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Notts County to help revolutionise world football

 

World football will see a cultural revolution when Juventus open the doors to their new stadium on Thursday night, that's the view of legendary player Alessandro Del Piero.

Del Piero is expected to feature in Juventus' opening friendly fixture against Notts County, what might seem something of a strange choice of fixture on paper. But the two clubs share a historic connection stretching back 108 years to when the Italian giants were looking for a new kit to replace their shabby pink shirts and black tie, they turned to one of their members, Englishman John Savage, who in turn asked one of his friends from Nottingham if they could provide a kit - that friend being a Notts County fan chose to send shirts in the distinctive black and white and so history was made.

It's a rather surreal gesture for a League One club to be invited to Juventus, one of the biggest clubs in the world, to mark the opening of their new stadium, one which manager Martin Allen has described as a 'magical experience'.

The Turin club have long been in need of a new home, the crumbling Stadio delle Alpi was often criticised for being a soulless, atmosphere-free monstrosity, not befitting of one of the greatest clubs in the game.

The Old Lady's new home will certainly give Italian football a new look and with fans just seven metres from the action, there can be few complaints about the atmosphere. The Bianconeri have also bucked a trend in going for quality not quantity, their new home will have a lower capacity by almost 30,000 - but in a unique twist, Juventus will be one of the few Italian clubs to actually own their stadium.

The futuristic new venue boasts 41,000 seats and the new home will also give a honoured nod to the club's sad past with crumbling stadiums - a space has been set aside in the club's new museum at the stadium to remember the 39 fans who lost their lives in the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.

The first game takes place on Thursday against England's Magpies, a name for the new home has yet to be decided. Juve sold the stadium naming rights to a sports agency in a multi-million pound deal.

Matt Morris

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