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'It is a perennial embarrassment that the backdrop for televised games at their unloved home, the Stadio Delle Alpi, reveals banks of empty grey seats'

AMY LAWRENCE
Sunday March 19, 2006
The Observer

Tickets for Juventus's Champions League quarter-final with Arsenal went on sale in Italy last Friday, and they were hardly flying out of the box office. Well, they never are nowadays. Juventus might be the defending Serie A champions, the runaway league leaders, and the self-styled most popular club in Italy backed by an estimated 11 million fans. But their crowds are an absolute abomination.

It is the great paradox of Juventus: prestigious club, pathetic support. Yet more proof was in evidence this month as they hosted two huge games in a week. They gave away 26,000 tickets for the Werder Bremen must-win Champions League match, but were still almost 30,000 short of a sell-out. Then they entertained AC Milan in one of the biggest Serie A matches of the season, and the crowd was even lower.

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It is a perennial embarrassment that the backdrop for televised games at their unloved home, the Stadio Delle Alpi, reveals banks of empty grey seats, and what noise is generated (with megaphones) echoes sadly around the cavernous spaces inside. Despite on-field excellence, the turnout has been in steady decline for the past few years. The average is a little over a third of their capacity.

Not so long ago Juventus registered their all-time low crowd for a Coppa Italia match against Sampdoria - 237 anoraks rattling around inside a stadium that holds 67,000. Live TV coverage, limited interest in the Italian Cup and cold weather were given as official excuses. Cold weather? (It is at this point you would like to imagine Sir Alan Sugar making Juve's public relations department squirm and beg before presenting them with the inevitable two-word salvo.) More than 237 would click through the turnstiles at Old Trafford even if there were an outbreak of bubonic plague - so the question must be asked: just what is Juventus's problem?

It's a question the club's directors have asked themselves with sufficient soul-searching to seek a solution. They are about to become the only major European football club to redevelop their ground because they need to make it smaller.

At the end of this season Juventus will move out as construction workers turn the Delle Alpi into a more compact, and hopefully atmospheric, 42,000-seat stadium. The hated athletics track will disappear. So will the corners, with new rectangular stands built inside the oval shell. These modifications are designed to make the Delle Alpi more like an English ground, more intimate, more of a bums-on-seats attraction.

The stadium was originally built for the 1990 World Cup, but became one of the biggest scandals of the tournament. At vast expense, Turin produced an arena locals feared would be unsustainable. Juventus left their ancestral home, the Stadio Comunale that used regularly to attract 70,000 fans, for a place nobody has ever liked. The main complaints are that it is a nightmare to get to and from, the sightlines are rubbish, and for what you get it is overpriced. The fact they are getting millions of pounds' worth of talent managed by a very clever coach is obviously not recompense enough.

The quirk in all of this is that statistics prove Juventus are the best 'supported' team in Italy. They have the largest number of TV season ticket subscribers on Sky, well-packed visitors sections when they play away, and legions of fans all over the country. In a variation on the old 'Do you come from Manchester?' theme, the theory goes that Turin citizens follow Torino. Juventus are massive in Sicily.

Their diaspora is the most well-worn defence for their paltry gates, along with blanket television coverage of matches and new laws that require supporters' IDs to be printed on their tickets. Fans frequently used to share season tickets among friends, but that routine is now out the window.

Over the past few years Juve's board even considered leaving Turin to set up camp elsewhere. That's not as illogical as it sounds, considering what happened when the Old Lady played a handful of 'home' matches outside the region. In 1994-95, they hosted Borussia Dortmund and Parma at Milan's San Siro. Both were 85,000 sell-outs. They put on a match in Palermo. Sold out. Another in Bologna. Sold out.

Contrast this with the figures for the most recent Turin derby in 2002-03: the Delle Alpi was, pitifully, almost three-quarters empty.

