comment. Looks like the Dell did. They had very shallow hard nets – the ball used to bounce back out quickly. Good to know there’s others out there with the same fondness for retro nets!
      By the way, this year I’ve seen two grounds where the goals had no back stanchion or triangle at all, like the goals you get at Sunday League or at school – Conwy Borough and Abbey Hey.

      1. Wow, I’ve never heard of grounds which used nothing at all before!

        Have you seen the goals that they use at Whitley Bay? They use goals that you would expect to see at a training ground, I think they even have wheels on them!

        Another weird one is at Hamworthy United. They use the ‘box’ style nets, but instead of using poles to hold the net up, the net is held up by the barrier which separates the fans from the pitch!

  27. Yes. Hate the uniformity of nets since Euro96, Blackburn at the start of Sheared era had a good stanchion. In mid 70s I can, even now, describe each first division clubs type of nets. In late 60s Nottingham Forest had a large “triangle”. Queens Park Rangers had rubbish nets. Remember Leighton James smashing home a tap in for Burnley when they were 0/3 down and the ball cannons back to half way line! Leeds used to change style of nets a lot in late 60s to mind 70s. They won the league in 74/5 with my favourite nets ever. A franchising but floppy netting. The next season the kept the franchising but changed the shape and the netting was now bouncy. I was convinced their poor form in early 74/5 was because of this! I thought I was the only one who remembered this stuff!

    1. Hi Paul,

      Glad to know there’s another net connoisseur out there. Re: QPR some nets in those days were very tightly strung. I reckon the Dell’s were the tightest, though!

  28. Terrific site,i’ve just been watching some of the Big match revisted and seeing the old style stantions again is superb. I used to like the horeshoe ones at Newcastle as they were a bit different from the triangles.The sixties Man United red stantions always looked good.Evertons black stantions had a great angle to them.Then of course there were the classic large Blue ones at Spurs.I remember Blackpool had some really weird bendy stantions in the early 70’s. Its such a shame everyone has identical ones these days,lets hope we have a few changes soon.

    1. Andy,

      Great to hear from you – another net connoisseur! You have to look in non league now to see variety in nets – there’s still some good ones around.

      1. Its interesting that two of the successful clubs in the sixties and seventies,Leeds United and Manchester City both used to change their goals each season.Leeds went from the white stantion type to the triangles as did City who changed their netting size and colouring as well.

      2. I didn’t know that about Leeds and Man City. I wish clubs would do it again. My local club, Norton United, changed their nets at the start of the season – black and red striped nets with triangles – very nice!

  29. Colchester United v Leeds United, FA Cup 1971 at Layer Road check out the goal stanchions, just watched the game highlights on You tube, remember watching it on
    Match of the Day all those years ago. Wish this type of goal was in use today they
    looked brilliant.There seemed to be a finer net fixed inside the goal to stop the ball
    from hitting the back stanchion, great bit of thinking by the ground staff.

    1. Jezzer, when I posted my mission statement to my The History of Goal Nets blog, the examples of unique on-field architecture I used – nay, was inspired by – were the goals at Layer Road.


      To quote – “Such great designs didn’t just follow what went before, nor were they obviously fashionable at the time. But in the second decade of the new century, when everybody’s got box goalnets and everything looks the same, we’d like readers to remember that football can look different to how it looks today, and difference can be beauty in itself. “

  30. Interesting blog. My team, Tranmere, have gone through a number of different styles of stanchion over the years. When I first started going in the mid 1970s, we had a standard style, 3ft deep at the crossbar and 5-6ft deep at pitch level. These were usually painted blue, black or green, depending on the season, However I’ve seen photographs from the early 70s where they;re painted white. By the late 1980s, we had changed to an 18 inch deep curved stanchion with the net staked to the ground about 5ft back, although most of it seemed to hang no more than 2ft behind the goal mouth until about a 1ft above the ground. It had a great billowing effect when a powerful shot or header went in.

    We changed to the current box style about 1998 (maybe a year or so either side). It’s a style I first noticed in the late 70s or early 80s when watching goal action on the telly from games in West Germany.

