Happy Birthday, Donbass Arena!
August 29 marks Donbass Arena’s 6th anniversary. During this time, the Donetsk team have played on its pitch 102 games, claiming 80 wins.
The Pitmen played their first official game at the Arena against Kyiv-based Obolon on September 27, 2009. This meeting marked the beginning of the Orange-Blacks’ crushing victories at the new stadium. Back then, the opponent suffered a 0-4 defeat, with Jadson scoring the first goal at the Donbass Arena for the Donetsk side. Overall, Mircea Lucescu’s charges notched up 238 goals at the Donbass Arena. In the Champions League, Shakhtar entertained London-based Arsenal, Barcelona, Roma, Chelsea, Juventus, Manchester United, Bayer and many other big-name teams.
But the triumphs of Donetsk club would have been impossible without its supporters. A total of 5.6 million people have supported their favourite team at the Arena! The attendance record was registered on September 2, 2012 at the Pitmen’s game against Dynamo Kyiv. 53,423 fans came to watch the encounter between the two archrivals.
A special milestone in the history of the Donbass Arena was the UEFA EURO 2012. The Pitmen’s home ground received five games: three group stage matches, a quarter-final and a semi-final. Upon its completion, the UEFA recognised the Donbass Arena as the Best EURO 2012 Stadium. Besides, the Arena won the Safety & Security Award at the annual Stadium Business Awards 2013 which took place in Manchester. The work of the Donetsk specialists was highly appreciated by the expert jury for exemplary management in force majeure circumstances at the EURO 2012 match between France and Ukraine.
Besides the football battles, the fans of Shakhtar proudly recall the grand opening of the stadium, which gathered 50,000 visitors from around the world, the celebration of the club’s 75th anniversary and the show after winning the league gold medals and the domestic Cup.
Today, after almost a year and four months after the Pitmen’s last match at the Donbass Arena, the home stadium of the Orange-Blacks has been the arena of charity as well as humanitarian centre. Almost every day, trucks with foodstuffs arrive here, the goods are sorted and packed by almost 700 volunteers to provide assistance to all needy residents of Donbas.
FC Shakhtar genuinely believes that very soon they will be back at their home stadium and that its bowl will be refilled with the unique atmosphere of unity, energy and victories! Happy birthday, dear Donbass Arena!