While redevelopment takes place, Juve will return downtown to share with Torino at the Comunale, which was rebuilt for the Winter Olympics and should provide Juventus with perfect facilities. It's in town, it's cosy, and it holds 28,000. They may be able to cancel their special offer €1 tickets for women and children - and still get enough bodies through the turnstiles to look presentable.

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I honestly don't see a reason why fans dont go and watch Juve play, unless ticket prices are really high. They're an entertaining side to watch.
 

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I bet if Torino played in Seria A or the CL they would sell out every seat even if they were a middle of the pack team. Juve just doesnt have that many true fans in Turin every time i see one of there games in Seria A the stadium is half empty they couldnt even sell out the game against Milan last week.
 

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Where is their new stadium being located? Cyberspace? Pathetic that they have one of the best teams in the world and their fans can't be bothered to turn up locally. The whole club is solely sustained by their worldwide fan base....imagine what they could do with full crowds. :eekani:

I think British fans are different from any other because they have the desire to travel to watch their teams in their thousands....clubs abroad simply don't have that capacity or desire. I mean Juve's fanbase around Italy should all be travelling to watch even if the stadium is crap.
 

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BooM said:
I honestly don't see a reason why fans dont go and watch Juve play, unless ticket prices are really high. They're an entertaining side to watch.
so why did they used to get big crowds then, did all their fans leave the country? ;)
 

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BooM said:
I honestly don't see a reason why fans dont go and watch Juve play, unless ticket prices are really high. They're an entertaining side to watch.

how much cheaper can u get??, they gave 26,000 away for free....
 

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Hear the new stadium capacity is reduced to 35,000! :dazed:

The Juve management has placed far too much emphasis on the tv fans rather then the matchgoing ones in the last decade and are now paying for it in terms of crowds.
 

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This will all change next year, when we'll move back to the communale. Yes it will only have 27.000 seats, but we are going to be full every game, I'am sure of it. And after a few years, Stadio Delle Alpi will be one of the finest stadions in Europe, with a decent capacity of 40.000. And I' am sure it will be full all the time.





 

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P.S.

Liverpool and Arsenal fans you might get new stadiums that will be booked all the time. But we will still have a bigger income with Delle Alpi restructured or not. :howler:
 

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juventus2 said:
P.S.

Liverpool and Arsenal fans you might get new stadiums that will be booked all the time. But we will still have a bigger income with Delle Alpi restructured or not. :howler:
:howler:
 

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juventus2 said:
P.S.

Liverpool and Arsenal fans you might get new stadiums that will be booked all the time. But we will still have a bigger income with Delle Alpi restructured or not. :howler:
you don't know, the refs will ask for higher pay packets above the line of inflation ;)

:D:pp
 

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Red Bed said:
Not so long ago Juventus registered their all-time low crowd for a Coppa Italia match against Sampdoria - 237 anoraks rattling around inside a stadium that holds 67,000.
You've got to be joking! The womens team here in Sweden usually get between 700-1500 spectators. 237!!!! :eekani: :googly:
 

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My team KaizerChiefs always got More than 10000 each an every game( in small Stadiums) but when playing in Big stadiums 40000( only chiefs fans) excluding opponents fans.The difference is that Fans here travels, since Chiefs got fans all over the country.
 

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From the 237, probably a few were a group of tourist that wanted to watch an Italian football match and enjoy the great atmosphere and life style experience in delle Alpi. Or just wanting to have a refuge from the rain when walking through the piemontese countryside.

28,000 in Communale? Fantastic, maybe from time to time they will even get the stadium sold out (with either their attractive "prendi tre, paghi uno" offer for a family man, his wife and his kid or the opposing fans).

28,000... that's a bit like the BayArena in Leverkusen, a club with no fan base but a few workers in the factories of pharmacy giant Bayer.

Gobbo alè. Best tifo in Italy.
 

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numerodix said:
It's a bit of a paradox. Torino is such a dull city than one would almost expect people to turn up for matches as a break from everyday life.
why waste an evening or a weekend with cheering for a team built by moggi, doped by agricola and coached by capello? ;)
 
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