21/10/2012: The Stade de Gerland 1

Lyon v Brest

Sunday, 21st October 2012.

We had booked our tickets to see the 'Match de League 1' between 'Olympique Lyonnais' and 'Stade Brestois'. Unlike my friends, who were actually from Lyon, it was my first time in the 'Stade de Gerland'.

The Tickets

The tickets were exceptionally good value, especially when you compared them to what you would pay in England to see one of the 'Premier League' matches. I only had to pay 5 euro for a seat in the North Stand, just above the die-hard fans. Even if you weren't a student, the price of tickets wasn't too expensive. My boyfriend, for example, payed 20 euros, even though he is also a student (we weren't sure if they would accept English student cards), but I, myself, was never asked for my card.

Before going to the stadium, I was advised to arrive in plenty of time as the wait for tickets was so long that you could run the risk of missing the beginning of the match. However, no-one told me what time was the right time to go.

Chaos!

We had an hour and a half to collect our tickets and find our entrance, which we thought was plenty of time. However, I wasn't sure where to go to collect our tickets, so we started walking in the wrong direction. Finally, we found the ticket office and we were shocked by the situation. There were people coming from every direction trying to join the line, as well as people, who had already collected their tickets, trying to leave the line. It was utter chaos. The ticket office was far too small and disorganised to handle the number of people who were trying to avail of its services.

It wasn't clear where you were supposed to go to pick up tickets that you had bought online and where you were supposed to go to buy tickets there. We chose a desk at random and, thankfully, we chose correctly. We were queuing for almost an hour and we were beginning to get knocked about from the crowds. It was a very suffocating atmosphere, and we knew we were going to have even more problems trying to get back out through the mass of people that had gathered around the area where the ticket office was. There wasn't a hope that all these people would make it into the stadium in time for kickoff.

21/10/2012: The Stade de Gerland 1

Finally it was our turn to collect our tickets. It was incredibly easy after having waited for so long. No-one was willing to make room for us to get out, but eventually one person made a little crack in the barriers. I could breathe again.

Lost...

There weren't very many signs to guide us to our stand, so we went to the area where we had asked where the ticket office was. That wasn't where we should have been, so we turned back in the direction of the Metro, then we turned right and followed the crowds. We went into the first entrance we saw. Even though it didn't make one bit of difference, we were told you're in the wrong entrance, and we had to go to the next one.

Kick-off and Fantastic Fans

The beginning of the match was approaching and we had finally arrived at the correct part of the stadium. We were briefly stopped for a security check, but finally, after a lot of stress, we found our seats just seconds before kickoff.

The structure of the 'Stade de Gerland' is very simple. There is a lot of concrete. However, I think there are plans to build a new stadium but I'm not sure. The atmosphere generated by the fans was incredible, and much stronger than the atmosphere at English games. You could feel the stand vibrating with the noise coming from the die-hards below us. One person had a loudspeaker that even drowned out the person making the official announcements. The fans chanted for the whole match which I thought was magnificent. I love to see passionate fans.

Emotional Atmosphere v Literal Atmosphere

Event though the atmosphere was brilliant, the air was polluted by the amount of smokers who were smoking all sorts of things. In England, smoking is forbidden in environments like stadiums. However, despite the smoke creaked by the smokers, and the awful smell of cigarettes (and other things), the game was great.

The Grand Finale

It was very close despite the fact that the opposition had only had one shot at the goal. Lyon had yet to find a way to score. It was in the middle of the second half that they found the gap, and Gomez scored an amazing goal. That goal was the only one in the entire match. Lyon won by three points.

21/10/2012: The Stade de Gerland 1

I Would Love To Return.. But On One Condition.

The game wasn't very exciting, but I did like that the Lyon team had won on my first visit to the 'Stade de Gerland'. I would love to go back again but maybe when the weather is better. I learnt that in January, me, plus the cold, plus football, is not a good combination!


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