In the green hell of Groningen

Context

Just graduated and not much in mind for the near future, I decided to reward myself with a football weekend. I take a look at the calendar of the teams that are on my bucket list, and my choice goes to one particular fixture : Amsterdam – Feyenoord, the Dutch Clasico on Sunday, October 28th. Since I’m going on my own, I’m thinking that the bill will be a bit high for a weekend, and I’m thinking about how to make this trip more profitable.

I look over a couple of days before and after the game and notice that there is an abundant choice of games throughout the week, in an area quite close to Amsterdam. Plus, it happens to be a European championship week, and there are plenty of European clubs in the area. My football weekend now turns into a very promising  5 day 5 stadiums road trip  After long hours spent studying the best route, the one I choose will take me from Bruges on Wednesday, to my final destination in Amsterdam on Sunday morning.

Day 1 : Bruges

Day 2 : Brussels

Day 3 : Gent  

Day 4 : Groningen

Day 5 : Amsterdam

Voyage foot à Groningue

Football trip to Groningen

The reason I chose this stage is that on this day Groningen FC are receiving Eindhoven, one of the two Dutch giants with Ajax. As for the stadium, you could pass by it without realising it is a stadium! It looks more like a modern office building. However, the atmosphere inside is quite different. The seats are completely green and the stadium is in very good condition, and traffic is particularly good. That evening the stadium was obviously full, with many Eindhoven fans following their team. This season, PSV have been fighting it out, unlike Groningen, who are in the tricky position of being relegated before kick-off. On the paper, it was a David versus Goliath game, but the home side managed to open the scoring just before half-time. They will be joined almost immediately in the scoreline, much to the dismay of the crowd. A very dynamic crowd! I even enjoyed a small pyro show in the ultra local turn. After all, this is one of the games of the year in Groningen!

The second half is a torment for the locals because PSV pushes hard. The visitors will end up scoring the winning goal at the end of the match, sealing the fate of the greens (final score 2-1). Groningen’s players have shown a huge sense of sacrifice, and they get cheered by their fans for it. This match will appear to be a turning point to finally launch their season, as they will even end up in the first part of the standings after a floppy start.

This football trip to Groningen left me with a much better feeling than I first would have thought. The outside appearance of the stadium does not reflect the atmosphere inside at all. In any case, from my point of view, it’s a win-win situation to get in! Thank you Groningen.