De Kuip – Very Vocal And Volatile
Former England manager Bobby Robson – well acquainted with Dutch football after a spell as PSV Eindhoven coach – underlined the point on taking Newcastle United there for a UEFA Champions League game in 2002, promising his players “an intimidating atmosphere because the public here are very vocal and it can be volatile.”
The noise levels certainly survived the stadium’s conversion into an all-seater arena in 1994. This redevelopment, which took the capacity down to 51,177, included new corporate facilities and the construction of a new roof to ensure cover for virtually every spectator.
The Stadion Feijenoord’s popularity means it has served as a stage for other sports down the years – including motocross, cycling and athletics – not to mention some of the world’s leading pop musicians, from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, via the Rolling Stones, U2 and Madonna.
Yet it is first and foremost a theatre of football. Somebody once worked out that if you filled De Kuip with water, you would have the equivalent of 18,750,000 bath tubs. Instead, this particular “tub” is filled with seven decades’ worth of sporting memories …