Oldie but (no more) goodie

Rapid Bucureşti is the only football team from Romania that made performance in every decade since the early ‘30s. Such a team needed a stadium on its’ measure and so the “Giuleşti” ground was constructed in 1936. In fact, that year marked the start of the construction. The initiators were architect Gheorghe Dumitrescu and The Culture and Sports’ CFR Association. Two years later, the pitch was done and it looked like Arsenals’ Highbury. It was a small copy of this stadium in London.

The inauguration took place on 10th of june 1939, with the occasion of celebrating 70 years from the day that the first train started to circulate in Romania. In that moment, Rapid had one of the biggest and most modern grounds in the country, even if it wasn’t equipped with grass field or floodlights such was the stadium of Venus. Its’ capacity was of 12.160 seats. At that moment many important personalities like King Carol the 2nd, Prince Mihai and Prince Paul of Greece took part at the event.

Until 1980, the pitch never suffered any kind of rehabilitation. In those years the second “kop” was constructed and also floodlight were placed in the corners of the stadium. Also the metal fences that were surrounding the field were changed with ones made from a transparent and resistant material that could ensure a very good visibility for the supporters. These processes last for two decades. In 2001, the ground was renamed “Valentin Stănescu”, in the honor of the first team coach that won the national title with the club. Now, Rapid could have a home attendance of about 19.100 people. Also, two years latter a brand new grass field was placed, making it the most competitive in the country and the metal fences that were surrounding the field were changed with ones made of a transparent and resistant material that could ensure a very good visibility for the supporters. But since than seven years passed and no other change was made. Only the old “kop” was closed in 2007 for rehabilitation, but the owners never start this process. That section is still closed and now, Rapid could not receive more than 11.000 supporters.

At this time the stadium happens to be in a real process of degradation that could not be stopped without massive investments. Nobody seems to care about this situation and UEFA won’t give Rapid the right to organise matches in the European competitions. Not even in the preliminary rounds. So if Rapid will qualify for the continental cups, they should play on another field. Luckily the new national stadium ought to be finished this summer so this problem will be resolved. But the other problems remain. The stadiums’ structure is very old and it could collapse eventually, because more than 6.000 people come to support the squad at home games. Sometimes their number increases to about 15.000, even tough the arena has now only 10.500 seats. Also here you could not find parking places, toilets and not even enough access doors. These are only a few reasons that worried UEFA. The ground where teams such as Napoli, Juventus, Karlsruhe, Eintracht, Feyenoord, Hertha, Hamburg, Rennes, PSG, Nurnberg or Wolfsburg did not manage to win, risk to become history. After 71 years, the first stadium in Romania that was built on the ground, not by digging, is in great danger to become a ruin.

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