Every football match must take place somewhere

Whether it’s a local park that consists of 90% mud or the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium, all matches have a location.

But for some teams, namely those with strong supporter bases all around the world, sometimes that’s not enough. In our day and age, nearly any team can make a meteoric rise up the football food chain and establish themselves as a ‘big club’.

As an example, let’s look at Manchester City. A club that 20-30 years ago was a relegation battler in the First Division. They would go up and come back like a yo-yo. They weren’t a mainstay in the top flight, and they weren’t even close to the financial powerhouse that they are today.

In fact, let’s fast forward a little bit to the end of the 2007/2008 Premier League season. They weren’t relegation battlers, but they were still hardly world-beaters. It was the last day of the season, nothing was on the line.

Middlesborough had come off a disappointingly uneventful season and also had nothing to play for. With City in managerial turmoil with Sven Goran Eriksson on the way out, City were smashed 8-1 by a Middlesborough side that with respect to players like Mark Schwarzer and Stewart Downing, was nothing special. Boro were relegated last season and have only come back up once since (2016-17).

But soon after that dark day, City were overtaken by Shiekh Mansour and ever since, he and his endless streams of money have turned Manchester City into a dominant football club.

From playing at Maine Road to the jaw-dropping Etihad Stadium, City have come a long way. Maine Road seated 35,000 fans but was consistently under construction, plainly designed and bluntly, nothing spectacular.

Now, they have the magnificent Etihad Stadium. A rich, strong club with 60,000 fans (most weeks anyway). It’s futuristic, sleek and above average for a standard Premier League stadium. It even has world class training facilities right next door for their stars as well as their youth academy players.

The point I’m getting at is this. Your stadium can go a long way to defining your club. If your stadium looks the part and has a fanbase that can back up your players on the pitch, it gives everyone a good idea who you are as a club.

Stadiums are a place where people can come together. It’s a place of unity for thousands of passionate fans. They are all united in the same cause. Bringing together tens of thousands of people to fight for one thing is what makes football unique and it’s what makes stadiums special.

It’s the place where magical moments take place. Etihad Stadium was the location for perhaps the greatest moment in Premier League history. Needing a win to take home the league title, City were 2-1 down to relegation threatened QPR. Manchester United, City’s old foes, were the only challengers and they were leading away at Sunderland.

Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero then scored to put City ahead in injury time, derailing United’s title hopes and creating the most iconic piece of commentary in world football. Martin Tyler’s ‘Agueroooooooo!’ call will forever in football folklore, as will City’s title win.

For Australians, it will be where John Aloisi scored the winning penalty against Uruguay in 2005 to send the Socceroos to the World Cup. A moment forever entrenched in the minds of Australian soccer fans.

ANZ Stadium was the location and regardless of what takes place in the future, it will always be associated with that infamous penalty.

As will Wembley Stadium with England’s 1966 World Cup win. Same goes for Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul for Liverpool fans after their heroic 2005 Champions League victory. Every set of fans will always hold a moment close to their heart.

And they will always remember when, who and most importantly, where.

All these moments are just that. Moments in time that are so significant to so many fans across the world. And they all take place somewhere.

A cauldron. A theatre. A stadium, where extraordinary and unforgettable moments happen all the time.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Tigres secures deal for new 65,000 seat stadium

Mexican soccer giants Tigres UANL have secured a deal to see a brand new 65,000 seat stadium ready by 2025.

Mexican soccer giants Tigres UANL have secured a deal to see a brand new 65,000 seat stadium ready by 2025.

The stadium will be based in the heart of San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, and will be replacing the old 42,000 seat stadium, known as Estadio Universitario, The previous stadia has been the home of Tigres since 1967.

The new stadium was presented on Thursday, January 13 at a meeting that included Governor of Nuevo León and Samuel García, through a Memorandum of Understanding to commence construction.

Tigres’ future home was designed by architecture firm Populous and envisioned to be entirely privately financed at a cost of $445 million AUD.

The stadium’s features will include a retractable pitch, as well as being able to host concerts and international sporting events like American football games.

As part of the overall plans, the stadium will include separate changing rooms for Tigres’ men’s and women’s teams, while the exterior stadia complex will complement with a hotel, shopping centre and restaurants. The venue is also intended to act as an incubator for local business, and will also have classrooms catering for the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL).

Juego de Pelota principle partner, César Esparza:

“There is going to be another setting for concerts and sport,” he said.

“It is a stadium prepared to host all sports, this stadium will be the postcard of Nuevo León.

“Stadium events will not be expensive for fans, as long as it has that capacity it will allow us to create different price levels for events, becoming inclusive for all people.”

UANL Tigres parent company member, Mauricio Doehner:

“Today Tigres is internationally recognised and we are always striving for more,” he said.

“Of course we deserve a new stadium, it will be the headquarters in this new era. Today, Tigres is not only a benchmark in Mexican soccer, but also on an International stadium. The Estadio Universitario has given greatness to Club Tigres and all the fans, we will honour it forever.”

Melbourne Victory names Marnong Estate as Premier Partner

Melbourne Victory has announced Marnong Estate as a Premier Partner for the 2021/22 Isuzu Ute A-League Men's season.

Melbourne Victory has announced Marnong Estate as a Premier Partner for the 2021/22 Isuzu Ute A-League Men’s season.

Marnong Estate is the Official Naming Rights Partner of the A-Lounge, providing its premium wines in the A-Lounge and Corporate Suite Foyers for tasting sessions, as well as in all Melbourne Victory’s Corporate Suite drinks packages.

As one of Melbourne’s biggest wineries, Marnong Estate also has its own boutique accommodation, as well as being able to host weddings and other functions.

Melbourne Victory Managing Director, Caroline Carnegie:

“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Marnong Estate and bringing a taste of their premium experience to our match days,” she said.

“Marnong Estate is an incredible facility that contributes to the local community by providing an authentic cultural and historical experience and we would love our members and fans to experience the beautiful views, food and wine as they visit Marnong itself.”

Marnong Estate General Manager, Stewart Malone:

“We are very passionate about wine, hospitality, and agriculture. The other thing we are passionate about is football and there is no greater opportunity for us than to partner with Melbourne Victory and their incredible match day experience,” he said.

“We’re excited to promote our premium wine, amazing dining options and the estate’s farm-to-fork facilities in front of one of the most dedicated fan bases in Australia.”

For more on Marnong Estate, you can find it here.

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