Remembering Parkstadion, the former home ground of Schalke 04

Gelsenkirchen - ParkstadionGelsenkirchen - Parkstadion 22.12.2015: The Parkstadion was the home ground of Schalke 04 from 1973 to 2001, when the German club from the coalmining city of Gelsenkirchen moved to a more modern stadium, the Veltins Arena. During the twenty years the Parkstadion was in use, it provided venue not only for football world cup matches, but also for concerts given by well-known musicians, like Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd.

The club management started drawing up plans to build a larger stadium for Schalke 04 in the early 1960s. Until then Schalke 04 had been playing their home matches at the Glückauf-Kampfbahn, which could hold 34,000 spectators. The negotiations over the construction of the Parkstadion continued until October 1967, when the city council eventually gave the project its seal of approval. The convincing argument in favour of the construction was the possibility of becoming a host city for the 1974 World Cup held in Germany. The construction began two years later and on 4th August 1973 the Parkstadion was officially opened with a friendly match between Schalke 04 and Feyenoord Rotterdam.   During the 1974 World Cup the Parkstadion provided venue for five matches. To this day it still holds one record – the highest score ever to be made in a match was achieved at the Parkstadion by Yugoslavia who beat Zair 9-0. Fourteen years later the Parkstadion provided venue for two matches during the 1988 European Championship. And last but least, the first match of the 1997 UEFA Cup final between Schalke 04 and Inter Milan also took place there.

Foto: Arne Müseler (CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

However, over time the stadium got outdated and in the early 1990s its deficiencies were being mentioned more frequently. Lack of comfort for spectators, stands far away from the pitch and lack of roof were cited most often. Schalke 04 therefore started thinking of building a brand new stadium. This was none other than the Veltins Arena, and its construction began in 1998. It was officially opened three years later.
Photo: Stephan Hoogerwaard

The last competitive match was played at the Parkstadion on 19th May 2001, and it was against SpVgg Unterhaching. It was a rather special match, as, after winning 5-3, Schalke 04 had the chance to win their first Bundesliga title, thus saying a stylish farewell to their old home in front of a crowd of 65,000 spectators. Unfortunately for them, Bayern equalized in the match against Hamburg in additional time and the joy of Schalke fans thus turned sour.

Photo: Walter Koch, Lizenz: CC BY-SA 4.0

Author: Jiri Vojkovsky | Next article: At Schalke stadium players come to the pitch through a coal mine tunnel


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