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Official Review by Yuri Paretski, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The idea of creating a sports complex Meteor began before World War II, with the start of construction of the Dnipropetrovsk aircraft factory (known as the Southern Machine-Building plant since 1951) and associated settlement Stroitel (Builder). But for a long time this project was hindered due to different circumstances. The situation changed in 1962, when the general construction plan was developed. The reason for such drastic measures were: the transition in ownership of machine-building factory football team FC Metallurg (immediately after which the club was renamed the FC Dnipro) and initiative of general director of plant to build its own factory sports club Meteor. Finally in 1964, the first stage of work began with the football stadium and sports pavilion with two halls and quarters for athletes.
The grand opening of Meteor became a major sporting event in Dnipropetrovsk, in August 1966. The stadium with a capacity for 35,000 spectators was packed to the eyeballs.
In 2008 Dnipro-Arena opened and FC Dnipro moved there, but the days of Meteor Stadium were not done. The football stadium continued to be in demand, and it has continued to be used from time to time.
This stadium can be called a "pit" because the field is located in it, and tribunes, which look like a closed oval, are the walls of the pit. This method of construction was typical of many stadiums in the USSR. Meteor stadium has an administration building, on which is located the VIP-tribune. There are six masts of lighting and a large electronic scoreboard in the old style. The stadium has a natural grass field.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The stadium has a few places to sell food. You'll find hot dogs (1.50 USD) and a variety of snacks and beverages: To drink there is hot tea (0.20 USD) and coffee of various kinds (0.40 USD), a large selection of sweet carbonated drinks and juices (0.50 USD).
About one hour before the start of the match, the stadium neighborhood gradually begins to be occupied by the noisy fans. Located not far from the monument to the flaming meteor that is installed near the main entrance to the stadium, the football enthusiasts sell their own home made programs for the match at 5 UAH (0.20 USD) per item. Around the stadium, the mobile television station crew is preparing equipment for the broadcast of the match on national television, and laborers have installed tents with drinks.
The stadium is located quite far from the city center, next to the machine-building plant. Getting to the game is not a problem. There is a large number of public transport including buses, minibuses, and trams. Meteor is not just a football stadium, it is a range of different sports facilities. In the neighborhood near the stadium are an indoor swimming pool, training ice skating rink, and a multi-functional sports palace with stands for 7,000 spectators. Just 5 minutes from these facilities is a modern shopping center with shops and restaurants. There is ample parking in the area.
Dnipropetrovsk is a fairly large industrial city, where about one million people live. The city is divided by the Dnipro river into two parts: the left and right bank. Meteor is located on the right bank. Dnipropetrovsk quay is one of the longest in Europe, on the shore of which is situated a large number of cafes, bars, and restaurants. The city can not be called the touristy, but there are definitely plenty of places to see and to spend time.
Because Meteor Stadium is not the normal home of FC Stal, there are not as many fans who make the trip to see their club. You would think that the infrequency in which club plays here would draw a larger crowd, as it feels like a special occasion. Unfortunately the crowd size and enthusiasm is lacking.
The team's on-field supporters from Dniprodzerzhinsk prepared a small performance: all as one they first stretched scarves, and then, at the same time raised the flags on wooden sticks and raised a text banner with a message addressed to the players of their team: "With native colors - to victories!"
I did not expect a miracle from fans of FC Stal. However, the fan-sector FC Dnipro, which was located behind the opposing gate slightly away from them, very disappointed me not showing any shred of what was capable of some two or three years ago. There was a feeling that all 300-350 people gathered at tribune, completely forgot their traditions about what is said on every second sticker, T-shirt or scarf. In this case, a rare game on their old stadium for some reason, was perceived by them for granted. In addition, somewhere gone is the passion. Fans of FC Dnipro were frankly not enough. The banner line looked weak. At moments voice support lacks singing. The only thing that looked good - two fire-shows: the first - on the occasion when teams return on the field after the break, the second - after second goal in the gate FC Stal.
Dnipropetrovsk is situated in the central part of Ukraine. Because it one of the main cities of country, it has two railway stations, bus stations for suburban, inter-city and long-distance buses, as well as an airport with regular flights to Kiev, Ivan-Frankivsk, Vienna, Istanbul, Tbilisi, and Tel Aviv.
Meteor has two entrances to the stadium, but on match day they only open one of them. Entrance to each sector is done separately. All in all, the entry is very convenient.
Meteor deserves to be visited by football travel enthusiasts. Especially for people who have an interest in sport and history. This stadium is an example of a classic Soviet Union construction, which over the years is becoming less and less prevalent.
If you ever want to see a football match at the Meteor Stadium, then you should also look at the schedule of matches of basketball and ice hockey. Maybe you'll get lucky and you will witness some games in the multi-functional sports arena as well as at the football stadium.
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