Photo by Stephan Hoogerwaard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Estadio de Mestalla Avenida de Suecia, s/n 46010 Valenica, Spain
Year Opened: 1923 Capacity: 55,000
It all started in 1919 when two friends were at Bar Torino in Valencia having a drink. They talked about football in Spain and found it very unfortunate that Valencia had no football club. During the following conversation the idea was born to start a football club and so arose the Valencia Club de Fútbol (Valencia CF).
The first games were played in the old stadium Algiros, but the club was increasing rapidly and gained more and more popularity in the Orange city (nickname of the city of Valencia). It was decided to build a new stadium in the district of Mestalla.
Estadío de Mestalla was opened on the 20th of May 1923 with a friendly match between Valencia and local rivals UD Levante (1-0). At that time the Mestalla stadium was the largest stadium in Spain. It could initially hold 17,000 fans but the popularity of the club was still rising so the stadium was expanded a few years after opening to 25,000 places. Since then, the stadium has been expanded many more times. Nowadays the Mestalla Stadium holds up to 55,000 places. The stadium is very steep, which gives spectators a feeling that they are always close to the action on the field. In 1982, the stadium was host for three group matches during the World Cup.
Back in August 2007, the club started construction of a new stadium called ‘Nou Mestalla.’ Unfortunately for the club the completion of the new stadium has been delayed due to financial problems. Now sufficient funds have been found, the 2020/2021 could be the final year of Mestalla!
Food & Beverage 3
There are many small food and drink counters inside the ground which sell different sodas (Coca-Cola is Valencia CF’s main sponsor). Beer is also sold inside the stadium, you can buy a local Spanish beer by the name of Estrella Damm for just € 2.50, this beer is served in a plastic glass. When you are hungry you can buy yourself a hamburger or a pre-prepared sandwich.
The Mestalla Stadium has everything for a groundhopper like myself. It is the oldest football ground in the Spanish Primera Division. Only the main stand is covered, it has an old rusty roof which gives the stadium its old charm. The other three stands have no roof and have been rebuilt many times. This is something which you can clearly see as additional tiers were added on existing ones. I have visited many stadiums in the Primera Division, for me the Mestalla Stadium is the second best ground in the country. It can only be topped by the Santiago Bernabéu, the stadium of Real Madrid.
Mestalla Stadium is located less than 2 kilometres (1 mile) east of Valencia’s historic city centre in the Mestalla district. This part of the city is a dense urban neighbourhood with many narrow streets with high apartment buildings. In the area around stadium there are plenty of tapas bars, cafés and restaurants. We ate at the ‘Q de Barella-restaurant’ (Address: Calle de Finlandia 7) and had a good pre-match three course meal for a reasonable price.
The Valencia supporters gather hours before the match in the tapas bars and cafés. When these are loaded they gather in the streets around the stadium. When we were at the ground the police blocked the main street in front of the stadium for traffic because the Valencia supporters took over the street. Most of them drink beer and hold pre-match analyses talks with fellow supporters. The Valencia supporters are very loyal supporters. The last three years the club has an average gate from around 40,000 each season. Valencia’s attendances are among the top 5 highest in the league.
From the city centre the Mestalla Stadium is easy to reach. It is located less than 2 kilometres (1 mile) east of Valencia’s historic city centre. When you walk from the Plaza de Toros in the historic city centre it takes you no longer than 20 minutes. You can also take the metro line 5, there is a metro station (Aragón) just next to the stadium. Metro line 3 is less than a 5 minute walk from the ground. There are also several busses which can bring you to the Mestalla Stadium. Valencia’s international airport is also connected to the Valencia metro network, so when arriving by plane you can travel in less than 35 minutes to the ground. I think travelling by car to the grounds is not really an option as I haven’t spotted many parking places around the stadium.
Return on Investment 5
Valencia, just like many clubs, operate a category scheme for ticket prices. Ticket prices for lower and mid-table opponents vary depending on the opponent and range from € 25,- to € 90,-. The most popular games against top teams or against local rivals are the most expensive to watch. We enjoy the passionate atmosphere made by the Valencia supporters and we enjoy the old Mestalla Stadium very much. When you visit a match in Spain just treat yourself to a bag with pipas (sunflower seeds) because everyone in the stadium is eating those.
Just want to sit in the dugout, walk around in the VIP area, watch the stands and the field, the presidential balcony, trophies or see the dressing rooms? Discover one of the oldest stadiums in Spanish football. This all can be done during a tour, the Mestalla Stadium offers self-guided tours with the name: ‘Mestalla Forever Tour.’ Adult ticket price € 10,90 and for children € 8,50. For more information, check the club’s website.
All the sights in the city like the cathedral, the bullfight arena, the Lonja de Seda (silk house) and the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias are worthwhile visiting. But when you can add a home match of Valencia CF in the old Mestalla to your trip, it would be really the icing on the cake. Make sure you hurry up before this historical stadium will be demolished, I’m sure it will make your trip to Valencia even more memorable.