  31. Just come across this web site and great to see so many people chatting about goal types. Ever since I was a kid in the early 80’s I would know what type of goal virtually every football league team had. It was great the so many teams had different types of goals & nets. Unfortunately it’s all become very boring since the mid 90’s with every team having the same box goals. To me, the ball should stay in the net if a goal is scored, now the ball bounces right out of the goal. nets are to tight these days. The goals are like squares,. Wembley had nostalgia goals up until Euro 96. they were special goals and formed a great part of the old wembley stadium. I also liked the nets which are used in Hockey goals. These size nets are only used by a few teams in Spain & Germany. the best nets were Birmingham’s goals in the late 70’s & liverpool’ in the early 1990’s. The new box goals used by most teams now do look very smart but not what I want to see when the ball hits the back of the net.

  32. The box type goal is not entirely uniform. For example, at some grounds there are 2 net support poles per goal, at other grounds there are 3. These poles can be painted different colours (2 colour striped poles were briefly quite popular) There are different variants of the support poles as well. The original poles were quite thin and consisted of a pulley wheel at the top and a cleat hook half way down to secure the rope being used to support the net. A thicker pole is more commonplace now, and these are fitted with webbing straps which have a snap hook to clip onto the net and are secured by a ratchet mechanism, which is used for tensioning . In some cases where 2 poles are used, there is additional rope or webbing straps going from the poles to further support the roof of the net eg. City of Manchester Stadium. Or alternatively, there is rope or a wire hanging between the two poles with further ropes (Stadium of Light) or webbing straps (Old Trafford) attached, again to further support the roof of the net. There is also varying distances between the net and the support poles. And then of course there is the nets. They are available in knotted or knotless varieties.There is standard nets and hexagonal. Different colours are available. Some are self coloured, then you have vertical stripes, diagonal stripes (usually knotless) and the fairly recent hexagonal check. Finally the nets can be pegged to the ground or as is more common now, a base bar can be used.

    1. Yes the goals with hexagone nets & different poles give a welcome variety to the boring style box goals. Wigan , Yeovil, Exeter & Sunderland are the ones that spring to mind. But as with all box goals, they also have a base bar with goals which gives them that square look. However the nets do seem looser on the hexagon nets which is good. I think it’s only Northampton Town who still use ground pegs. I expect all groundsman prefer a base as it makes life easier for them after the game.

  33. Marcus and James,
    Great to hear from two more net enthusiasts. I’m not keen on the ones with a bar at the bottom. The ball should nestle nicely in the net rather than ping back from a bar. Non League and Welsh league are the only places to find variety now. I think it was at Middlewich where they’d put the triangles on upside down, so the flat bit was underneath! Also saw last season that Abbey Hey and Conwy Borough had no triangle or back stanchion at all, like in school games!
    I always like a diagonally strung net, preferably coloured too.

    1. Really a great site and I thought i was alone in my obsession with goal nets and stantions!! like most on here I find it sad that the individuality of club choices of nets appear to have vanished, its got worse to my mind though with that bar along the back the nets appear like training goals!!

  34. If we have to have these box type goals then can we have them all like James mentioned in a
    previous comment the Stadium of Light at Sunderland, and can ground staff at certain grounds
    with a base bar fitted to the goal please fit the base bar to the ground, nothing is worse than seeing
    the back of the goal, net included take off when a goal is scored.Apolgies for the rant guys.

  35. I thought the reason they changed to the modern box nets was because of the ball crashing out off the stanchion like the famous incident at Coventry, therefore getting a perfectly good goal ruled out. But now with the new goal line technology surely the stations could be reinstated. I wonder where the old stanchions actually are? Behind a cupboard in some club store room somewhere are did they all send them down to the local tip? Imagine a big pile of old multi coloured stanchions. I remember the old Wembley ones were sold when the stadium was re built. Either way I think it would be nice to get back to some individual looking nets instead of the same ultra boring box type ones that everyone has got.

  36. Yes to this – bored with the square box nets in modern football. Symbol of uniformity. The old style goals gave you a more solid sense of where the top corner was. Also gave you a better sense of the stadium’s identity, watching on TV. Were Wembley’s curved goal stanchions better than Hampden’s..? Jury is still out…

  37. why dont clubs ask supporters what they would prefer, old style or current and then impliment

    what exactly would fifa do about it iand would they even notice or care …really !!!

  38. Great site and comments. When Box nets first arrived in England I liked them. I now loath them as it seems every club has them. Remember the net structure of USA 94? Very unique and one of my favourites. The netting literally swallowed the ball as they were draped so much.

