There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Chris Tuck, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
In July 2017, the new Christopher Nolan epic war thriller 'Dunkirk' hits the big screen. Forever written into history already, Dunkirk, a small commune in northern France, just 10k from the Belgium border is about to get the Hollywood treatment.
The local football team USL Dunkerque predates both world wars, coming into existence in 1909. If you love your history, overseas travel, sandy beaches, and old school brutalist football stadiums start planning your trip today before film fans arrive in their droves. Reports suggest the Tribut will be rebuilt over the next few years. The south stand will be first, followed by the north stand. The ends could also be developed to bring a capacity of 8000 if success follows on the pitch. Work may start as early as autumn this year and be completed by 2020.
Our visit was for a 3pm kick off top-of-the-table clash v Concarneau, which we coupled with an evening kick off 30 mins down the road at Calais RUFC. We attended both games in one day travelling from Southampton using the excellent Eurotunnel costing just Ł44 return.
Dunkerque play in the Championnat National, the third tier of French football. On the day a relatively easy 3-0 victory took them to the top of the table, with the fighting spirit of Dunkirk alive and well, or as the 1701 locals in attendance say, #AllezUSLD!
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".
We found two food outlets inside the ground; the club house, found in the main stand which had a limited menu, and a portacabin selling drinks and food just inside the turnstiles.
We'd eaten earlier so it was just chocolate and crisps for us, but Loburg Beer was the main drink of choice for the locals, a small plastic cup of which set you back €2.50. Two Coca-Colas plus three Mars bars from the clubhouse bar cost €7. I would definitely suggest eating before you arrive at the ground!
Two central stands are available to watch the match from. One side, built in 1957-58, is the 'tribune' or seated section, while the second one - a standing terrace - was built at the end of the 1960s. The ultras chose the standing side and a group of around 30 bare chested chaps kept the atmosphere going throughout the match.
I wouldn't normally be positive about a football ground with an athletics track around the outside but this is definitely an exception! The 6 lane track of course means you are further from the action but with no stands behind the goals it isn't really an issue. The ground was built in the 1930s before being destroyed during the Second World War. It was rebuilt between 1957-67.
Its brutalist architecture is hugely pleasing to my eye, although others with different tastes would go with 'concrete monstrosity.' The 4 huge concrete floodlights can be seen from miles around and the two stands differ in that the standing side has a curved roof, the seated stand a more standard box-shaped affair.
At one end of the ground a small terrace still exists with a scoreboard, but no access is provided. At the other end two buildings, one a block of flats, ensure the full bowl shape is achieved. A huge speaker placed on the athletics track boomed out the latest house music which pleased my teenage kids no end. Two mascots dressed as dolphins provided good entertainment with the usual "Am I really, as a 42 year man, sitting here talking to a dolphin" moments. I'm sure the PA announcer spoke wise and witty words but my third year French didn't allow me full access to his monologue!
The ticket did have a seat number but on the day it was 'sit where you like.' We had the sun in our eyes for the first half, which could have been avoided by sitting higher up in the stand, but the early spring sun was a bonus not a hindrance. For those who like to stand you could do so at the top of the seated stand.
The stadium is located very close to the city centre on Avenue du Stade. The neighborhood seemed safe enough with lots of free parking right outside the ground, but of course it's the rich history of this area that gives it the 5 stars.
For the full French experience try the L'Edito brasserie and cafe in the Place du Minck area of the town. If you go to the beach grab a baguette on the corner of Place Paul Asseman, opposite a large car park. Now, I have to be honest, time was against us and we needed the wifi so....we ate at the McDonald's on Avenue du Stade, Quai aux Fleurs which had a Burger King opposite. Not only was this sacrilege in the country known for its cuisine, it was also twice the price as a 'Maccy D's' in the UK - that will teach us...
On the beach behind the car park on Place Paul Asseman is the memorial to those who died during Operation Dynamo. The commonwealth cemetery on Route De Furnace is also a must. Both are reminders of the huge evacuation (over 300,000 troops) from Dunkirk near the beginning of the Second World War. Sadly thousands were lost in this battle and Churchill was both thankful for the UK navy and merchant navy but also somberly noted; "wars are not won by evacuations."
There is a museum just up the road from the beach - but check opening times before visiting - and a casino on the same stretch of beach if that's your thing. Probably more edifying would be a Sunday morning visit to church; try the Chapelle Saint Luc on 13 Rue du 110EME Régiment d'Infanterie.
We didn't have an overnight stop on this occasion but use the usual websites to find your accommodation.
The sunshine probably was responsible for a fairly muted atmosphere with polite clapping the main noise coming from the seated stand. The fans were just like the English in their berating of the officials and with good reason. The standard of football was wholehearted but probably closer to the 5th tier of English football than League One.
Derby matches against Lens or Lille will be sell outs but the ground was only half full for this match. The seated stand was pretty full but the stand opposite was sparsely populated apart from the ultras. An impressive USLD flag was unveiled at kick off with a couple of other flags adding to the ultras display. No pyro on this occasion - shame...
Whether you are coming from Belgium, France or the UK access is simple and various options are available. Plenty of small airports are close enough if flying and hiring a car would work best for you. The Eurotunnel gives a great opportunity for UK fans to visit for modest prices. Ferries are another option of course which head across the Channel from Dover regularly.
The nearest train station is Gare de Dunkerque with just a brisk 2k walk to the stadium from there.
Two large car parks can be found right outside the stadium which are free and perfect for a speedy exit to Calais. Buy your tickets when you arrive from the ticket office (Billetterie) on Avenue du Stade. Adults are just 10 Euros, children are 5 Euros. The turnstile to access the seated stand is next to the ticket office. Follow the road around to the opposite stand if you want to hang with the ultras!
The concourse area of the main seated stand is generously sized with steps to access the stand in front of you as you arrive.
With tickets so cheap, the ROI has to be high. The opportunity to see French lower league football in an old fashioned ground in a historic town makes this a great option even if money is tight. Attend early or late in the season and you may well get the sunshine too!
A hut selling limited merchandise can be found just inside the main entrance with a USLD scarf costing 10 Euros. A free match day programme is produced, 12 pages full colour on a5, a huge bonus and can be found at the entrance of the club house. The club twitter is well used and provides good information about the game, kick off times etc. Just follow @usldunkerque.
This stadium journey to northern France could not have been better. We headed to the car at the end of the game and just 30 minutes later were pulling up at Calais RUFC - that report will be posted soon. If you can only attend one of the two then I'd have to say #AllezUSLD!
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
97 Entree du Port, Place du Minck
+33 3 28 21 01 01
Rue des Chantiers de France
+33 328 667921