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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Stadion Poljud is a multi-use stadium located in the Croatian city of Split, and is best known for being the home venue of one of the country's most famous soccer teams, HNK Hajduk Split. The venue was opened in 1979 to host the Mediterranean Games with an initial capacity of 55,000. It is now reduced to just under 35,000 all seated venue.
The stadium's trademark is an impressive seashell-like design with roof structure spanning at 205x47 meters that has been copied by a large number of world stadiums in the years that have followed. The venue also hosts Croatian International soccer matches and some Athletic events.
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".
The food and beverage selection at the stadium is poor to say the least with little available outside the stadium and no more than rolls, crisps, beer, and soft drinks inside. The best option is to go to one of the nearby bars with the Supporters Club bar adjacent to the ground being a good option.
Since seeing pictures of this stadium in Simon Inglis's, Football Stadiums of Europe book some twenty years ago, it was one that was always on my "to do" list. Arriving at the stadium an hour and a half before kickoff, I began to wonder if I had got the day or kickoff time wrong as there were hardly any supporters around. My fears were allayed when I saw the security staff at the gates as we walked around. The atmosphere inside the stadium was equally as disappointing with an attendance of just under 6,000. The Ultras behind the goal do their best to spice it up for the TV audience with the obligatory throwing of flares on to the pitch. Overall the atmosphere is a real disappointment and a totally different atmosphere to what I have experienced when watching the Croatian National team.
The stadium is located in the neighbourhood of Poljud in an area of landscaped greenery against the backdrop of the Adriatic Sea. It forms part of a sports complex with a swimming pool and smaller stadium used by Hajduk's reserve and youth teams.
The city's port is where most tourist attractions are located. It is a mere 15 minute walk away and is a lovely place to soak up the sun and do some shopping before taking in a game. There are many bars and restaurants where you can relax and watch the cruise liners dock. There are many cobbled side streets lined with shops to explore in addition to museums and landmarks steeped in history from the country's recent war.
With no PRVA HNL title since the 2005-06 season, these are barren years for such a famous club and this is reflected in attendance. Only games against rivals Dinamo Zagreb attract big crowds and supporters long for the days when Hajduk ruled the old Yugoslav league. However you will find supporters bars in most Croatian holiday resorts as the club retains a high membership base that was put in place when the club nearly went bankrupt back in 2011.
Located in the north of the city, access by road is fairly straight forward and the stadium is well signposted. There is street parking available, however it is easy enough to use the city centre car parks and walk. Bus 3 will otherwise take you from the port to the stadium.
Toilet facilities are acceptable, but the stadium is not one of the best like it was when it was built.
Watching top flight football in Croatia is as cheap as anywhere. 80 Kuna (Ł9) will get you the best seats and the game is an excellent value for the money. Sightlines are great with plenty of legroom in the seats.
There is a club shop in the city centre, but there is not one at the stadium. Programmes are given away for free at various points in and around the ground.
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