Estadio El Molinón
|Clubs||Real Sporting de Gijón|
|Renovations||1980-1981, 1999, 2009-2011|
|Record attendance||43 000 (West Germany - Austria, 25.06.1982)|
|Address||Parque de Isabel la Católica, 33390 Gijón|
Estadio El Molinón – stadium description
Though surely not the largest, in terms of history this ground is a leader in Spain. First information of its existence comes from 1908, but the game from May 20th described in chronicles was surely not the first one played at El Molinón. Therefore Gijón's stadium is the oldest functioning professional ground in Spain, even though Sporting itself started playing here in 1915.
In terms of major events it can also match some of the most legendary Spanish stadia. It hosted 3 games of the 1982 World Cup, 12 matches of the national team and 1920 Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao. Then come the concerts of world's biggest stars with the likes of Tina Turner, Bon Jovi or Sting opening the list. And in 1970 one more historical fact was made here, when Sporting's game against Osasuna Pamplona was the first 2nd league match to be televised in Spain.
Its original name derives from an old mill (Spanish: molino) that used to stand here before the stadiums was built. The mill was owned by an Englishman and English is also the ground's style. It's been football-specific with intdependent stands as most of stadiums in England are thought to be, not mentioning the important fact of El Molinón being the very first ground in Spain to have all stands covered (1969). Best days for Sporting's home were however the 80's after extensive revamp took place prior to the World Cup and the attendance record of 43,000 was achieved during West Germany – Austria game, never beaten afterwards.
In late 90's safety regulations forced all stands to be converted into individual seating, making capacity fall to just over 25,000. Thankfully the ground which was in desperate need of modernisation got some of its former glory back in 2009-11, when the north stand received a second tier and the whole stadium was covered in new, elegant 'wrapping'.
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