Tomorrow Juventus open up their brand-spanking-new stadium versus an old friend literally cut from the same cloth, Notts County. For those of you unfamiliar with the connection between the two clubs, Somnath Sengupta explained it perfectly for the Hard Tackle, requiring no need to reinvent the wheel:
On 1st November 1897, some boys from “Massimo D’Azeglio” high school hatched an idea to start a football club in Turin. They decided to name the club Juventus – meaning youth in Latin. Under the presidentship of Eugenio Canfari, the new club adopted a pink jersey. By 1903, Juventus decided to change their shirts and asked John Savage, an English player at the club, to order jerseys from England. Savage asked one of his friends to deliver a set of shirts to Turin. His friend was not only a resident of Nottingham but also supported Notts County. He chose to deliver shirts which were similar to the club he supported. The Black and White striped jerseys were an instant hit with the club and Juventus has sported the same combination as its first choice kit till date.
Juventus has always placed a lot of importance on keeping a link with its illustrious history. Andrea Agnelli, a proud heir to the legendary Agnelli family stayed true to the club’s roots and decided to invite the club, which had a historic contribution towards Juve. Notts County chairman Ray Trew initially couldn’t believe his ears when he received Agnelli’s call – thinking it was a prank. He didn’t think twice before accepting Juve’s gracious invitation, despite his club having a League One match schedule two days later after the friendly.
Yet aside from ceremony and nostalgia, tomorrow's friendly means so much more. Juventus are set to become the only team currently in Serie A with a stadium to call their very own. Shocking, when you think about it. Although European competition has eluded the club this season, it is this stadium which is estimated to provide sorely needed revenue to make up for it. I've read estimates long ago which state that the revenue generated should be equal to whatever the club would have earned from Champions League qualification. Since then, more than 50% more season tickets were sold this summer than last year. Seats have been booking fast, far exceeding expectations -- remarkable for a club notoriously more popular on the road than at home.
On top of that, we finally stand to have a home field advantage of our own. Compounding the aforementioned comparably low home attendance was the quality of the old stadium. The Stadio Olimpico was huge, even cavernous, with large gaps of space between the stands and the field. Now a smaller stadium, with less seats, which are close to the action awaits the team each home game. The place is bound to sell out. The place is bound to be loud. The place can truly be the fortress which we've lacked, and certainly hadn't helped our dismal home record for the past two seasons.
Welcome to our fortress, Notts.