Being immersed in the match day atmosphere and watching your favourite team play is part and parcel of being a football fan, with sitting in a stadium arguably the best way to watch the action unfold on the pitch. They are often considered iconic venues which not only reflect a club’s status in the game, but also a legacy that remains deep-rooted in everything that the team stands for.
Old Trafford and the Nou Camp are prime examples of fantastic state-of-the-art stadiums that ooze quality on and off the pitch, and although fans only get a taste of what the ground have to offer when whilst sitting in their seat during a match, stadium tours provide a fantastic insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
Walking through a glamorous trophy room and taking a look inside the changing rooms are to name just two services that can be provided by a club who take football fans on a guided tour that delves further into its history and how it feels to be a player, manager or member of staff. There are a number of famous football clubs that offer a superb stadium that every football fan should not pass up the opportunity to go on.
Ajax – Amsterdam ArenA
Ajax has long remained one of the most prestigious clubs in world football, with the Amsterdam giants standing tall as the most successful club in the Netherlands. Marco Van Basten, Johan Cruyff and Frank Rijkaard are amongst many elite players who have graced the pitch at the Amsterdam ArenA in the famous red and white colours, with fans able to get a feel for the magnitude of the stadium when they stand pitch-side at the start of their tour in the 53,748-seater venue. A guide is on hand to provide extensive information, including where the royal family sit when they attend matches and how the club operates, throughout a tour which is available in numerous languages including English, Spanish and Brazilian. There is also the opportunity for the tour to take a trip into the Ajax dressing room, but only if it is not a match or training day for the first team. A visit to the sky box, which acts as the main security room that overlooks the entire stadium, is followed by walking into the press room and seeing how it is set up, before taking the stairs up to the highest seats inside the stadium. The tour ends with a look around Ajax’s famous museum which is home to all the trophies that the club have won over the years, and considering that it costs just €13.50 per person as part of an adult group tour, it represents excellent value for money.
Barcelona - Nou Camp
The Nou Camp is arguably the most iconic football stadium in the world of football, with a capacity of just under 100,000 helping to create a magical match day atmosphere whenever Barcelona play at home. Watching one of Spain’s biggest clubs play their renowned tiki-taka style of play is a joy to behold, but going on a stadium tour around the Nou Camp delves much further into the history of the club and what makes Barcelona so iconic. For €25, fans get to experience what it feels like to play in such a big stadium, with ‘behind the scenes’ access delving further into why the Nou Camp is widely considered as the Mecca of football.
The Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience is a self-guided tour which enables fans to move at their own pace and follow markers which lead to an extensive coverage of what the stadium has in store. Audio guides are available at the start for those who wish to receive more information as they walk down the tunnel towards the pitch and dugout area, up to the press box, and into the visitor’s state-of-the-art changing room. Going into the press conference room and FC chapel are just some of the other areas covered during a tour which ends in Barcelona’s wonderful museum where fans can spend hours learning about the club’s history, their football philosophy and the many famous players who made their name at the Nou Camp.
Manchester City – Etihad Stadium
Moving to the Etihad Stadium was part of Manchester City’s long-term plan to become one of the strongest teams in England, but since billionaire entrepreneurs Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Sheikh Mansour arrived as the club’s new owners in 2008, their ambition has significantly increased. Further expansion work during the 2014/2015 season not only increased the stadium capacity to just over 55,000, but also improved the aesthetical qualities of a ground that reflects a club who have the potential and financial power to build a new dynasty. Betsafe provide a comprehensive video tour on their website for those who wish to gain an insight into what the stadium is like, but there are also other options available that allow fans to walk around the ground and see what Manchester City has to offer.
A Stadium and Club Tour provides a historical insight into how the club was formed right up until the present day, with a view of the pitch from ground level, the press room and walking into the players’ lounge also part of the overall package which is just £17 (€19.95) for adults. The club also offer a Matchday Stadium and Club Tour which not only allows fans to see the hospitality area, director’s box, Pep Guardiola’s seat in the dugouts and an overview of the club’s heritage just hours before a game, but also includes tickets to watch Manchester City play. Furthermore, the Legends Tour provides fans with a chance to be guided around the stadium by one of Manchester City’s most famous players before sitting down in one of the Platinum boxes for a three-course meal and getting the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.
Bayern Munich – Allianz Arena
There can be no question that Bayern Munich are amongst the most successful teams of the modern era, with the Bavarian giants not only holding the record for number of Bundesliga titles (26) and DFB-Pokal (18) trophies, but also look on course to make it five straight league titles in a row. Betsafe believe they are destined to finish top of the league once again, with Carlo Ancelotti backed to follow in the footsteps of famous managers who have brought glory to Bayern Munich.
A club steeped in historical success deserve a stadium that is befitting of its stature, with the Allianz Arena standing proud as a hallmark of everything that Bayern Munich have achieved. Built in 2005, the Allianz Arena holds 75,000 and is the first stadium in the world with an exterior that changes colour, with red, white and blue used during night matches to reflect the club’s symbolic colours. Although they only accept groups of 20 or more people, the price of just €12 per adult certainly stands out as excellent value when a 60-minute guided tour includes going to the lower and middle tier of the picturesque stadium, dressing rooms, walking down the players’ tunnel and a look at the stadium’s unique exterior design. The Arena tour offers wonderful views and an insight into how the Allianz Arena was built, along with gaining what it feels like to play in such an iconic stadium where success has been achieved.
Manchester United – Old Trafford
Regarded as the richest club in world football, Manchester United is a name known to everyone who follows the sport. The most successful team in English football history have enjoyed a rich history of success, with 20 Premier League titles and 3 Champions League trophies to name just a selection of trophies that are proudly displayed in their museum. The club provide football fans with an opportunity to admire their resounding success through the Museum and Stadium tour which also incorporates viewing numerous areas of the 76,000 capacity stadium. Manchester United also provide a Stadium Tour which is purely focused on making fans experience what it feels like to sit in the dressing room, walk down the tunnel and onto the hallowed turf at Old Trafford.