DE CLUB: World Soccer op bezoek in de ArenA

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World Soccer’s Peterjon Cresswell bezoekt het stadion dat op 15 mei dit jaar de finale van de Europa League zal hosten.

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Home of the reigning Dutch champions Ajax, the Amsterdam Arena predates Arsenal’s Emirates and Bayern Munich’s Allians Arena as a contemporary new-build stadium that is capable of hosting regular club games and occasional international fixtures.

sdfdsfdOpened in 1996, the ground replaced the classic De Meer, a pre-war landmark where the great Ajax sides entertained crowds of around 20,000. It was also where the iconic Johan Cruyff learned and displayed hsi skills, and close to the house where his mother took in the club’s laundry.

The Ajax legend was sculpted at the modest ground on Middenweg in southeast Amsterdam, with Cruyff the star of the side that won three consecutive European Cups in the era of ‘Total Football’ in the early 1970s. He went on to manage the next great Ajax side, who won the European Cup-winners Cup in 1987, and his tactics laid the groundwork for former RKSV De Meer youth-team player Louis Van Gaal to nurture the first Ajax team since Cruyff to win Europe’s premier trophy.

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Van Gaal’s victory over Juventus in 1995 came just as the finishing touches were being added to the Amsterdam Arena. By now it was obvious that Ajax had outgrown De Meer, but the initial idea behind the building of a new stadium further south-east in Strandvliet was part of Amsterdam’s bid to host the 1992 Olympics. That idea eventually came to nothing as the Games were awarded to Barcelona – but, after dropping the running track from the blueprint and incorporating the idea of a retractable roof into the plans, architect Rob Schuurman and his team began work in 1993.

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dsdsAs well taking pieces of the De Meer turf when the old ground closed, some fans were even allowed to take their old seats, many of which ended up in their living rooms. Otherwise, the only element of the old stadium that made it down to the new location of Bijlmer was the proud four letters in bright red of “AJAX” which were placed at De Toekomst (the future), the club’s famous academy now set alongside the new venue.

With such loyalty to their favoured old ground, it is no wonder that many first looked upon the Amsterdam Arena with some distrust. Built on a vast patch of land in an otherwise economically depressed area, the stadium was ready in the summer of 1996.

Costing US$ 140million to build, it was opened after a week-long nationwide torch relay, with Cruyff himself leading the torch-lit procession from De Meer. Inaugurated in August 1996, with a friendly against Milan that was attended by the royal family, the Amsterdam Arena initially suffered complaints about a lack of atmosphere and, even worse, severe problems with the ill-lit turf.

rergfMoving the former F-side fans – the club’s most fanatical supporters’ group – into one section helped, as did 14 changes of playing surface.

With a capacity of 53,000 – rising to 68,000 for rock concerts – the stadium was one ofthe first in Europe to adopt a pre-paid card system for all over-the-counter transactions.

After staging the Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Juventus in 1998, it was a key venue when Holland and Belgium co-hosted Euro 2000 and was the scene of Dutch heartbreak when the Oranje lost to Italy on penalties in the semi-final.

Once home to the now defunct Amsterdam Admirals, who were an American gridiron football team, the Amsterdam Arena is the epitome of a modern, all-pupose stadium.

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Geplaatst op maart 28, 2013, in Europa League, Overig, Seizoen 2012/2013 en getagd als , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Markeer de permalink als favoriet. Een reactie plaatsen.

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