When it was announced Juventus would play a friendly to open the new stadium, minds raced as to who the opponents might be… River Plate? Real Madrid? Manchester United? Eventually the club announced the visiting team in the inauguration of the most important stadium in Italian football history would instead be third tier English side Notts County and this invoked just two reactions from among the tifosi.
A large number responded with an incredulous “WHO? WHY?”, while those who knew their history nodded in approval of Juventus once again showing the class and respect synonymous with Turin’s Old Lady.
A Bit of History
The link between the two clubs stems back to 1903, and is owed to Englishman John Savage.
At the time a Juventus player, Savage was asked if he could arrange for some new shirts in a colour that would better withstand the elements than the pink shirts they had worn in the club’s first six years of existence. Savage turned to a friend in Nottingham, a Notts County fan, who shipped to Turin the famous Black & White kit the Magpies have always worn.
The rest as they say, is history.
To invite Notts County is a great decision, a meaningful gesture of class and respect; Juventus will christen their new grounds continuing the path of history and tradition that has always been at the root of this great club.
The Notts County players arrived in Turin on Wednesday, and have already spied a sneak-peek at our new church. The Magpies received a complete tour of the stadium, followed by a training session at Vinovo. Andrea Agnelli was there to greet our sister club from the North, and presented owner Ray Trew with a commemorative silver plate.
The Opening Ceremony
Preceding the match will be a grand opening ceremony directed by Marco Balich, one of the best guys in the business. His portfolio is impressive and includes the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2006 Turin Olympics, the 2007 new FIAT 500 Launch in Turin, and Venice’s Carnival in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Balich’s last project was the 2010 Mexican Bicentenary of Independence celebration, and he was also a consultant for the EPIC spectacle that were the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
For his work on the opening & closing ceremonies of the 2006 Olympics, Balich received 2 Emmy Awards and the Italian Presidential Plaque. He promises to knock our socks off with the opening ceremony for the new Juventus Stadium, and though he refused to leak any spoilers here’s what he did reveal:
The show will last about an hour, it is set to celebrate Juve’s past and present, whilst also looking to the future. It has been founded on tradition, innovation and style, the three points which inspired us. It will have two key elements: Juventus and the club’s fans.
There will be four main parts of the evening: firstly the mass choreography, made possible by over 500 volunteers who have put in a great effort throughout the entire summer under the heat. We recruited fans and it’s their love for Juventus that’s kept them going over the past few months. There will then be the parade of the stars, the cutting of the ribbon, special guests, a celebration of the trophies and most important moments of Juve’s history. Tragic times will also be remembered. It will be a touching spectacle, we’re excited to have created it and we hope that you also feel the same when viewing it.
The Match & TV Coverage
Match kick-off is on:
Thursday September 8th @ 21:30 CET
Do try to tune in earlier to catch the opening ceremony with coverage starting around 18:00.
Juventus Channel is broadcasting the ceremony & match live. For those of you that have Sky, Sky Sport 1 & Sky Supercalcio, these TV networks will have all-day coverage from 6am to midnight with specials celebrating Juve’s history, Alessandro Del Piero, the new stadium’s construction, and an interview with Antonio Conte. Old school Delle Alpi highlights will also be mixed in.
As for Juventus.com, they too have thought of fans that may not be able to catch the events live:
Of course, we at JuventiKnows would be remiss if we didn’t do our own coverage of such a stepping stone in our club’s history. So for your reading pleasure, Marco Pantanella and Adam Digby will bring you Play-by-Play information as well as in situ atmosphere reports of what promises to be THE event of the year. Indeed, Adam will actually BE AT THE STADIUM HIMSELF (lucky bastard!) and will tune in straight after the match for some impressions and hopefully, some really great pictures as well!
Tremendous excitement has built up for the grand opening of our new stadium. Be sure to follow to the official Twitter for Notts County to get live updates and hopefully some great images.
Thursday we all scream “Forza Juve!” and “Come On You ‘Pies!”