  39. Hi I remember Wales at the old arms park with red and white nets, and stanchions down each post. Then from 1996 the stanchion was removed to a triangle, curved stanchion just before the stadium was knocked down to accommodate the Millennium. Totally agree Wembley and the other host grounds set the trend after Euro 96 for the uniform box nets now seen across the country. There is no individuality anymore, a goal and its nets set the recognition mark for a club and the ground with individual styles and club colours.

  40. As alluded to above Euro 96 in England was pretty much the Catalyst for the box style goal nets in this country. Harrod UK (not the posh shop) have the market cornered and supplied all the goals for the tournament which were then kept by the Premier League clubs whose stadiums were used. Other clubs slowly but surely followed over the next few years. Even now you are hard pressed to find non-box style nets even at non-league level and when you do this is probably the result of budget issues rather than sentiment. I have obsessed over goal nets since I was a kid and have had many weird and wonderful variants in my garden – using corner shelf brackets, stitching my own box net out of an older net etc. and even in my thirties still continue this weird hobby!

  41. The old Wembley stanchions were so iconic. Beautiful. Now they look like every other stanchion in Europe. What an absolute tragedy. The English language does not have the words to describe how strongly I feel about this. Can somebody who is less apathetic than me please do something about it. If left to me, nothing will get done. But the old Wembley goals must be brought back. I can’t believe I’m the only one going mad about this.

    1. Totally agree Geoff,the old nets and stantion were part of Wembley nostalgia and it was a tragedy when they were taken away i loved them

    2. Your not the only one, there was nothing like the old nets, they worked perfectly better than these STUPID hockey nets where more often that the ball bounces back into the field of play.

  42. Can anyone explain why the net support poles at Stamford Bridge, the Etihad, the Emirates, Anfield and Goodison have padding round them for European games? All these grounds have 2 net support poles per goal with the exception of the Etihad which has 3 per goal (the 2 poles supporting the corners of the net are padded but the 1 supporting the middle is not)

    1. I thought this might be a UEFA/FIFA/Whoever directive but it could just be at the prerogative of individual clubs for safety. I see it at Barca and a few other clubs too even though the net support stanchions are some way behind the goal line. The Champions League rules don’t seem to mention any of this anyway.

      Ps. This whole discussion is GREAT – I used to get ridiculed for my seemingly unique obsession by peers. Perhaps we could have a ‘goal post freaks anonymous’ meet sometime 😀

  43. Ayresome Park had different stanchions at each end. The Boys End’s were fairly standard, but the Holgate End’s were more vertical, and went less far back. I think this was because there was less space behind the goal, but I never understood why they didn’t repaint the pitch and move at along a few feet.

  44. so this is where stanchion noticing oddballs like me hang out, fascinating stuff people. My club, Southport, has the modern box nets but pretty shallow, 13 squares of netting from post to seam. Before that it was the bracket from the early 90s and before that, the trad black angled stanchion – pretty deep nets. Always liked Stockport/Colchester/QPR/Leicester/Blackpool/Grimsby. In non league, Buxton were using the old QPR type up to last year. Cheers all.

  45. I always eagerly anticipate the start of a new season, to see if there have been any changes to the goalposts and nets from the previous season. For example, here in Scotland, Celtic have played 3 pre-season friendlies at St. Mirren Park and I noticed that the net support poles which were black and white hooped have now been painted all black. And Raith Rovers have painted their net support poles dark blue (they were previously white)

  46. It’s not just me then!! Just found this site!
    Firstly, as Groundhog says, one glimpse at a grounds goals and you knew exactly where you were. These sanitised box goals just don’t cut it for me. The net retention is terrible for a start, some are way to deep (Wembley) and obviously, they all look too alike.
    I used to love the old days at Hillsborough when (rarely) the ball would hit the net and would disappear, trapped by a heap of gleaming white, flowing netting. Even the hardest shot would be stopped dead in it’s tracks and immediately nestle on the ground.
    I also really dislike the modern goals that have the metal frame around the bottom so that the groundsman can just lift it up and it lifts the net off the floor all the way round. Get yer pegs out!!
    I could go on, but I won’t!

  47. This is a great website. The big thing for me though is not so much the shape of the goals but the visibility of the nets themselves. Liverpool, Everton and Bournemouth all use darker colours where it’s impossible to see the net bulge even if it does! Jason Puncheon’s great free kick at Anfield (the one where he hides his face in case the defenders could lip-read him!!) would have looked even better if you could see it hit the net!

