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Football Stadiums: The Battling Grounds

December 30, 2013

As a football fans, it is everybody’s dream to visit their favorite team’s home stadium. For me, San Siro of AC Milan, Goodison Park of Everton, and Camp Nou of FC Barcelona, can be considered as places I really want to visit someday. I don’t want to state the obvious, so, I want to tell you stories about these amazing stadiums that I want to visit. Amazingly, they’re not my favorite team home base, even one of them is the stadium of my favorite team’s rival. I’ve thrown away my blind fanatism in football two years ago, so, if there’s any opportunity to visit these stadiums before I can visit the forementioned stadiums, I don’t mind, I’ll go.

For a football fan, stadium is a sacred ground. It is a battling place, a colosseum if I may, it is a place where two teams fight against each other in order to achieve glory. For me, there are two aspects of a stadium that made me want to visit them. First, the construction. Construction of a stadium is one of the most important thing to judge. It is what the UEFA use to judge how many stars can be given to the stadium rating. Second, the crowd. An intimidating crowd could be an awesome experience for any football lovers, as long as they are watching a neutral game. Gelora Bung Karno of Indonesia have it. I’ve been there once or twice when the national team is playing. It was awesome. The cheers for the home team and the jeers for the away team is just mindblowing. I still shiver when I remember a match against Thailand few years ago. Oh, and also, some stadium have unique way to engage the home supporter to do something awesome. Like FC Barcelona’s fan who did a coreography of Catalan flag in Camp Nou a few months ago.

Based on the construction and the crowd, here are 5 stadiums I really want to visit (putting San Siro, Goodison Park and Camp Nou apart of course).

1. Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine. The Home of Shakhtar Donetsk.

donbass arena

Dubbed as the Mighty Donbass Arena by EA Sports’ FIFA 14, Donbass Arena is an enormous stadium standing in the city of Donbask, Ukraine. Rated as one of the category 4 stadium in Eastern Europe, Donbass Arena can hold up to 52,000 spectators. This beautiful stadium shaped like a flying saucer, is also a popular nightlife spot in Ukraine. I’m not interested in nightlife, but at night, the stadium emits beautiful lights at night. Certainly worth a visit.

donbass 2

2. Westfalenstadium aka Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany. The Home of Borussia Dortmund

wesfalen

Voted as the best stadium by Times Magazine UK, the now renamed (as Signal Iduna Park) Westfalenstadium is one of the greatest wonder in European football. With 80,000+ capacity, it is one of the –if not the- biggest stadium in German, and Europe as well. With the unique pylons outside the corner of the stadium which makes the stadium looks like a giant alien spider, it become one of the most renowned stadium in the world. Emitting as a new power in European football, Borussia Dortmund is well-known by the unique characteristic of their hard loving fans. If you want to see a magical work by the stadium committee and the fans, this stadium is a must.

Borussia Dortmund v Malaga - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

3. Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium aka Kobe Wing Stadium, Kobe, Japan. The Home of Vissel Kobe

Kobe_A

Kobe were once devastated by the great earthquake of 1995. To rebuild the spirit of the people, the stadium were built, and nicknamed as ‘Wing Stadium’ to give hope to the people of Kobe. With the capacity of 42,000 spectators, it is one of the biggest stadium in Japan. What makes this stadium unique is the roof that can be removed, depending on the situation. It is a modern stadium build to be suited in many kinds of weather hazard. I remember watching the stadium review when it was featured on the stadium profile in 2002 World Cup, I stare in awe when the retractable roof is closing in case of snow or heavy rain. As someone who is insanely interested in robot, this stadium is a candy to the eye.

kobe 2

4. San Paolo Stadium, Naples, Italy. The Home of SSC Napoli

san paolo 2

Dubbed as one of the most intimidating ground in Italy by the Bleachers, The San Paolo Stadium is the home for SSC Napoli, one of the most succesful club in Italy. With a capacity around 60,000 people, filled with obnoxious chant, it is clearly one of the loudest stadium in Europe. It is not easy to play in front of people when they jeered at you everytime you got the ball, even everytime you do something nice, and that’s what happen in San Paolo when you play as the away team. For me, it is always interesting to observe football fans. In San Paolo, I might see something called ‘Urban Tribalism’ as a part of a modern society. While screaming for the home team,  being the part of the tribalism itself, it is the greatest method of research I can think of.

tifosi_bologna-napoli

5. Arena AufSchalke aka Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The Home of Schalke 04

veltins 2

Simply the most advanced stadium in this list. The Veltins Arena have everything to be called ‘a modern stadium’. Retractable roof (like the one in Kobe Wing), a 25 meters GIGA SCREEN in the middle of the stadium, and the most awesome feature, a slide out pitch that can be switched out depending on the situation. The slide out pitch means, it can change the grass part of the stadium into another structure, so it can be used as another occasion like concert, without damaging the grass. Awesome ? Wait until you hear that there is a catering service INSIDE the stadium, make it possible to drink beer, eat pizza, sausages, and pretzels, inside the stadium. Watching football while eating pizza, sausages, and pretzels ? I’d do that every weekend.

veltins9

I’m looking forward visiting these stadiums, I don’t know when, but I think I can make it someday. I have to. Along with the San Siro, Goodison Park and Camp Nou trio. And Mecca. And Greece. And Japan, again. Geez, I always hope that Doreamon is exist with his doko de mo doa, or pintu ke mana saja.. well.. I guess that’s it for this post. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

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