Year Review: 2016
As Santa Claus is already back at the North Pole and the end of 2016 is near, I made a list of my best experiences last year. 2016 was quite a special year with my first European Championship game and my first Champions League game. I also visited Luxebourg, Norway, Portugal and Spain for the first time and made a lot of groundhop friends. In 2016 I visited 115 games, with a combined total of 333 goals in 9 different countries. This is my 2016 top 10.
Beautiful game in a beautiful ground with great atmosphere in a beautiful country. Tickets in Portugal are very cheap, just like everything else. Lisbon is a great place to visit with a lot of football clubs as I could visit Belenenses, Estoril, Alético CP, Sporting CP, SL Benfica and the national stadium in just 3 days (only 2 with games).
I visited Bilbao with the very kind Drughi ultras from KRC Genk and I was lucky to find out that Barakaldo CF played at home. The "Baraka" have a rather new and special stadium but create a rather decent and special atmosphere. The home team managed to equalize in the last seconds, making their fans going crazy. Great evening out in the Bilbao suburbs!
Completing the 1st and 2nd division of Belgian football were 2 of my goals this year and by visiting the oldest club in Belgium I managed to complete the 2nd division. Antwerp FC has an amazing stadium and great support, next time I will buy my ticket on 'Tribune 2' as it's a real beauty and I couldn't keep my eyes of it.
Eintracht Trier plays in the 4th tier of German football and has a very beautiful ground and some good support.You can easily combine them with a game in Luxembourg. I was lucky to visit them, followed by a game in Luxembourg and even one in Belgium.
My first Champions League games ever, resulting in a 0-0 score after a very good game. It was actually unbelievable how both teams managed not to score. The BayArena is a brand new ground but I kind of like it.
This game was only a friendly, but it doesn't really matter when the game is played in the beautiful Stade de Buraufosse. One of the best grounds to visit in Belgium, I guess.
Norway is much more expensive than Portugal but as I was on holiday, I had the chance to visit Lillestrom. The visitors took a lot of fans to the capital of Norway and created a great atmosphere. Cristian Gytkjær scored a hattrick before the break (0-4) but the home team also made an unbelievable comeback, resulting in a spectacular 3-4.
Despite the home team having a terrible evening, I had a great one. RLC Bastogne has a very beautiful ground in the Belgian Ardennes, which is really worth the visit.
A 10 hour bus trip took me to Lyon, to watch my first European Championship game. I already experienced 2 Europa League Finals and this game made me remind them, with the show before the game etc. The Belgians didn't stood a chance against the tactically stronger Italians.
It may seem strange, taking a ground visit over 100 other games.. but Os Belenenses really has a rather modern but beautiful ground with an amazing view. I will return one day to visit a game of "The ones from Belém".