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Official Review by Sander Kolsloot, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Eindhoven is a very well-known city throughout the world. This is not for its architecture, its ancient city centre, or its famous football club, though. No, it is because it is the home of one of the biggest TV, lighting, and other home and medical appliances producers in the world, Philips.
100 years ago, the Philips family (its most famous member being Frits Philips) decided it would be a good thing to start a football club. Back then, it was the factory team of the N.V. Philips Gloeilampen factory. It started playing in the league in 1915, and rose to the top in the years thereafter. Philips Sport Vereeniging (as its name is written out fully) has been, and still is, associated with the Philips factory (with Philips being the team's main sponsor and advertiser during all those years).
2013 marked the 100-year anniversary of PSV, and it felt as a perfect excuse to visit the stadium.
PSV plays its games in the Philips Stadion (wonder where that original name came from?) which is located slightly outside the city centre, though within walking distance. It still resides on the place where the team first started playing back in 1913. The location is right in the middle of the so-called "Philips-village" which was built for the factory workers.
Built in 1913, it started as a small stadium only holding a couple of thousand spectators at that time. In 1916, it had its first wooden stand, followed by another wooden stand in 1933 (holding 900 spectators). In the 1940s, during the Second World War, a running course around the football pitch was installed. In 1958, with professional football being introduced, the stadium was expanded (especially the pitch), and it could now hold up to 22,000 people. It had four lighting poles, which was state of the art at that time.
In 1977, a big renovation took place, making the stadium up-to-date and ready for the surrounding area. It had a seating capacity of 15,000 and 12,000 standing capacity. A model of this very stadium can also be seen in the Dutch miniature park Madurodam, which is located in The Hague.
In 1988, another addition to the stadium was made, bringing its capacity to nearly 30,000 people. In 2001 and 2002, the latest changes were made, with the closing of all four corners, bringing the stadium’s current capacity to 35,000 seating spots, four business loges, 46 business rooms, and 1,186 business seats. The stadium has four UEFA stars, has very good lighting (hence being the Philips Sports team), and has several other features, making it one of the better equipped stadiums in the Netherlands.
(All exchange rates are as of the time of this posting, July 2013.)
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
As you walk into the stadium, you first get to the concourse where a wide variety of food and drinks is available. The prices are reasonable, although they have the ever annoying coin system in place, which forces you to buy coins in advance in order to get anything from the food stands. The prices are listed here and are average compared to other stadiums. Coins cost €2.20 ($2.90) each. Drinks are one coin, 0.5L of beer is two coins, candy bars are half of a coin (I don't know who ever made the half-coin a possibility!), chips are one, bags of candy are also one, and snacks (such as kroket, frikandel or hamburgers) are one to 1.5 coins (there's that half-coin again).
In other areas of the stadium (especially the business units), the variety of food offered is better. Also, check out the extras section for more interesting food options in the stadium (including a Michelin starred restaurant!).
The stadium set up is old-school English, with stands close to the field in a rectangular-shaped stadium. It should create great noise and sound boosts, but in this instance, I was a little disappointed. Although it was the last home game of the season, and there were still important play-off spots on the line, the atmosphere was just okay. Though there was chanting and people were generously supportive, possibly the disappointment of yet another non-championship season was keeping the atmosphere low. The stadium was hardly sold out, which is a well-known issue in the Eindhoven area. Despite good years and very heavy buying of players, the people just don't find the way to the stadium.
The stadium is built in the Philips Area, which encompasses a lot of old worker houses, comparable to the Arsenal Area in London. It's within walking distance of the city centre, which makes a good pre-match drinking session a nice possibility. Furthermore, it's just a domestic area with not a lot of features. An Extra: the bar that is adjacent to the police station (!). This bar is only a few steps from the entrance and allows for a nice drink in the shadow of the "Light City Stadium".
Fans are generally knowledgeable, but they tend to be rather silent. They seem to be disoriented as they can't find their way to the stadium. In the game I visited, there was regular chanting, and as it was the final home game of the season, combined by the farewell of one of the club's legends, fans got more involved. Don't expect 90 mins of chanting, but be prepared for some fan action during critical moments or before/after the goals are scored.
The access to the stadium is pretty easy, because it's in walking distance of the transport station, which provides bus and train service to the rest of the country. In the stadium itself, there are spots for wheelchairs.
It's not a big investment to get to the games and the return is fairly good. You can watch some attractive football, enjoy a nice beer, and have a good view. Be aware though, on the second level, there are view obstructing poles! Including the extras, it ranks among the better stadium visits in the country.
There are several options to make your visit more enjoyable. Check out these options listed below, especially the Avant Garde Restaurant in the stadium!
• Michelin-starred restaurant "Avant Garde"
• Dinner Café De Verlenging (Overtime)
• Philips Stadion tour
• Marriage possibilities are also offered inside the stadium
• Bavaria Tour (combination of a tour of the stadium and a tour of the Bavaria Beer brewery in Lieshout).
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