When the venue’s were announced for Euro 2016, I had visions of reliving France 98 with the steep and intimate but ageing Stadia producing some electric and partisan atmospheres to make for a spectacular tournament.
As it turned out these nostalgic stadiums are no longer.
The open air cauldron of the Stade Veldrome basking in Côte_d’Azur sunshine has been rebuilt… with a roof.
While in St Etienne where Michael Owen danced through the Argentine defence in the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard , known for its “English Style” design with no corner stands has now had a facelift and they’ve filled in some of the corners.
However unlike the half finished soulless stadia we had to put up with in Brazil at least our French venues have seen a season’s football played in them and do seem to have retained their atmospheric potential.
Here we’ll take a closer a look at the pick of the stadiums we have to look forward to this summer.
- Lyon – Grand Stade OL / Stade Des Lumieres
A newly built stadium from scratch replacing Lyon’s home of the Stade Gerland is set to be 59,500 all seater which resembles a slightly smaller scaled Wembley Stadium.
The Grand Stade OL is currently still under construction but as of October has really started to come together and looks quite impressive from the latest set of photos.
To stay in touch with its progress follow the twitter account @grandstadeOL
- Marseille – Stade Velodrome
Le Nouveau Stade Velodrome will have been finished for 2 years by the time it hosts its first Euro 2016 game, Olympique de Marseille played all of last season in their new home and the record capacity was set in their home fixture against PSG of 65,148. By all accounts the atmosphere has developed with the stadium, two sets of OM supporters groups are now housed at each of the ground, the ‘Virage Nord’ and ‘Virage Sud’ creating an atmosphere that is unrivalled in French football .
- Lens – Stade Bollaert-Delelis
The setting for David Beckham to launch himself on the international stage in England’s group game with Columbia in 98, Stade Bollaert-Delelis has also seen renovation, however it has retained a lot of its charm, the “English style” remains with the 4 steep individual stands and at 35,000 it is one of the smallest of all the Euro 2016 venues.
With its steep grandstands at enclosed up tiers even though one of the smallest we expect the atmosphere here to be one of the best during its 3 group and one last 16 game Lens is set to host.