Saturday, 9 May 2009

Riga's Other Stadiums

A twenty-minute walk from the railway station in one of Riga's dodgier neighbourhoods, Daugavas Stadions, the sometime home of Daugava Riga and Latvia's youth international teams, is exactly what you always imagined Eastern European football grounds to be: triangular floodlights like microphones on a 1940s radio show, a running track and roofless stand, and a monolithic scoreboard behind one goal.

Across town at the far end of Barona iela, LU Stadions used to be the home of FK Riga before they went belly-up at the start of the year. Squeezed between two of the city's busiest streets, it's the kind of place a skint English non-league team might share with the local cricket club. The grass was just a little too long, the fences beginning to rust, a few old men were hammering down nails in the main stand, and the signs outside were still advertising the start of the 2007 season.

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