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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Estadio Cidade de Barcelos is one of many soccer stadiums in the north of Portugal. The stadium is home to Primeira Liga team Gil Vicente who were formed in 1924 and named after the Portuguese playwright. Estadio Cidade is a small stadium with an all seated capacity of just 12,504. It was opened in 2004, replacing the old Estadio Adelino Ribeiro Novo which is now used for training and youth team games. The arena is made up of four separate stands with the main stand being two tiered. The stadium’s floodlights are different to many stadiums in Portugal. The stadium hosted two games during the 2006 UEFA Under 21 Championships.
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There is not much on offer either outside or inside the stadium, so fill yourself up before you arrive. All that is available in the kiosk within the main stand are hot and cold drinks, rolls, crisps and chocolate.
The atmosphere is nothing to write about here either with sparsely populated stands failing to generate any excitement. Games against Porto, Benfica and Sporting will obviously see the ground full, so choose one of these teams if you want to see this facility at its best.
Barcelos is a very pretty town located to the north of Porto. Famous for its pottery, the origins of the Portugal's famous cockerel come from the town itself. There is not a lot around the stadium but there are many cafes and restaurants around the town's beautiful square.
Average crowds are around 3,000, but life is not dull as a Gil Vicente supporter. The team is back in the top division having sunk as low as the regional leagues due to fielding an ineligible player during the 2005/2006 season.
Exiting the game that I attended there was some form of demonstration against the Board of Directors from supporters who had boycotted the game. Local rivals are any of the clubs in and around Porto.
The stadium is located to the north of the town and can be accessed by exiting junction 3 of the A11 motorway. There is a large car park at the stadium which is free of charge. The nearest airport is Porto which is around a forty minute drive away and regular trains also run from Porto.
Unless Porto, Sporting or Benfica are in town, tickets can easily be bought from the ticket windows adjacent to the main entrance to the stadium. Prices for league matches are reasonably priced at 10 Euros although these may be dearer for games against the bigger clubs.
There is a small Club Shop located outside the stadium selling replica shirts and a few other club souvenirs. A monthly club magazine is also available free of charge on the counter and team sheets are available from the press box.
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