British football fans are spoilt with a treasure trove of European football away days just around the corner. Want a different experience to your local side? Paris and Amsterdam can offer very enjoyable breaks for the football connoisseur whether you are look to spend a romantic weekend in the city of love, or simply let off some steam in a party town that never sleeps.
Paris – Parisians take their football seriously and Paris St Germain are worshipped at the Parc des Princes by 48,000 fans on a bi-weekly basis. Antoine Kombouare’s side narrowly missed out on the Champions League for 2011/12 by finishing in 4th last term, but have big ambitions following a recent takeover by the Qatar Investment Authority. Highly rated France international forward Kevin Gamiero has joined the club from Lorient despite interest from a number of English and Spanish clubs, and the spending looks set to continue throughout the summer. In addition, former Inter and AC Milan coach Leonardo is widely expected to join the club as a sporting director in the near future.
Taking the other half on a football away day is generally not advised, but with the many delights the city can offer both of you, she will be keen to come along. France’s capital has a world of architecture, culture and over 3,800 historical monuments, making it the most visited city in the world. The Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe and Cathedral of Notre Dame are well known but must see destinations in the city, whilst the Louvre Museum is an astonishing and compelling visit that won’t eat up too much of your travel money. Have a romantic meal on the River Seine or a walk through the Tuileries Gardens to complement the chance to see PSG in action up close.
Amsterdam – The Eredivisie title returned to Amsterdam in 2010/11 following an enthralling last day victory for Ajax over reigning champions FC Twente. Frank de Boer’s side is comprised of a widespread of different nationalities, the majority of which have evolved and learned their trade at the stellar club youth set-up. Captain Maarten Stekelburg and deputy Jan Vertonghen comprise the team’s most talented players, but a number of youth prospects such as Christian Eriksen rose to prominence in the recent Eredivisie success. When visiting in 2011/12, a Amsterdam Arena home game against Feyenoord in the Klassieker derby would be an ideal chance to see one of football’s most bitter rivalries.
Amsterdam is renowned worldwide for it’s partying reputation and if you are looking for a stag do or boys away trip with a footballing element, Holland’s capital is the right place to go. The city has an all consuming nightlife, with the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein the two main areas of the city to visit clubs, pubs and much more. Post Office travel insurance is a necessity as the wine and beer will flow in the partying capital of Europe.
Two very different holidays or weekends abroad, with one unifying feature; an awesome football away day.
Gareth McKnight writes for Soccerlens.com.