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“From Glory to Ruins: The Transformation of Parkstadion, Once a Football Icon”

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CS3W61MH

From Glory to Ruins: The Story of Parkstadion

Parkstadion, once hailed as one of the world’s top football stadiums, now lies in ruins. The 62,000-seater stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, was home to Schalke from 1973 until 2001 when they moved to the modern Veltins Arena just across the road. During its glory days, Parkstadion witnessed historic moments such as hosting five matches at the 1974 World Cup, including Yugoslavia’s record-breaking 9-0 victory over Zaire. It also played a role in Euro 1988, where Ruud Gullit’s Netherlands emerged victorious. The stadium even welcomed music legends such as Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones for concerts.

However, as time went by, Schalke recognized the need for a new state-of-the-art venue. Thus, the 2000-01 season marked their farewell to Parkstadion, concluding their 28-year residency. Only a few Premier League grounds, including Tottenham and West Ham’s 62,000-seater stadiums, and Manchester United’s Old Trafford with a capacity of 75,000, can surpass Parkstadion in size. Schalke bid farewell to their iconic stadium with a thrilling 5-3 victory over SpVgg Unterhaching, sending their fans into wild celebrations in anticipation of a title win. Unfortunately, a last-minute equalizer by Bayern Munich elsewhere shattered their dreams.

Following Schalke’s departure, Parkstadion underwent partial demolition. However, remnants of the stadium still stand, serving as a poignant reminder of its former glory. One of the stands remains intact, featuring benches instead of individual seats. The pitch continues to occupy its original spot and is occasionally used by Schalke for matches. As recently as last year, they played a friendly against VVV-Venlo in front of a meager crowd of 1,113 spectators. In exhibition matches against SC Verl and SV Meppen during the summer of 2022, they were cheered on by 2,999 fans.

Standing proudly behind one of the goals is a hotel, offering accommodation for fans attending matches at the Veltins Arena. The Veltins Arena, Schalke’s current home, boasts a capacity of over 62,000 and hosted England’s triumphant 1-0 victory over Serbia in the opening match of Euro 2024. The construction of the Veltins Arena cost a staggering £160 million, solidifying Schalke’s commitment to providing a modern and impressive venue for their loyal supporters.

The transformation from Parkstadion to the Veltins Arena symbolizes the evolution of football stadiums over time. While Parkstadion may now be a shadow of its former self, it remains a cherished part of Schalke’s history. The nostalgia associated with the old ground draws fans and visitors alike, reflecting the profound emotional connection between football and its sacred spaces. As football continues to evolve, it is essential to honor and preserve the legacy of stadiums like Parkstadion, which have played significant roles in shaping the beautiful game we know today.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CS3W61MH
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CS3W61MH

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