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20 Years of Independence Stadium (20-Letie Nezavisimosti Stadium), Khujand, Tajikistan – FK Khujand

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This modern stadium was built in 2009 and has space for 25,000 spectators. It is in fact so modern that I was not allowed in–not that there was anyone around of course, the large padlock on the gate told me not to snoop. That and the imposing Lenin Statue standing sentry across the street. It was once Central Asia’s largest monument to Lenin, but it was torn down nine months after I visited. For more, please see Radio Free Europe’s Piece: http://www.rferl.org/content/lenin_statue_removed_from_center_of_tajikstans_second_city/24210988.html

Oh, the memories.

A view of the stadium from Lenin’s side of the street:

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Unsure as to what sport this is. Definitely not football:

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A sentinel-like Lenin:

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Ticha Stadium, Varna, Bulgaria – PFC Cherno More Varna

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Varna is one of those historical cities that needs to be visited. Situated on the shores of the Black Sea, or Cherno More (which the team takes its name from, similar to Ukraine’s Chernomorets Odesa), Varna has the relaxing feel of other sea-side towns–provided you can avoid the drunken British tourists searching for cheap booze and beautiful women.

If one goes a little inland from the sea they will soon come upon one of Varna’s stadiums, the 12,500 capacity¬†Ticha. While it is not UEFA approved, and will therefore most likely not be used once a newer stadium is built, it is in much better shape than many other Bulgarian A PFG stadiums–it was renovated in 2008 (a year before my visit) following its opening 40 years ago in 1968. Also, the fact that a shirt can be procured–through the intermediary of a female accountant–provides an added bonus.

 

The badge is pristine…the rest? Not so much:

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The fans have left their mark, albeit mis-spelled. But we all get the point:

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Nothing but blue skies on the sea shore:

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Lokomotiv Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria – PFC Lokomotiv Sofia

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Outside of the city center and off of a busy Sofia Boulevard a little past the main train station lies the Lokomotiv Stadium. Its pretty big with a capacity of 22,000 and is decently well-maintained since it was built in 1985. In addition to hosting games for “The Railwaymen” this ground has also seen many famous musical acts come through, including Iron Maiden and Elton John among others. It was a rainy day in late June when I visited but the rain could hardly dampen my spirits when searching for the elusive Lokomotiv shirt (there was no club shop, just a small cafe).

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The prizes of the past shine like gold:

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Walking under the gaze of legends:

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Besiktas had a tough time on their visit to Sofia:

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There have been brighter days at the Lokomotiv:

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Fans of Lokomotiv’s main city rival, Slavia Sofia, have left their mark:

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The author takes in some Ultra culture:

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Ascending from the depths:

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Just a small peak:

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Welcome to the Lokomotiv Stadium:

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I imagine that the bowels of the Lokomotiv can get very dark during a post-match press conference after a home loss:

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The author posing in front of the gates:

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