  48. Another goal net tragic here. Ever since I was given a cheap metal post and thin orange net 7ft x 5ft goal for christmas circa 1972 I’ve been a keen connoisseur of goal architecture, and yes, the standardisation of World Football in this matter saddens me greatly. I was particularly fond of the small mesh ‘anti-hooligan’ nets seen at Upton Park, Hillsborough, Maine Road (in electric blue) and Highbury, though I’m told groundsmen hated them as they weighed so much more than today’s compulsory wider mesh. I seem to recall sometime in the late 90’s early 2000’s Goodison Park briefly had box nets with a small mesh back and wide mesh sides – or maybe the other way round. Since then though, boring uniformity. Bring back the elbow brackets!

  49. and, before i forget, stanchions should not be in the way; their primary function is to hold the net back or up, not to assist ball retention, which is entirely up for the net to do.

  50. oh, btw, what body or institution decides which nets must be used anywhere, or everywhere, at this point? what criteria are taken into consideration?

  51. I love my goals and type of goals I need to get a life. So much so, I used to use my duvet two blue net goal with a lollipop stick and turn them into the very odd goals used by wiggy at Portman road! I also miss the old Wembley goals and the current state of goals sums up the dryness of current football.

  52. I cannot agree more about bringing back the old Wembley nets (loose fit version ala 1973) watching Allen Clarke’s header bounce gently off the stantion and only a tiniest ripple of those perfect nets was pure art as was Booby Stokes stantion roller in 76.
    I believe they were all changed because of Euro 96. Importantly I noticed no one on TV commented on the change at those Euro’s and it was almost as if people were embarrassed to discuss the change of nets because it would make them look geeky. Every true football fan was disappointed to lose the old nets but commentators from Desmond Lynam to Jimmy Hill and Motty said nothing, choosing instead to pretend nothing had happened so no protest happened and we are forced to watch old Wembley highlights on YouTube to get our ‘net fix’
    I’d love to know what happened to them. Also in 1977 when the Scotland fans destroyed the nets I noted that Wembley had a spare set ready for the 77 final so I’m thinking they had 2 sets.

  53. This is a subject I’ve thought about a lot whilst watching modern football, most of the new grounds are quite samey and the goal net set ups are all the same.
    When I got into football as a kid in the early 90’s each ground was so unique and yes each ground could be quickly identified by their netting and goal set up. I used to love a goal being scored and the ball nessling in the net for the keeper to pick out. These days the ball just bounces back to the halfway line after hitting the net. A goal woulda least be made sweeter when it hit the corner stantion like at old Trafford, villa park or brammal lane. This season (2019/20) has seen a couple of the last clubs to have corner stations have them removed and join the modern way i.e Luton and Walsall. The goal set ups all look the same these days as do the stadiums. Miss grounds such as The Dell, Maine Road, Highbury etc these new bigger grounds seem shorter on atmosphere. I also miss the atmosphere created my standing areas at grounds, they just seem so sterile these days.

  54. Hi!
    I watched an old video with a funny blooper: after a corner kick, the goalkeeper tried to clear, but missed and the ball felt in the foot of other team’s striker. He kicked and the ball passed through the deffense and there was only one defender inside the goal. He could easily clear out, but when he was going to kick, his foot was trapped by the net!! Hilarious! Can you remember such a weird goal?? The video is very old, but colorized, and it was snowing, the ball was orange (or brown, like all the old balls). The team that scored wears a striped blue and white jersey, with red numbers and dark blue shorts (west bromwich??), and the team of the defender that kicked the net wears dark red jersey with white details on the side and near the neck, like a V shape. I wanted so much to know which match was that. Sure you gonna find very nice if you see.
    Greetings from Brazil!!

    1. That musta bin undoubtedly hilarious, but it is not the main purpose of having loose nets, which does not necessarily lead to foot trapping, at least not in the way I want the net casing to be, like in Mexico ’70 Azteca, where nobody got his foot trapped.

    2. Hi Leonardo,
      It is an amazing coincidence but literally minutes before I saw your text I was watching the exact video you are talking about on Facebook! I will share it with you.

      1. Well, maybe it’s not coincidence, maybe this video was discovered or colorized recently and viralized, that’s why me and you watched on Facebook such a short time ago. But did you find out which teams were involved, or what match?

  55. Arsenal’s stanchions were green, surely ?
    Watched the Big Match Revisited yesterday, Arsenal v the mighty Hammers. (1977, 2-3). The stanchions were certainly green.

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