Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Olympic Stadium Legacy: Learning Lessons from Barcelona

Barcelona’s second football team Espanyol has a lot in common with West ham United.
Espanyol was founded in 1900 the same year Thames Iron Works reformed as West Ham United.

Espanyol has experienced early glory and Real Madrid’s record defeat remains 8-1 against Espanyol in 1930. They have been runners up of the UEFA cup twice.

Like West Ham they have struggled to recapture glory of former years and are dwarfed by another club in their city namely Barcelona FC.

Espanyol reluctantly sold their previous ground at Estadi de Sarrià in 1997 to wipe out the club’s debts.

Espanyol  moved in as tenants and played for 12 years at the Olympic Stadium in Montjuïc which was previously used in 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The stadium has a capacity of 55,926  down from 67,007 during the 1992 Olympics.

Espanyol averaged crowds of 20,256 in their last year at the Olympic Stadium while their neighbours Barcelona averaged 67,428.

Many commentators said the home crowd often looked ‘lost in the big stadium’ and the running track created a gap which many Spanish football fans did not like. Many said the stadium lacked true atmosphere for football.

As few as 14,000 fans attended some matches which could the stadium look a lonely place since it could accommodate over 55,000.

Espanyol has struggled in the last couple of years to compete with the richer teams in the Spanish league having already made the commitment to build a new 40,000 purpose built football stadium called Estadi Cornella-El Prat.

Their first game on their new stadium was against a friendly against Liverpool in August 2009. It was a sell out 40,000 crowd.

Since moving to a new stadium they have increased their average attendance to 27,900 but regularly sell out all 40,000 seats against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Espanyol fans claim their have reclaimed their soul again.

Their old home The Barcelona Olympic Stadium has returned to its original purpose and become an athletics stadium again in 2010 to host the  2010 European Athletics Championships.

             The Barcelona Olympic Stadium as it looks today as Athletics Stadium again

Espanyol New 40,000 Stadium which opened in 2009 where fans are close to the pitch

1 comment:

  1. "Espanyol fans claim their have reclaimed their sole again". Should be 'soul' surely?