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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Stade du Ray is the ramshackle home of French League 1 club OGC Nice. With a capacity of 18,696 the stadium is a mishmash of stands decked out in the club’s black and red colours. The Tribune presidentielle is the main stand housing the club’s facilities and offers the best viewing points.
The other areas of the stadium are uncovered stands offering poor viewing through wire fencing. The stadium barely reaches the safety requirements for top level football in France and the club will shortly relocate to the newly built Allianze Riviera Stadium when it is completed in readiness for the 2016 European Championships. This can’t come quick enough for the OGC Nice hard core supporters.
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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".
Don't venture to the stadium on an empty stomach as there is little inside the stadium in terms of catering facilities. There is just one food outlet in the Main Stand selling little more than sandwiches, crisps and chocolate. Hot and cold drinks are also available.
The layout of the stadium makes it difficult to retain any noise and this is by far the worst stadium that I have visited in European top flight football in terms of atmosphere.
Although Stade du Ray is close to the centre of the city there is little to occupy the supporter in the vicinity of the stadium. However, the city is located on the South East coast of the Mediterranean Sea and is a popular holiday destination with a sprawling sea front with plenty to offer.
Also, a little more than fifteen minutes down the road is the Principality of Monaco which although expensive is certainly worth visiting. The South of France can be expensive for dining out and fast food, but pizza outlets are a good way of reducing cost. No more than a twenty minute drive takes you up into the French Alps and it was here that we stayed in the Hotel Auberge De La Madone in the town of Peillon which is highly recommended.
The club's average attendance is around the 11,000 mark and despite the stadiums poor facilities and layout, the OGC supporters make plenty of noise and nearly everyone wears the club's red and black colours. Once in their new stadium I'm sure that the OGC Nice fans will make it a venue that away teams will not relish playing in.
The stadium is located south of the A8 motorway on its way into the city centre and street parking is available. The city is well served by Trams, and trains connect from all over France. The Nice airport, Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, is located a mere ten minute bus ride from the city centre.
Ticket prices are as cheap as 10 Euro behind the goal but then rise up to 35 Euro in the main stand which is a little expensive for such a poor venue.
There is a very small club (hut) next to the stadium's main entrance that sold very little. Other souvenirs were available in city centre shops.
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